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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.

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Lightning Trigger
I always carry this little jewel with me, just in case I have the opportunity to get lightning shots during the day. It sits on the hot-shoe and plugs into the electronic cable release receptacle. It senses a lightning strike and fires the camera quickly enough to allow the strike to be recorded. Use this tool with lots of common sense around thunderstorms. —George Lepp

Singh-Ray 2-Stop Hard-Step Galen Rowell Grad ND Filter
With Adobe’s introduction of Lightroom a few years ago, Singh-Ray 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 2-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 postprocessing techniques is always a plus. —Art Wolfe

Nikon D3S
This camera has incredible low-noise performance and has changed the way I shoot. I find myself shooting in low-light situations I never would have been able to just a few years ago. This camera is expanding what I can do as a nature photographer. —Tom Bol

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 90º from the light source, but I’ll often use it on cloudy or rainy days in a forest to saturate colors and remove reflections from leaves. —Art Wolfe

Nikon PC-E NIKKOR 24mm ƒ/3.5D ED
Probably the most unusual piece of gear I use is the PC-E 24mm, which is just a gorgeous lens for landscape work. It’s wickedly sharp, and the ability to render straight lines as straight are just a couple of its great attributes. The other aspect I find particularly enjoyable is that it’s a manual-focus lens. I like that romance of the “old” days of manual focus when photographing landscapes. —Moose Peterson

Wimberley Head
Smooth motion and rock-solid stability all at the same time with the big glass attached, the Wimberley delivers. I use this head with the controls never locked down tight; they’re left just loose enough to provide enough tension for stability and complete freedom of movement. When it comes to working a moving subject, the Wimberley rocks! —Moose Peterson

Petzl Tikka Headlight
Since I travel in the dark before or after shoots, having a dependable light is important. This LED headlamp is small, lightweight and lasts for hours on a single set of batteries. The main benefit is that I can keep my hands free to operate the camera controls. —Tom Bol


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