Domke Kong.

One more thing about the Tactical Man Purse… ten+ years of carrying around a camera bag on my shoulder enlightened me to just how handy a purse / messenger bag / gadget bag really is. I spent years bouncing around between brands of camera bags*, and finally settled on the classic Domke F-2, because I could cram in two bodies with motors (an FM-2 and, shockingly, an FG (smaller and lighter than an FE-2 or F3, perfect as a backup)), a strobe (Vivitar 285, of course), five lenses (20 f2.8, 35 f2, 85 f2, 105 f2.5 and a 180 f2.8**), accessories and a brick of film into something I could (and did) carry around all day long.

And no, I never wore a shooter’s vest. The only guys I knew who wore one were poseurs and wannabes who would argue, at length, the best color negative film for their new Canon AE-1, while me, with my beat-up 20 year old Nikons, was shooting my weight in Fujichrome each month.

If you want to worry about how your gear looks, fine. We’re in a phase now when the driving forces of the gun industry are moving beyond the “hobbyist” market (aka gun nut) and into the larger American consumer market, so OF COURSE how guns look (and how you look with your gun) are going to become more and more important.

But for the working pro, how something looks will always take second place to how it works.

* The first time we went shopping together, my wife was amazed at my patience as she went from purse to purse, trying to find the right one for her, but once I told her that I had owned a dozen different camera bags, she got it.

** In the days when ISO100 was about as fast as you can go with color, having that extra one or two stops in a prime focus lens was EVERYTHING. You kids and your chimping these days. And there’s also something about the restrictions that a prime focus lens places on you that makes you think more about composition and framing than just twisting a zoom dial does. You have to work to get the shot, rather than just stand there and zoom.