What I am packing for the Seal tour…Did I forget anything?

I’ve been busy organizing and packing!

Lots of you have asked me to list what I am packing for the Seal tour this week so I decided to post my list! I will be out for three weeks with one goal in mind..kick ass photography with my Leica gear! Well, I am actually packing a medium sized kit (by photographers standards) believe it or not. Besides one huge suitcase with 3 weeks worth of t-shirts, clothes, and hygiene necessities I am taking along a few cameras.

First off, I am bringing my Pelican bag to hold all cameras for the plane ride. This bag is pretty nice and has been with me for years now. It will hold TWO Leica M9’s, a few lenses, and my X1 along with all cables, chargers, and accessories. It’s so cool to be heading out and shooting this tour and packing so light (well, not really that light). No need for a DSLR and huge lenses. Nope, give me an M and a 35, 50, or 90 any day!

I want to thank Leica Camera for sending me some equipment to use for the tour, also Ken Hansen who came through for me last minute and Dale Photo who also helped me out for this trip! It is so cool to be associated with such great people! Of course, thanks to Seal for having me shoot this tour and B&H Photo for shipping my new Macbook Pro out so quickly. I think I am ready to rock…

Here is my UPDATED checklist of what I am getting together and bringing with me to South America!

  • Big Suitcase to hold my clothes and hygiene necessities. πŸ™‚
  • This Pelican camera and laptop bag to hold all cameras, lenses, and my laptop/cables/chargers and snacks. I have had this bag for three years and it always does its job well. It holds SO much!
  • This Macbook Pro 13″ – Latest model which is awesome! It will be nestled inside its cool green leather sleeve.Β I just bought this laptop it to replace my 4-5 year old Macbook Pro. I always buy my Apple computers from B&H. Cheaper and no tax!

I always get my Apple computers through B&H Photo. You save quite a bit as they sell cheaper and you do not pay tax. They also offer free shipping! This is the latest 13″ model…

  • Two Leica M9’s – Thanks to Ken Hansen and Leica Camera! One is mine, one is a loaner backup courtesy of Leica.
  • Leica 28 Elmarit, 35 Summicron and 90 Summarit (Thanks to David at Dale Photo for hooking me up)
  • I will also be shooting with the Leica Noctilux f/0.95 once I meet up with Seal.
  • Four Sandisk Ultra 16GB SDHC SD Cards
  • External Hard Drive for backup!
  • Jawbone JAMBOX for my hotel stay music listening and movie watching.
  • Snacks for the long plane rides..have to eat! Hmmm…nuts, jerky, granola…all sounds good.
  • My passport of course.
  • My Iphone 4 and Mophie Juice Pack Plus.
  • This cool photo vest to hold all of my goodies while shooting! Well, maybe the vest is a bit geeky but will come in handy when shooting.
  • This BEEP, and M9 screen protector from Popflash Photo to help out my grey M9.
  • and Cash – Oops, I am all out!

So, have I forgotten anything?

Check out the tour schedule and if you are going to these shows be sure to look for me or even e-mail me and let me know which show you will be at. Would be great to meet some of you if I can! I will be updating the site as often as I can with tour updates and of course loads of great photos. Three weeks of shooting a tour, awesome. Am I dreaming or what?!?!? If you missed my report on the week I spent with the tour last year you can read about it HERE at the official Leica Blog.


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  1. Steve,

    Do you have a Brazilian Visa? As I see through Seal’s website, the Tour will stop by Brazil and this country requires an entry visa for american citizens. Please make sure you have it before arriving!!

    I am trying to buy tickets to the concert in Sao Paulo and it seems impossible to get! Hopefully I will see you there!

  2. Hi Steve, couldn’t you persuade Seal to come over here and give a concert in Copenhagen, its such a nice town (I’ll manage a nice concert-place..)(Stones, Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Sting, Joplin, Clinton just loved the city, don’t think Obama got time enough), then I’ll provide you with a list of what your GXR’s and the M9’s would smile at and love to point and shoot at….

