Early bird – Billingham

What in your world can you honestly say will wake you up to go and look at something? Perhaps a pair of running shoes, a long journey to break, or even a loved one beside you. But for me it is the confidence that what ever is put in front of me at 5.30 in the morning, armed with my Leica M9 and my Noctilux lens, I will be ready to see it.


billinghamHere I look at my collection of Billingham bags; 550, 225,Hadley Large, 335… I have acquired them over the years. Sometimes second hand camera kit comes in its own Billingham and I have simply collected them. On no account will I sell them on, they are my storage of kit and my uniform of duty.

I use them all at different times, well, the large bag stays at home and stores my spares. I need the ‘Billingham’ look for re-enactment jobs such as Goodwood Revival and  English Heritage Medieval days.


strapsThe Billingham however has caused me some considerable back pain when carrying both Hasselblad and Leica kits, so these days I really think about the terrain, the travel facility and the items required. I have now purchased the back straps and all is much better on the back ache front.






This is the Hadley Large bag I use at Goodwood Revival and other re-enactment events. It is lightweight and I am only shooting digital with one body and two or three lenses. I like using this bag when I am hiking around the countryside too as I only carry one body and it swings across like a satchel so I do not even notice it is there. This bag is usually squashed flat into the ThinkTank Photo ‘Takeoff’ case for when I need to take a lighter load.




This 225 is my favourite though. It allows for the back pack harness to be attached, it holds 2 Leica bodies, 4 lenses and a flash, it holds an A4 pad at the back and the pockets are easily accessible. I usually fit a jumper and other day kit in it too. For me having the back pack facility is the only reason why I can stay with Billingham.  These bags are surprisingly waterproof too, which for a the jobs I do…. is rather important.