How to pack camera gear for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London (and not check any of it on the flight)

by Jeff Cable

posted Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 2:35 PM EST

Olympic camera bags logo(Editor's note: This piece is by photographer Jeff Cable and first appeared on the Jeff Cable Photography blog.) we are…less than 10 days away from the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and all the planning is done and it is time to pack up and head overseas. Since this is my third time shooting at the Olympics, I have a better idea of what I need to bring and what I can borrow when I get to London.

But even with this prior knowledge, the packing process for this type of event is still stressful.

The toughest part of the challenge is determining which camera gear to bring and what to leave back home. Usually when I travel with camera gear, it is one camera body, three or four lenses, one flash and a tripod. But this time, it is two MacBook Pro laptops, three camera bodies, nine lenses, four PocketWizards, four WD 2TB hard drives, a tripod, a monopod, chargers, adaptors, tons of 1000x memory cards, camera batteries, rechargeable AA batteries...and so much more!

And all of it is packed into my two trustworthy Lowepro bags. These are my two carry-on bags. If the airline loses my clothes, I don't care, but these stay with me!

This time around, the biggest stress that I endured was whether or not I would get a Canon EOS-1D X to shoot with. As you might know, if you are into photography, this camera was supposed to be available in April and just started shipping a couple of weeks ago.

And, since they are in very short supply, they are being doled out by Canon, mainly to Olympic photographers. Well, my good friends at Canon came through last week and not only did they get me one to use, they surprised me with a second one on Friday. Awesome!

As you might be able to see from the above photo (taken with my iPhone since all my camera gear is packed up), I am taking mostly short lenses. Except for my 100-400mm lens, everything is 200mm or less. That does not mean that I will be limited to shooting with these lenses since we are spoiled at the Games.

Canon and Nikon both bring a massive amount of gear for us to borrow while in the country. There is nothing better than showing up to the press center in the morning and having your pick of whatever you want.

It is seriously like a kid in a candy shop! "I think I will take a 600mm 4.0, and a 400 DO, please." Love that!

Before the Olympics, I will be taking a couple of days of R&R in Paris and London, so stay tuned for some Parisian images at Jeff Cable Photography and then the big event!

Au revoir and cheers!

(Jeff Cable is the owner of Jeff Cable Photography. He is also director of Marketing for Lexar Media.)