On Assignment

I am heading out today to shoot the Kingsville Folk Music Festival. It is a three-day event near the shore of Lake Erie in Ontario’s deep south. This will be just a one-day shoot for Square Media Group and I want to make sure that I have everything covered so nothing ruins the outing.

Camera bodies and lenses

As most shoots, I am taking my Nikon D5500 and D5100. I’m not interested in having to switch lenses when different opportunities arise. You’ll likely lose the shot (or not take it at all) in that situation, so two bodies it is.

The D5500 will be attached to the NIKON AF-S 200-400mm 4G ED VR II. These two items seem to be designed specifically to work with each other.

I’ve found that when photographing concerts the 200-400mm provides great reach for shooting from the sound board. I can stand without obstructing anyone’s view and still get the close ups of the performers. It also allows me to have a full view of the stage in case something happens outside of my line of sight.

Not to be forgotten, I want to bring a mono pod for the 200-400mm. I’m not really into hand-holding a 7.4 lb lens.

When I do into the pit area, directly in front of the stage, I’ll have the D5100 and the AF-S Nikkor 17-55mm 2.8G ED for the wide angle shots as well as good zoom for when the artist is directly in front of me. I know that the Kingsville Folk Fest isn’t set up with a pit area, so I’ll mainly be using this gear for shots of the festival goers for ambiance.

I’ve tested out both bodies and lenses to make sure they are in good working order prior to departing.

Memory cards

I’ve gone through my cards to make sure, a) I have enough memory to last the shoot and a little bit more, b) the cards are formatted and ready for the assignment, and c) they are easily accessible for switching new cards for full ones.

This is the 4th year I have been shooting the Kingsville Folk Fest, so I am aware of what to expect in the way of photography opportunities. If there are any surprises, however, I want to be sure I can still record the images. Who knows what I’ll come across on the way to or back from the festival?


I have charged the batteries for each of the bodies and have a 3rd ready as back-up. I don’t think I’ll need all that juice, but you never know.


I am starting early in the afternoon and will be shooting until almost midnight, so I want to make sure I am not overdressed for the warm weather or under dressed for the evening temperatures. This is where having a look at the weather forecast comes in handy.

I am also taking a hat with me; my floppy boonie hat I had in the military. Sure it’s camouflaged, but it has a secret pocket where I can store my memory cards or anything else I may need, and it’ll keep the sun or the rain off.

And speaking of rain, I have Think Tank rain gear for the 200-400mm, but the forecast says not to worry about precipitation.

I’ll be wearing a pair of Adidas for my footwear. Lakeside Park is a pretty level and solid ground. It won’t be as if I am hiking through virgin forest so the running shoes will suffice.

Odds and sods

Money, cell phone, and media ID round out my needs. I am not into carrying a lot of extra gear which I likely won’t use. First off, I don’t want to carry it around and, secondly, even if I left it in my car, I really wouldn’t want to traipse back and forth from the parking lot and miss out on why I am there; to get photos.

Have I missed anything? I guess I’ll find out when I get to the park.

Last weekend I shot a rodeo. Before that a motorcycle rally. And before that, an international soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and AS Roma in Detroit. Your list of needs will change with every shoot, so it is a good habit to get into to take stock of where you’re going, what conditions you’ll experience, and what you’re going to need to not only get the shots, but have an enjoyable time while you’re doing it.

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