About » What's in the bag?
Probably one of the most common questions I receive is "what kind of camera do you use?" I will say right up front that fancy cameras and a bandolier of lenses don't do much good on their own. It takes vision, perseverance, and a little dash of luck to get great shots. Whatever camera you choose, learn it. Know where every button by feel so that you can operate it with your eyes closed.
Cameras and lenses
- Nikon D800 camera: This is my primary camera in the field for stills and video.
- Nikon D600 camera: When I want to travel light, I grab this lighter full-frame Nikon.
- Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 VR: I use this lens for environmental portraits. I like to get in close to the action and this lens allows me to frame the scene and include a the background for context. The VR (vibration reduction) is helpful since I'm usually hand-holding. Most of my photographs are taken with this wide-angle zoom.
- Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8: Razor sharp wide-angle zoom; I use this for landscapes and environmental portraits.
- Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8: This standard-range zoom is built like a tank and sharp as a tack. It is my primary lens for aerials. I also use it when I need a shallower depth-of-field than the 16-35mm f/4 gives me.
- Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR: This workhorse telephoto zoom is a great lens for birds in flight, reclusive scientists, and intimate landscapes.
- Nikkor 70-200mm f/4 VR: Lighter version of the tele zoom for when I need to save a few pounds.
- Sigma 35mm f/1.4: This lens is so small that it's easy to carry everywhere. I use it when I need that extremely shallow depth-of-field look.
- Nikkor 85mm f/1.8: Light, sharp portrait lens.
- Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 micro VR: This macro lens is indispensible for capturing details. I always have it with me on any multimedia or nature shoot.
- Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 VR II: I bring this along when I anticipate needing a little extra reach for birds or mammals. I frequently pair it with a 1.4 or 1.7x teleconverter.
- Gitzo tripods & Really Right Stuff ballheads: For landscapes and video interviews, a solid tripod is essential. If I'm expecting to use heavier gear, I will carry the Gitzo 3540LS legs with Really Right Stuff BH-55 ballhead; if I'm traveling light, a Gitzo 2541 and Really Right Stuff BH-40 ballhead. If I expect to do video work or time lapses, I bring both, plus a couple of small desktop tripods!
- Olympus LS-10 audio recorder: This high-quality linear PCM audio recorder is my tool of choice for multimedia work. I use it for both interviews and ambient sounds. It is *always* with me.
- GoPro HD video camera: This tiny camera weighs a mere 6 ounces, comes with a waterproof housing, can shoot full HD video and has a built-in intervalometer for time-lapse photography. It's so light, I can put this camera places where I wouldn't dream of putting a DSLR.
- DawnTech GPS: This tiny device works with my D800 to record the latitude and longitude right into my camera metadata. I can't tell you how many times scientists have asked me for this very useful bit of information, and I'm always glad I have it.
- Cable release: I always use a cable release for landscape work.
- Filters: I only carry a polarizer and a 3-stop soft split-graduated neutral density filters, that's it.
- SB-700 speedlight: For a little pop of extra light, this speedlight does the trick.
- Aquatech surf housing and 8" dome port: If a project requires me to get wet, I use this underwater housing for my D800 & 16-35mm wide-angle zoom. This is an ideal setup for half-in-half-out shots.
- 15" MacBook Pro & Lacie Rugged hard drives: For any assignment longer than a week, I bring my laptop and an assortment of Lacie Rugged hard drives.
To read more about how I carry this equipment for various types of shoots, check out my "Carry the gear" page.