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|| News Item: Posted 2009-07-27

Travel Smart: What's In Your Trunk?
By Doug Murdoch, Think Tank Photo

Photo by Deanne Fitzmaurice

Photo by Deanne Fitzmaurice

Deanne's trunk in her rental car for her portrait shoot in Salt Lake City.
For many photojournalists, the trunk of their car becomes an essential part of their workflow. Even if you fly to another city for an assignment, the rental car trunk is used as an organizer for rollers, briefcases, tripods, lighting stands, lights, and a myriad of other things that may be used during the assignment.

The photo shows what was in Deanne Fitzmaurice's trunk during a portrait shoot in Salt Lake City, where she flew into from San Francisco.

Notes from Deanne:
• Generally she rents a 4-door rental car to make sure the trunk is roomy, and she never rents a hatchback, for security purposes.
• When traveling, she does not leave anything in the trunk overnight - everything goes into the hotel room.
• During the day, she pushes her equipment deep into the trunk, so just in case she is rear ended by another car there is less likelihood of damage.
• The roller becomes the primary organizer during the trip, and generally it stays in the trunk. She pulls out what she needs and loads it into her modular belt system and then shoots the assignment. This avoids the issue of leaving her roller somewhere, or having to move it all the time, or locking it in position.
• Note at home, Deanne disengages the trunk release near the front seat in her car. This prevents someone from smashing the window, opening the trunk with the release, and stealing her equipment.
• Many photographers will also lock their rollers in the trunk, with the cable and lock that is attached to the roller.
• Additionally, some photographers attach a locked chain between the trunk lid and the lower compartment, which must be unlocked to fully access the trunk.
• Nothing should be left in the car that is visible that indicates something of value is in the trunk.

In her ROLLER for this particular portrait shoot:
Canon 5D with battery grip.
Canon 5D Mark II with battery grip.
50 1.2
85 1.8
24-70 2.8
70-200 2.8
300 2.8
1.4 teleconverter
2 580EX Strobes
Canon Speedlight Transmitter
Canon External Battery Pack
Batteries, battery chargers
Pro Speed Belt, Skin Pouches

Props for the shoot:
Two basketballs borrowed once she arrived in the city.

In her Briefcase:
Assignment notes
GPS to go to different addresses
Wireless Verizon card
Card reader
External hard drive
Recordable DVD's
USB drives
Business cards
Power bars
Noise reduction headphones
Travel notes

(Note that Deanne traveled light for this shoot, with no tripods, lighting stands or lighting equipment.)

(Doug Murdoch is the president and a designer at Think Tank Photo. You can also read his blog at His column "Travel Smart" discusses information and concerns for the traveling photographer.)

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