When I approach a photography assignment in the "field", that feeling of butterflies in my gut always comes over me. One reason is because it's hard to be sure I have all the equipment I'll need to get the job done. There's nothing more disturbing and distracting than missing a good shot I know I could have gotten, "if only I had my...".
Aside from the obvious essentials (cameras, lenses, extra CF cards, flash), there's a list I make of items that help me get the difficult shots. For instance:

A small collapsible step stool for giving me a little more height. This not only raises me above the crowd, it's good for shooting those large group shots. The 8-10 inches of elevation ensures me I'll capture all the faces as the subjects look up towards the camera. No head hiding behind the other.

A loose brimmed hat to provide just enough shade over where my eye meets the camera. (The sun and age play cruel tricks on my sight sometimes).

A small penlight to read the fine print that can be written on anything I may need to check when the lighting is very low.

An inexpensive handheld voice-recorder (cheap as they go, maybe $14). When an artist I don't recognize is introduced, and they immediately start to perform or make a cameo appearance, I phonetically repeat the name into the recorder and check the spelling later. CAUTION: The use of audio reproductive devices is not always acceptable at some venues.

And of course spare batteries, charger and a small extension cord if there's room.

WHAT'S IN YOUR CAMERA BAG?

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"What's in my bag!" ...oooh! ..... sounds personal! (lol)
Well being 5ft 10" and 'assertive' I've never had to bring steps. I always struggled with the balance of panicking about having the right bit of kit - and not wanting my bag to be too cumbersome to work comfortably with. (I like to shoot-from-the-hip)

To be honest; most of the assignments I've done have been with Press passes; ie: i've been fortunate enough to be 'invited' to shoot. That gave me the advantage to be closer to the subject; in performance that meant front of house; in the wings or the 'press pit', no one seems to mind a photographer crouching on the floor in the aisles either.

However; when I work I don't take my regular handbag/purse-bag; so what gets crammed in to my camera bag is all the girlie stuff one needs. Sometimes people expect a photographer to be make-up artist / stylist and wardrobe assistant also!
iT ALL DEPENDS ON THE JOB.....the corporate bag, the PR bag, the Architectural bag (case actually...6x9 0r 4x5 camera/lenses...film, filters....case of strobes....)...magazine work...digitral 2 or 3 bodies and several lenses, from 15mm to 400mm tripods reflectors, on camera flashes...with remote chords...light/strobe meters (remember them)....and yes sometimes a footstool of stepladder.....Noorie...the vision of you at 5'10" makes my old scottish heart flutter....and at 6'1" i'll still pack a vertical assist if the job calls for it...Noorie's soooo right on though...be prepared to encounter most anything on an assignment....for my daily go everywhere bag...digital 10mp camera, 4 lenses ( some wierd ones too...lol) a flash, and cokin filters, batteries, a "clamp stand", battery charger...and a pocket FILM camera...Olympus 35mm rangefinder...and 800 Fuji Color neg...love to communicate with any and all of you ...anytime...just say hey...and Leon...great job here...WELL DONE!
i carry all lenses i have and one camera body. my main lens is F/2.8 70-200mm...also 50 mm f/1.8. i carry strobe but never ever use it in concert. recently i have started to carry nice small compact monopod. couple times it has become very handy when there is almost no light in venue. in summer in outdoors i have zip lock bags to waterproof my stuff.

my next essential piece of kit would be camera blimp or muffler to shut out noise in small venues when artists play delicate music. if any one knows good brand or design please do let me know.
I love my 70-200 2.8L for the festivals,outdoor and in the tents. Witth no flash
that is what I used for most of the shots on my site.
In the clubs I like a flash with my 2.8 17-55.
I hate shooting indoor at high iso. I will not do so until I can afford a canon 5D mark II. I hate the noise. :-(
Hi Bruce!
How are things up north?
Was expecting to see you down here.
would love to take you to the hat store. :-)

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