Clarissa Bonet

Clarissa Bonet

From Dark City, a series of Chicago’s city lights captured in a sea of darkness.

What’s in your camera bag?
Canon 5D Mark III, 50mm f1.2 lens, 85mm f1.2 lens, 24-70mm f2.8 lens, 70-200mm f4 IS lens, lens cleaning cloth, memory cards, extra batteries, hand warmers, sketchbook, pen, iPhone, business cards, drivers license, debit card, tissues, gloves.

What’s the most unusual item in your camera bag? Probably my reusable hand warmers. It’s typically around freezing when I am shooting, as I make the Dark City work in the fall and winter months—in Chicago. I put them inside my gloves and they keep my hands fairly warm, considering the temperatures outside.

What’s in your bag that is specific to the type of work you shoot? My camera, as I am shooting at night and have relatively long exposures, it is important for my images to have the least amount of noise possible. The 5D III has minimal noise and great low-light capability.

What is your “workhorse” item? For Dark City, I am shooting from structures that are not always motionless, especially when it’s windy. For this very reason, the lens that I use most often is the 70-200mm lens with image stabilization.

What is the one thing you would advise a photographer to carry with them at all times? Extra batteries! You never want to be stuck without power. Because I shoot at night I manually focus with live view. This allows me to zoom in tight on the windows and set my focus more precisely than if I were looking through the viewfinder. This, along with the cold, drains batteries fast, so I like to bring a few extras with me.

Any tricks for packing light, space-saving techniques? I have a lot of extra dividers and padding from old camera bags. When I’m tight on space I stack the smaller lenses and use the old dividers between the lenses to keep them safe.

Any makeshift, homemade items you’ve crafted over the years? About seven years ago I was looking for a bag that didn’t look like a typical black camera bag and I couldn’t find one that I liked. So, I purchased a Volcom bag from a surf shop in Florida, and used foam to customize the inside to fit my gear. Now, I have the Kelly Moore bag, which is great because everything I need fits and the bag looks like a large purse. I like that I can hide the fact that I have a lot of expensive camera equipment with me.