Sunday, 5 July 2015

Equipment and more

One of the most common questions I get asked is "what equipment are you taking".

Now, I fully understand why so many ask this question but I sometimes feel that too much emphasis is put on equipment rather than the process and thought that goes into capturing the image(s).  You'd be surprised how often I've heard it said "if only I had that camera my photos would be just good...". I kid you not.

That being said, I too am always curious as to the tools-of-the-trade that a photographer uses.  My curiosity is not so much that I want run out and get similar equipment but rather am I  barking-up-the-wrong-tree in thinking I could capture similar quality images with the hardware I presently own. 

I’m very much a believer that “cameras don’t take pictures, people do”.  However, lets be honest, there isn’t the slightest chance that I can even start to take those great New York city areal shots that Vincent Laforet takes unless I’m willing to invest $2500 an hour to rent the type of helicopters he's required to use.  Even then, why emulate, and probably not as well,s what has already been done.

By the same extent, unless I have rock-climbing gear I’m not going to be able to capture those dramatic shots, we have all seen, of climbers suspended 500 plus feet up on the face of a mountain.   The closest I can get is photographing my granddaughter on a 25 ft. climbing wall.

This doesn’t mean that those same images don’t inspire me, they do. In fact they influence me to the point where I will push my own abilities, albeit usually with both feet planted firmly on the ground, or at the most on a stepladder.

Sorry, I digressed from the question.  What was it?  Oh yeah, equipment.

One advantage of driving, as against flying, is that the amount of equipment you can take is not limited to weight or volume.  The rate that the airlines keep changing for our weight and bulk allowances are now such it won’t be long before we’ll be relegated to making stick drawings with just pencil and paper.  Since the pencil’s will no doubt be classed as potential lethal weapons even those will be assigned to our checked luggage and since even the luggage is limited to less and less weight we’ll be forced to choose between extra underwear or extra pencils.

I’ve digressed again, sorry .

Even though I’m not limited as to what I can take, I decided to keep my equipment package as small as possible.   Over the years I have come to realize that too much equipment can actually become counter productive.   

I should mention that if I was flying my package would be even smaller and kept to a single bag.  Only on commercial assignments do I take over-weight luggage on planes, because someone else is paying those outrageous extra baggage charges.

Camera package: 
• Nikon D610
• D300s, as a back up
• Sigma 24-105 (unbelievable sharp)
• Nikon 18-35mm
• Nikon 70-300 (great lens as long as it’s shot at f8 or f11 and kept under 300mm
• Fuji X100s and its 28mm wide angel lens. When possible this is my go to camera
• Polarizing filters in 82mm, 77mm and 49mm
• Lee ND grads  
• Spirit level that attached to the camera’s hot shoe,
• MacBeth mini colorchecker
• SMDC RFN-4TX wireless remote
• Nikon electronic cable release
• Nikon manual release
• Extra Nikon Batteries 
• Extra Fuji Batteries
• Assortment 4GB SanDisk Compact Flash Cards
• Assortment 16GB SanDisk SD Cards
• Assortment 16GB Lexar SD Cards
• Assortment 32GB Lexar SD Cards
• MagLight flashlight
• Think Tank Photo Urban Disguise 40 bag

Other items:
• Nikon SB900 speed lights
• MeFoto tripod
• Induro carbon monopod
• Manfrotto small stand
• Lastolite reflector
• Lastolite Ezybox
• Manfrotto swivel heads
• CO2 cartridges
• CO2 air gun
• Giottos QBall blower bulb
• Camera battery charge
• 77mm 8 stop fader ND filter
• card readers
• Small power bar
• Various USB cables
• Eclipse Sensor cleaning solution "Methanol" DON'T TAKE THIS ON AN AIRPLANE
• Sensor cleaner swabs
• Eneloop AAA and AA rechargeable batteries and charger
• Sensor Sweep Brush
• Jewelers screw driver set
• Small plier
• Lightware 1421 multi format case

Computer Items:
• Computer
• Wacom tablet
• Western Digital 2TB USB drives
• Various Power sources
• Various cables and connectors
• Small power bar
• Manuals
• Think Tank Photo My 2nd Brain computer bag

The adventure starts tomorrow AM and I hope to make it Springfield, IL by days end. Might be a bit far reaching for the first day.

More to come……

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