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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

25 Pro Gear Choices

All of us have a special piece of equipment that we never leave home without. Here, OP’s pro contributors share their key tools for getting great shots in the field.

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Nature photography is part art and part science. There’s the spiritual side of being out in the wilderness where you can find a beautiful scene. Once you’ve found it, you need to access your analytical side to get the camera set properly. To make all of that possible, every pro has a select group of tools on which they have come to rely. In talking to some of OP’s contributors, we got their take on what they consider the indispensable items in their bag.

Apple iPad
This is a tool that, while still in its infancy, has already proven its value. The most obvious aspects of it are showcasing your photography and writing, but it’s also great for forecasting weather or editing images. Pushing the envelope and venturing into new futures is a big part of finding the next best tool. —Moose Peterson

Really Right Stuff Ballheads
I adopted ballheads early on, and RRS ballheads are the best I’ve ever used, with no sticking and a quick-release lever that has never failed. They come in three sizes, from a small BH-25 that I use on a mini-Gitzo travel tripod to a substantial medium-sized BH-40 to a heavy-duty BH-55 for use with heavier camera equipment and long lenses. A quality tripod and quality ballhead are a must for serious photography. —George Lepp

Nikon R1C1 Wireless Close-Up Speedlight System
For insect, macro and wildflower photography, I use the Nikon R1C1 system. With its wireless capability, there are no more dangling cords to manage. And with all the filters, stands, adapter rings, diffusers and other supplied accessories, you have everything needed for just about every close-up situation. —Jim Clark

LensPen SensorKlear Loupe Kit
Keeping a sensor spotless isn’t an easy job, and this combo will go a long way to accomplish the task. The viewer/magnifier that fits over the lens mount opening has a built-in light to reveal all the little specks of stuff that seem to be attracted to the sensor. The articulated LensPen picks up the specks so you can capture clean images from the outset, saving a lot of postprocessing cloning to remove spots later on. —George Lepp

Canon EF 24-105mm ƒ/4L IS USM
Of all the lenses in my quiver, this one never gets left behind. It’s high resolution, lightweight and the range of focal lengths provide me with everything I usually need for most of my photography projects. As opposed to using a number of fixed-focal-length lenses between 24mm and 105mm, using the zoom also reduces the risk of introducing dust into the camera since you won’t need to change lenses. The ability to crop an image precisely in-camera is also a great added benefit of a zoom lens. When attached to my EOS 5D Mark II in my chest pack, I’m ready for almost anything. —James Kay


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