What’s in Art’s Bag?
This is a question I get asked all the time, “What sort of equipment do you use?” The answer is usually less than you would expect. In general I shoot with Canon’s 5D Mark III and 1Dx cameras. For my new Human Canvas photos I am using a Leica S. Digital technology has far surpassed what film was ever capable of and has completely changed the game for what one can shoot in the field.
Where ISO 50 was the norm with film, I am shooting into the 1000s without reservations now. The ability to confirm “you got it” immediately after the shot, zooming in to ensure critical focus, evaluating the histogram for exposure, means that today I shoot far less than I would have in the past. I can shoot half a dozen frames, know I got what I wanted and move on. With slides I may have shot a couple of roles of a single subject before I was satisfied that at least one of the images in the batch would satisfy me later – and later could be several months before I knew what I had.
I have shot the majority of my images with just two lenses over the last few years. Both are “L” series lenses, Canon’s professional designation, the 16-35 f/2.8 L II and the 70-200 f/4 L IS. I’ll use extension tubes for macro work with the 70-200 and add in a 1.4x extender for additional reach when I need it as well. These are my workhorses and they are always in my bag regardless of where I’m headed.
While I may have dismissed the middle range in the past, more and more I am finding myself reaching for a 24-105 f/4 L IS. It is a great walk around lens for shooting in crowded markets, portraits, architecture
On occasion I’ll pack a long lens. Years ago I loved my Nikkor 200-400mm lens for wildlife work; now I use the Canon 200-400 1/4 L IS USM Extender 1/4x.
I’ll also bring a fish eye lens, the 15mm f2.8, for special effects, just to mix things up a bit – but it’s not a lens I would rely on daily by any means.
In addition, I carry a light weight, sturdy carbon fiber tripod. I like Gitzo’s GT3542XLS Carbon Fiber Tripod. They make a fine product and it is light enough that I won’t hesitate to bring it wherever I’m going. I am using a Kirk BH-1 ballhead mounted to a flat plate (no center column). Here is an important tip about tripods – purchase a tripod that is just a little too heavy and you won’t use it. Purchase one with a wobbly center column and you’re better off without it. So spend a little more money up front and you won’t have to do it again for many years. Mirror lock up and a cable release are also a part of the stabilization equation.
Then there are the miscellaneous bits and pieces. An intervelometer for shooting long exposures and stars, circular polarizers for all lenses, a couple of 2-stop, hard step graduated neutral density filters, extra batteries for the camera and intervelometer, hex wrenches, lens cleaning cloths, and of course, a couple of portable hard drives, extra memory cards, and a MacBook Pro. I pack all of this in a Gura Gear Bataflae bag- simple, lightweight, and effective for me to travel the world.