What's in My Bag

What’s in my photo bag? — Lawrence Lazare

What’s in my … ? issue #133

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After a 25-year career as an eCommerce product leader, I recently retired after the loss of my central vision caused by Stargardt Disease, a genetic eye disease that affects the retina. In my newfound retirement, I am concentrating on my photography practice, as well as documenting my vision-loss journey at kinablind.com. Becoming legally blind has caused a great deal of change in my 40 year-long photography practice, and certainly, the contents of my camera bag have changed to accommodate my vision challenges. I currently live in Pensacola, FL with my wife, sculptor Carrie Fonder, and with our two English Bulldogs. You can follow me on Instagram at @llazare

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Like most photographers, I am on a never-ending search for the perfect camera bag. My current bag is the Lowepro Photo Hatchback BP 250 AW II. I like the fact that the cube that holds my gear cab be removed so that I can use it as a non-photo bag. It also has a built-in rain cover as well as being a very sturdy bag. That said, I just ordered a new bag just this week that I am anxious to try out.

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I usually carry two cameras along with a number of lenses:

Infrared photography is my main photo focus, and I shoot with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II that has been converted to Infrared. My camera was converted by a fantastic company in NJ called Kolari Vision. My OM-D EM5 has a full-spectrum conversion which allows me to use filters to shoot different light spectrums. The Kolari site has a wealth of information about Infrared photography in general. If you’re interested in learning more, here’s a good video that provides an intro to Infrared Photography. You can see some of my infrared photos here.

I keep a non-converted camera in my bag, an Olympus E-M1 MARK III. Olympus is known for its image stabilization, and the EM1 has features like star auto-focus. That makes it possible for me to do astrophotography despite my vision challenges.

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I hardly ever wore sunglasses before my vision loss, but I am now extremely light-sensitive, so I almost always wear sunglasses when I am outdoors, and sometimes even when I am indoors in brightly lit spaces. I wear a pair from Two Blind Brothers, a company run by two brothers who are afflicted with Stargardt Disease, the same disease I have. The glasses are designed to meet the need of the visually impaired, but they are great choice for anyone looking for high-quality sunglasses.

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My light sensitivity also necessitates that I also wear a hat whenever I am in the sun. I recently ditched my trusty NY Mets baseball cap for this embarrassingly named Fisherman’s Chillba Hat from Kavu. Although it’s certainly not runway-ready, it’s a fantastic hat. It has a metal band in the brim that allows you to fold it into a tiny disk, making it perfect for tossing in your bag. It’s water-resistant and fully reversible.

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My European friends have long sung the praises of hiking poles, but I have only recently become a convert. What I love most about these Trekology Trek-Z Trekking Hiking Poles is that they fold down to a size where I can put them in the side pocket of my pack.

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Lastly, I always keep a 30000mAh Solar Charger in my bag — I like the fact that in addition to plugging it into the wall, I can charge it by setting in the sun. There are many different solar chargers out there, but I like the fact that my current unit can be charged using a lightning cable ( as well as with a micro-USB cable) which allows me to use the same cable to charge the unit as well as my iPhone. When I get my next charger, I will get one that includes a flashlight as well as a USB-C port.

12/22/21