The following article was modified from Outdoor Photographer’s 25th Anniversary Issue.
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.