1. Gitzo GT3542L Carbon Fiber Tripod. This tripod is missing a key element that many photographers never consider with a tripod purchase–a center column. The eliminated center column allows me to get in much lower and closer to almost any subject than if it were included. In addition the XLS has an extra long leg system allowing me to get higher than my standing height to achieve a little different of a perspective. The other important aspect of utilizing a tripod is the stability, I can fine tune my composition to eliminate even the slightest of distracting elements from my frame.
2. A Singh-Ray 2 stop Hard Step Galen Rowell Graduated Neutral Density Filter. With Adobe’s introduction of Lightroom a few years ago they created a graduated neutral density filter tool within the develop module of their software. This tool allows any user to add this effect after capture and even though I use Adobe’s tool on a regular basis, I still find that using a two stop filter in the field, adds to the overall drama of the effect. In addition, I prefer to spend more time in the field photographing so not having to add additional post processing techniques is always a plus.
3. A Canon TC-80N3 Intervelometer. This little piece of equipment is essentially a standard cable release on steroids. An intervelometer possesses the function of a standard shutter release, which allows me to keep my hands off of the camera and vibration to a minimum during an exposure. In addition to this, I now get to control the number of exposures of a given sequence I take, I can control the time of those exposures from seconds to days, take exposures that are a set timeframe apart, and combine these functions simultaneously. I can shoot time lapse sequences, star trails, and exposures longer than 30 seconds, it truly allows the creative process to come alive.
4. B + W Circular Polarizer. The polarizer is an indispensable tool for the nature photographer. It deepens colors, boosts contrast, and removes reflections from leaves and water surfaces. It works best when your subject is 90 degrees from the light source, but I will often use it on cloudy and/or rainy days in a forest to saturate colors and remove reflections from leaves.
5. Apple 15” Laptop, max Ram, the fastest processor available, and two external hard drives. In today’s world of instant connectivity through the internet my laptop and external hard drives are one of the newest and most import tools that travel with me on any given excursion. I have created images in Antarctica and relayed them back to clients in the states almost instantaneously via satellite. I could have never imagined a world so interconnected as we are today and can only imagine the coming future. In addition, my laptop is a powerful editing device so that upon my arrival back in Seattle, my office already has selected images from shoots with initial adjustments in place. Speed is key in today’s competitive marketplace. The two hard drives give me a redundant back up of everything I create in the field if something should go drastically wrong.
And here’s some good news: Lowepro and X-Rite have generously donated door prizes to be given away at each city!
Lowepro is providing the Pro Runner 350 AW pack. This is Art’s personal pack of choice, it allows him to carry all of his necessary photo equipment in addition to his 15″ laptop. It’s below the maximum legal carry-on size so you never have to part with your valuable gear on the airplane, and the harness system is supportive and comfortable to allow you to wear this pack for hikes and travel while on location.
X-Rite has contributed the ColorChecker Passport, a great tool for managing and controlling color. This compact color chart is designed to be taken into the field and photographed. The included software integrates with Adobe’s Creative Suite and lets you quickly and consistently edit your color to get perfectly mastered images time after time. Another great tool.
With more reasons and a discounted price for the remainder of this month why wouldn’t you sign up?
Drawing form 36 years of international travel, Art will delve into a vast range of subjects; from discovering the subject to elements of design and even new works such as time lapses. Imagery of nature, wildlife and the world’s varied landscapes will round out the curriculum to provide the most comprehensive and imaginitave class available. For more information visit our workshop website. Don’t delay, our first two events in Toronto, Canada – May 20 and New York, NY – May 22 are filling fast.
People are often surprised when they see me holding my graduated neutral density filter in my hand instead of putting it in a holder. The reason is simple: speed. When conditions are changing rapidly, or even when they aren’t, it’s a lot faster to hold the filter in front of the lens. If I change lenses, I don’t have to take the time to remove holder from one lens and place it on the other. I can reframe or switch from horizontal to vertical in an instant.
You need to watch out for reflections, though. The filter will reflect light if pulled away from the lens too far.
My friend Kostas Mallios loaned me a Phase One P 45+ digital back for a week, a full-frame 39 megapixel capture system I tested with a Mamiya 645 body. The resolution and dynamic range are astonishing. It’s not just that the files look creamy smooth, but the dynamic range approaches that of the human eye, far exceeding other technologies. As my friend Scott Stulberg says, it’s yummy.
Operating a digital medium format system slows you down. I felt as if I was using my old 4 x 5 view camera again. It’s a much more deliberative process, and by slowing down, the compositions are better considered with fewerof the small flaws I would catch later. With the resolution so high, I can get away with a shorter focal length lenses by cropping quite a bit without losing much in terms of resolution and nothing at all in terms of dynamic range.
My SLRs are more flexible, lighter, quicker, and offer a much wider range of lenses. The best of them surpass medium format film in my opinion. For my work, they’re indispensable. However, if I were a fine art photographer looking for the last iota of definition, the nearest approximation of perfection, I would be sorely tempted.
I forgot to mention the last, greatest, and for me only significant disadvantage. For the price of a Phase One P 45+ camera system including a couple lenses, you could buy a luxury automobile. A fast one.
PS I am afraid to try a P 65. A man can only take so much temptation.
I am often asked about the equipment I use, specifically cameras. I like to travel as light as possible. In recent years I’ve shot with the highest resolution pro digital camera offered by Canon: a 1DS, 1DS Mk 2, and now 1DS Mk 3, a 21-megapixel brick of technology. The pro body is almost impervious to rain, snow, and dust, which is why I prefer it to the cheaper 5D Mk2, despite its HD video and low noise capabilities.
I limit myself to a few lenses most of the time, all Canon. More than half of my images are shot with either the 16-35f 2.8 Mk2 or the 70-200 f4, which is just as sharp as the much heavier and more expensive 2.8 version. If I need a more powerful telephoto, I reach for the 400 DO; if I know I’ll be shooting a lot of wildlife, the 500 f4 comes along. That’s it for 90% of my work.
I still need the usual complement of small, rugged La Cie drives and a Lenovo laptop optimized for photographers (review to follow). A few flashes and reflectors make their way into the kit as well.
Cameras are just tools, though. Cartier Bresson shot The Decisive Moment with a Leica rangefinder and a 50mm lens. It is the eye that matters, and the will to get off the couch and shoot.