Latest gear: Aquatech Sports Shield and Battery Grip

During the Tour of California, there was two pieces of gear that really stood out as missing from my lineup: a proper rain cover and a battery grip. Getting rained on continuously perhaps exaggerates the overall necessity of a rain cover, but having gone through the same experience at Sea Otter and elsewhere, as well as having to deal with non-functional buttons the next day, I decided that I was done with plastic bags.

If you are going the plastic bag department, I highly recommend building up a stash of Apple Store bags. They make a bag that is about the right size for a 70-200mm lens, they're double-lined, and they have a drawstring. I didn't have a big stash going into the Tour of California and soon found myself raiding plastic bags wherever I could find them.

As for the battery grip, it wasn't that I was running out of battery juice -- I usually shot with one set in the morning and would switch to a fresh set before the finish. No, it's that a battery grip adds a shutter release button for when you're shooting portrait. If you're shooting a finish portrait-style and you're lined up shoulder to shoulder with other photographers, you can really start annoying people if you stick your elbow to press your regular shutter release. I found myself going to great lengths to curve my hand around the body of my camera so I could keep my elbow at my side.

So, now I have two new pieces of gear. The first is a Canon BG-E2N battery grip, which was fairly easy to choose: the Canon Wireless E3A grip is almost 5x as expensive and doesn't even extend your battery life, all for a feature that my Eye-fi does for almost as well for $99. I'm not a huge fan of the battery grip just yet: it adds the extra shutter button but I can't reach the little rocker knob while using it. As I use that rocker knob to select my autofocus point, I find the compromise of shutter over framing a bit much.

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The second piece of gear is an Aquatech SS-200 rain cover, which fits my 70-200 f/2.8 lens. I ordered mine from B&H as Amazon doesn't offer these items directly. B&H also includes the all important information about having to order a camera-specific eyepiece with your Aquatech. Choosing the Aquatech over other rains covers was also fairly easy: every pro I've seen with a rain cover uses an Aquatech. They are far more expensive than other covers and you have to purchase a separate rain cover for each lens configuration, so be prepared. Another photographer I met managed to create her own rain cover using the sleeve from a rain jacket, which would be my route if I weren't as lazy.

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