  3. Have a good trip, Steve.

    Unless in my quick run-through I’ve missed it, no mention of protective UV lens filters.


  4. Hey Steve πŸ™‚

    what about something against insect-bites and some after sun?!
    And how will you clean the sensor when the humidity is very high?!

    Take Care and lots of fun πŸ™‚

    Yours in scouting FG

  5. Yes, you did forget something … ear plugs! Good to have in case the music gets LOUD. According to concert photographer Dave Bergman, ear plugs are the most important piece of gear to bring to a concert.

    Have a great trip!

  6. Hey, Steve. What are your impressions with editing on the 13″ MacBook Pro in regards to speed? My 13″ Macbook is getting a little long in the tooth. The 13″ Pro looks nice, but doesn’t have discreet graphics. Any trouble with editing in LR and PS?

    • Was testing it out with M9 files and while the screen real estate is so much less than my 27″ Imac I use every day, speed wise it is just fine. No issues at all. I have PS CS5 and LR installed, both run fine.

      BUT…if I could go back in time I would have ordered the 15″ i7 because of the larger screen. Speed wise, no issues though.

  7. “What I am packing for the Seal tour…Did I forget anything?”

    You packed your 80% polyester/10% lycra faux leopard print Mankini of course right?


  8. Steve! Have a fabulous time. If I may make a suggestion, be sure to spend some time photographing the local people, both at the concert and in between shows. People in Latin countries show their emotions a lot more than many Americans do, so you should catch some wonderful expressions. Especially with that Noct 0.95. As my friend Ted Grant says, “If you can see it, you can shoot it!”

    You’re so lucky to have a friend like Seal. Tell him thank you from me–and all of us–for letting us come along via your pictures.


  9. Hi Steve

    I’m sure you’ve already done this but be sure to call AT&T and negotiate a rate for the time you will be in Brazil. I have had two separate friends come back from an overseas trip and one of them had a phone bill of $1200.00 and the other over $3200. Even if your phone is off, they still charge you for data transfer and it really adds up!!

    Have a great trip!

  10. Don’t forget a nice set of headphones for the plane ride etc, theres nothing worse than the ones they hand out on the flight, 90% of the time only one speaker will work.

  11. Steve-
    When did you decide to go with steel grey paint? Thought you were a fan of the black!


  12. Leica, wonderfull Leica. Fantastic they lend you costly machine, most can only dream of, so generous. Some years ago I broke a tab on bayonet lock button on my M3. I went to the best and only camera store in Copenhagen but they couldn`t help me with with spare part. Two, three twists with screwdriver and I would be set. I somehow agreed to have send it to Leica. It ended in Solms and returned with a message that it would cost me 1000$ to fix it. Camera was in perfect working condition,at least for me, but no, no x-mas tiny gift for me ( i would gladly pay for that dam lock.). The whole story costed me 100$. Till now I fix my old noctilux ( i got it cheap long time ago, tiny scratches and some dents, otherwise fine), with tape to the body (M3 is the best for Noct) and forget all about Leica generosity.

  13. Wish you a great time shooting and Seal lots of people joining his tour!

    Will always keep an eye on your website to look for your blog/photos of the tour.


  14. I think this tour experience will be amazing! I’m really curious to see the pictures!
    The only thing i’ll add will be a zoomh1 and something that record video. There will be an amazing opportunity interview your friend while he’s preparing or in the evening, a product that he’ll love! Sometimes you can shoot some super footage with an adaptor and noctilux while he’s singing, and build a nice interview, with flash of action in between!

    About the stills gear i’m sure you’re the person that will take them and build emotions out of them!
    maybe a d3s 200mm will be less grain but with your gear the only thing you will worry about is to tell the story, to be creative and this is, in my opinion, the only thing that matters!
    Have a nice trip steve!!

