What’s in My Bag!

~ by Manish Lakhani

PUBLISH DATE: May 4, 2020

What’s in My Bag!

Exploring cultures and habitats one picture at a time

“The self is a mystery. The more you understand it, the more you realize how little you know of it. I am in search of that mirage, that self- I am searching for me.” These words define my thirst for photography. I am a professional travel, landscape and wildlife photographer. I have explored and specialised in capturing images at high altitudes of the Himalayas before it became a trend. I have spent most of my time travelling with nomads, sat with locals in the not so touristy places in the remote regions across India, Central Asia and many other places. I have captured them on my camera and in the process, I have experienced some rare cultures.

My recent trips

In my recent trips, I travelled to Ladakh in the winter season and covered the lives of nomads. I have been working on this project for many years. At Ladakh, I have worked in extreme weather conditions where the temperature tends to drop to minus 30 to 40-degree Celsius. I have also explored wildlife photography in the Spiti Valley. One of my constant companions in all of my expeditions has been my equipment bag. Let me take you through what all I keep in my bag during my trips to these hilly terrains.

What I carry with me-

Camera Body:

Alpha 7R IV- Primary Body:

This Sony camera is a blessing. Equipped with the latest technology of active tracking and eye autofocus, this feature of the Alpha 7R IV 35 mm Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera delivers accurate images. Another useful feature is the new improved weather sealing. It works remarkably well in sub-zero temperature, snowfalls as well as in dusty weather conditions. Moreover, this camera allows me to shoot in the APSC mode to extend the focal length for more reach in wildlife without losing the light and effective crop size image remains 26M, which is equivalent for most of the available camera in the market.

Sony Alpha 7R III - Secondary Body

For the most part during my journey as a photographer, I have used Sony Alpha 7R III 35 mm full-frame camera as a secondary body. This is because it lets me click great images at 42MP, which translates into large prints. I have great memories with this camera and still carry it as my secondary body."

Lenses

There are certain lenses which are known for their all-rounder qualities. These include:

FE 24mm F1.4 GM OSS:

For me, this lens serves a special purpose as it often delivers artistic images with a wide-open aperture. It is also an excellent lens to make interview videos. It is an extremely lightweight lens and can be carried easily during treks.

FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS:

I keep this lens for events when I cannot go close to my subjects. I often use them to shoot landscapes. This lens also makes excellent portraits and tends to isolate the background/foreground extremely well.

FE 85mm F1.8 G OSS:

One of my favourite lenses, its lightweight and easy to carry around. I use this lens mostly with familiar shooting locations and planned shoots.

FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS:

This is the perfect lens for wildlife photography. It is so lightweight that I can shoot handheld for long hours without getting tired. I prefer to use this with Sony Alpha 7R IV very often where I can get 600mm F2.8 if I am shooting at APSC crop mode.

FE 200-600mm F5.5-6.3 G OSS:

It is an easy lens setup to carry when I am shooting handheld and am looking variable focal length. The 200-600mm is convenient. The APSC gives me 300-900mm without losing light or sharpness.

Sony FE 1.4x and Sony FE 2.0x Teleconverters:

I use these teleconverters occasionally when there is a need for extra reach. A combination of Sony Alpha 7R IV and 2x TC and FE 400mm F2.8 GM works great.

Accessories:

Sony Tough Series UHS-II SDXC Memory Card:

I use this memory card to ensure my photos stay safe no matter what weather I encounter during my trips. They offer fast read/write speed.

Camera Strap:

Made up of peak design, the Sony camera strap helps me manage my camera well when one of the cameras is hanging out on the shoulder.

The Manfrotto Pro Light 220 Camera Bag & Weather Cover:

This accessory allows me to keep two camera bodies, 3 lenses and a few other accessories without a fuss in the bag. Interestingly, the camera bag comes with a rain cover.

NiSi Filter System:

I carry these filters for my landscape photography. It is a set of ND, GND and CPL.

MeFoto Globetrotter Carbon Tripod:

I carry them for my travel and landscape trips because it is lightweight.

Spare Batteries:

I carry extra batteries as I don't get charging opportunities at many places.

ANKER 26,000 MHz power bank:

I carry it to charge camera batteries. I also carry a RAV Power Solar Panel to charge power bank and phones.

Sony RMT-P1BT Wireless Remote Commander:

I carry it for my long exposure shots as well as during cold nights when I stay in the tent. This gives me a chance to shoot remotely without worrying about the freezing cold temperature.

Cleaning kit:

One of the most important accessories without which I do not travel is my cleaning kit.

Camera Vertical Battery Grip:

I carry it since it helps me to easily hold the camera when I change the mode from landscape to portrait. The buttons lend a firm grip.

Sony Alpha 7R IV and Sony Alpha 7R III L Bracket:

These help me to set my camera without much trouble on the tripod head. .

256 GB SSD Data Solution:

I carry 256GB SSD for the workaround and 4TB disk for main back up on the trip. .

Miscellaneous Travel and Camping Essentials:

Clothing and other preparation:

Since I travel to places with extreme weather conditions, I carry enough warm clothes to protect myself. .

Good Pair of Shoes:

It is always an excellent idea to keep a good pair of shoes as I walk a lot during my travel. .

In my bag, you will also find a Four Seasons tent, a suitable sleeping bag, a camping stove for cooking, a reusable drinking bottle, portable charging cable, earplugs and a portable mattress. Most importantly, I make sure to carry all the essential medicines.

Manish Lakhani - Travel & Documentary Photographer

About Manish Lakhani

Manish is a versatile photographer with an excellent history of creating brilliant images of culture, heritage and landscapes. For several years now, he has been photographing the cultural heritage of India that includes the shepherds of Himalayan... Read more

Other Expert Speak