  15. I’m a bit surprised you went with the 13″ mbp. I tried lightroom and while it was smoking fast, the screen was just too small imo to warrant saving a pound from the 15″ – Lightroom became very frustrating very quickly. I do think it’s a great portable when you can plug it in most of the day to a monitor with just a wee bit of work on the smaller screen.

    noticeably absent.. ipad! – maybe when the 2 arrives eh πŸ™‚

    Oh yah, the cameras are nice and whatnot too πŸ˜‰ I’m going back to my roots a little right now and geeking on new computer gear though!

    • Im all about portability. The 15″ would have been better for photo work but the 13″ is smaller, lighter, and still doable. I sold my Ipad to buy the Ipad 2 but I am leaving just hours before it comes out! Wont be able to get one until I return.

      • Plenty of time to see if it’s worth getting.. though I speculate it is. I sold mine as well (before the announcement).. I’ll be going to the quarter friday πŸ™‚

  16. You should bring the Ricoh GXR (or do you not own that anymore?)!!!! It’s just always nice to see someone like you take good pictures with that camera, helps me to justify my purchase haha.

  17. Enjoy your trip Steve. Your new Mac in the square box sparked a thought about customer service. I am a little partial to Macs, as at one time I was an engineer for them in Colorado. Anyway… I had a warranty issue with a mac book and was delighted the way they next day shipped me a pizza box to return mine, effected the repair/replacement quickly and I was promptly back at work.

    Contrast to the warranty issue on my new X1, took a full week, two emails and a telephone call to get a reply. I ship them the camera and in two or three days they will send me a letter. I guess then they will repair the camera and send it back.. This strolled off topic a little, but so be it.. BTW, the issue with my X1 is dust on the sensor in about 4 places. I hope it is not indicative of things to come, as the camera is only 3 months old.

    Be safe and have a great time!


  18. As a heavy traveler, IMHO, you are packing too much… Since it’s early spring, this is what I would take along…

    -One week worth of clothing. Even though you will be away for three weeks, you can have the hotel do your laundry. I would pack light clothing and maybe a light sweater just in case it gets breezy at night but I wouldn’t overdo it.
    -A pelican case is overkill for Leica gear. I travel worldwide just with an A&A messenger bag that easily holds 3 M bodies, 3 lenses and a small flash. No need to worry about the gear getting banged up, it can take it.
    -The laptop can go in the front pocket of any standard roller suitcase (which you can easily carry on even in the smallest planes that usually will take you to the more remote locations or smaller towns, this may not be an issue as you guys may be in the tour bus).
    -Loose the Domke as well even if you are out and about. When traveling you want to make sure that if a camera breaks or good forbid it gets stolen, you have a backup in the hotel’s safe. Because of this I recommend you to just take a body and lens (and maybe another one in your pocket) and leave the rest behind. This will lighten your load and the less equipment you carry, the better you will focus in getting great shots with the gear you have on you. More importantly, you will be more discreet both shooting and for safety reasons.
    -Loose the Luigi case. IMHO, it’s a pain in the butt to change batteries or cards specially when you are shooting the shows.
    -Do you really need the X1? An M9/MP is all you need. More cameras =more chargers and unnecessary gizmos that will increase your bulk. Simplify is the name of the game, mate πŸ™‚
    -28, 35, 50 (2 of them), 75 and 90 are way too many lenses. I would bring the 28 (or 35/2 as it is amazing :)), and the 90… Knowing you, you will be shooting Seal’s Noctilux almost full time and the 50/2 may not come out of the bag πŸ™‚
    -Finally, don’t ever bring cash. Bring a credit card (and always notify your card company you will be out of the country so they don’t block it thus saving you the time to call them and clear the issue) and also you can find out what card will give you the best exchange rates or service fee (this stuff adds up even if you are in a country where the dollar is stronger than the local currency). If you rather use cash, bring American Express travelers check as they are just like cash but you are covered if you drop your wallet in the desert.

    Hope this helps… You may think I am being too tough but trust me, it will make your life easier.

    Have a great trip!

    • Hey Riccis! Goos to hear from you and thanks for your tips.

      To be clearer…My Pelican cas is canvas that holds my gear and laptop and goes with me as carry on. It’s not one of those hard shell bombproof crazy cases. πŸ™‚

      Also, when I say three weeks worth of clothes I meant a few Tshirts, a few nice shirts and a few pants and shorts πŸ™‚

      As for the Luigi, wont be using it at the shows, only out and about…MAYBE. It seems bulky and not so comfy anyway πŸ™‚

      Tonight I also decided to NOT bring the X1, funny πŸ™‚ With the M and a 35 there really is no need.

      As for the shows I will be shooting the Noct and 90 mostly, all I will need!

      I never carry cash so hopefully my debit/visa will work! It did in Italy so I should be good.

      Thanks for the words and tips, all should be smooth, I do need to pick up a converter so I can charge my batteries πŸ™‚

      Hope all is well!

      • Hi Steve,
        Your Leica battery charger should automatically convert the voltages (it should say AC100-240 like my X1’s) and it should have came with the plug adapters too. Just watch out for faulty wiring that’s what got me. Have it blow up a strip not your charger

        • Correct, you should not need a converter for most modern equipment, all you need is the appropriate adapter to be able to plug into the outlet.

          • Right. Most chargers these days are auto-switching to the correct current. But to make sure, they should all say so on the charger label. I was going to suggest that you make sure you have the right power cables and enough of them for the proposed use, as well as the right plugs or adaptors and other connection cables (USB to mini USB etc). You might also consider a power strip with just one adaptor. I do this sometimes. Just make sure your power strip can take the current range. At the end of the trip, if you don’t have space, just leave it behind.

            I usually lay out the electronic things I am taking on a trip (usually on my dining table) and then match the chargers and cables to those items. That way I know I’ll have what I need. Just my tip.

      • Awesome! You may need to pick more than one adapter, even though most Latin American countries use the same as in the US, some also have more than one type. I will be in Sao Paulo at the end of next month as well, let me know how you like it πŸ™‚

      • I completely agree with Riccis about just trying to loose as much bulk as possible from luggage. If you can manage with only carry-on, your flying (I changed the way I travelled two years ago to only carry-on on everything apart from exceptional circumstances like ski-trips, and it has truly saved me hours of my life.)

        The only thing to bear in mind if you go down this route – and I’m not sure it applies in Southern America – is that at least in Europe you have some limitations vis-a-vis the amount of liquids you can carry. So you need to pack ‘travel’ toiletries etc.

        Oh yes – microfiber cloths have saved my day on several occasions (albeit I wear glasses) – but I’m also talking of iPhone 4, MacBook Pro screen, etc.

        And – (and apologies for being paranoid or repeating tautologies) – just never look like your carrying anything really expensive (which is ideal for a Leica shooter as yourself) when just wondering about.

        Finally – drink enough water!

        All my best Steve. Have a great trip!

  19. Nice kit – thank you for sharing. . . I like the contest idea. . . Be safe looking forward to the shots.

  20. Actually, it is the responsibility of the purchaser to comply with the tax laws of their state of residence. B&H collects NY taxes for NY residents because NY can force B&H to do so. AZ cannot, but AZ residents would be evading their state’s tax laws by not paying AZ sales tax on their B&H purchase.

  21. Eric – In the US, a company has to add sales tax to a purchase for online orders from only those people who live in the state that the store is located. So re B&H, since they are in NY and only NY residents will have sales tax added (there might be a couple exceptions). All other US residents don’t need to pay sales tax if ordering from B&H – this is great for me since I don’t live in NY.

    • Glad to hear you are also taking the 28 Elmarit 2.8 Nice! Including all the other glasses of course, can’t wait to see what you do with the 90 Summarit… Sounds like you are all set! Once again, have a wonderful trip!

  22. I would take your EPL1, mine spanks my X1 at high ISO more so due to color fidelity and contrast which the EPL1 retains well. The X1 has an edge in detail, but overall prints out of my EPL1 are remarkably better. My X1 was my prize possesion, but these days continues to stay home since obtaining the Olympus which ironically produces a more “Leica” image than the X1 itself. Of course its subjective, but the output doesn’t lie πŸ˜‰

  23. Steve! How exciting! Great setup! Perhaps consider:

    1) Sometimes electricity in can be funny and once I had a battery charger blow up in the socket on the first day in Peru. So, in addition to double checking your plug adapters and voltage range of your power supplies don’t forget a portable surge protector like this one: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/552287-REG/Belkin_BZ103050_TVL_Mini_Surge_Protector_with.html

    2) I bring a film camera and related supplies as a backup to electronics (if they all get wet somehow for example you never know!)

    3) Be sure to have everything insured – my renters insurance (I’m a student) covers theft or loss anywhere in the world without itemizing. I’m sure the right homeowner’s insurance would too but most don’t- it took me a long time to find one in Arizona when I was there that covered everything including my stuff, anywhere, for the same $21/mo as normal coverage.

    4) Equipment cleaning supplies?

    Have fun! Looking forward to the updates. You’re a lucky guy! I wish there was a contest to tag along on a trip like that πŸ˜‰

  24. first of all Im a Canadian and don’t know much about tax law to begin with but when you buy online don’t you have to declare said purchase and pay the taxes yourself ? isint not doing so tax evasion ? Maybe im wrong here, again, just from what I know of both countries. Would be bad to recommend a company based on a notion that led people to break the law.

    Other then that minor question, gotta love the mac book pros, i was a doubter and was forced into buying one for my schools photography program but man it works, sometimes not as fast as my pc’s but it still just keeps on going. Also gotta love BnH, get all my stuff from there. Have fun on your trip steve, its still bitter and cold up here.

    • “irst of all Im a Canadian and don’t know much about tax law to begin with but when you buy online don’t you have to declare said purchase and pay the taxes yourself ? isint not doing so tax evasion ? Maybe im wrong here, again, just from what I know of both countries. Would be bad to recommend a company based on a notion that led people to break the law.”

      What…you’re kidding me right? You actually took the time to write this? Might I suggest you get out more.


  25. Hey Steve,

    Make sure you have all your applications installed on your new Macbook Pro unless of course you will be using iPhoto which comes with your new Macbook. My company IdeaInteractiveMedia ( http://www.ideainteractivemedia.com/ ) would have been glad to donate an iPad, unfortunately times are a bit tough for business, perhaps your next trip.

    Enjoy your trip and have a blast with Seal!

    • Does iPhoto store RAW files? I say bring 2 USB portable drives, store RAW and mirror the external drives. Carry in two separate bags when your not working on the Mac.

      • I doubt Steve’s using iPhoto. He’s probably using Aperture or Lightroom. If he’s using Aperture he can use the Vault feature to automatically store copies Master files in as many places simultaneously as he wants to spread the risk as much as a credit default swap. Woo hoo!

  26. Hey steve… Are comming to brazil? It will be a pleasure to meet you me and some other friends here who uses leica.. If you want please write me…

  27. Have you though about carrying any micro4/3 or NEX body with a M mount adapter? It could be nice as a “small Leica” for candids, or even as a small telephoto camera with the 75 or 90mm Summarit lenses.


  28. your gear is awesome and in my opinion you are the only photographer who is capable to use this equipment right. Cool that you have so much friends to get this gear and help you out. I wish you the best photo trip and have much fun. I still cant wait to see the first photos. Greetings from Leicaland. πŸ™‚

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