Remote Control: My Canon Remote Switch RS-80N3 is critical for my landscape work. It allows me to trigger the shutter without creating vibrations and to perfectly time an exposure for an incoming or outgoing wave when working on the shoreline. The remote lock, used in conjunction with the camera's Bulb setting, allows me to take exposures longer than 30 seconds (the camera's maximum). The Remote Switch is absolutely necessary when I'm trying to capture a fleeting moment or make images with a dreamy look.
Watch Alarm: Believe it or not, my ultimate (and only) inspiration is the alarm feature on my watch. Even when I'm exhausted from long days of travel and shooting, and I don't feel like dragging myself out of bed early in the morning, my watch is always there to remind me—in the most shrill way possible—that life is short, and I had better get my ass out there so I don't miss something amazing!
Sat Phone: Safety is a concern when working alone in wilderness areas. That's why I always carry an Iridium Extreme 9575 satellite phone in case of emergencies. No matter where I am, with Iridium's global network, I can always stay in touch with friends, family and professional colleagues so I can keep my business running even when spending a week or two in the wild.
Folding Kayak: I like to go places other people don't, and my Feathercraft K1 Expedition folding kayak is perfect for literally getting off the beaten path. My K1 can handle just about anything, and I can pack it to the gills with photo and camping gear for long expeditions. And, because it folds, I can take it with me to exotic locations by commercial airliner. My Feathercraft was essential to photographing sandstone sea caves on Lake Superior, over 10 miles from the mainland. It helped me get deep into the caves, into places people with larger boats just couldn't reach.
BRET EDGE (bretedge.photoshelter.com) Camera Pack: I spend a lot of time hiking to the locations I photograph and I don't pack light. I need a backpack that carries all of my photography gear, plus all the necessary hiking equipment—food, extra clothing, 10 essentials, etc.—comfortably all day long. My f-stop Tilopa BC is the most comfortable pack I've ever worn. The suspension is built to transfer the load to your hips and it works beautifully, allowing me to carry 30 to 35 pounds in total comfort. The f-stop packs are designed for photographers so they have a padded compartment for camera gear and extra room to carry hiking gear. They're well built with tough materials and stand up to the abuse dished out by working pros.
Jerry Garcia: One of my favorite quotes comes from the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia who said, "Sometimes you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right." That quote is always in the back of my mind when I'm out photographing, and it reminds me that I should never discount any location in any light. Some of my favorite photographs were created because I ignored my initial reaction to give up and move on when at first I didn't think there was any potential.
Youth: My 5-year-old son inspires me in so many ways. I take him out with me as often as possible. Watching him get excited about exploring the natural world and finding something interesting about every rock, stick, leaf, flower and bug inspires me to discover beauty in ordinary, everyday things. He's a budding photographer and has his own little Pentax camera. He's so incredibly passionate when he shows me an image on the LCD screen and describes to me what he loves about the photo. All of his good energy rubs off on me, energizing me to keep looking and keep making photographs!
The Right Footwear: Where the 4x4 road ends, the trail begins, and that's when my hiking boots become an important piece of gear. I'm not loyal to any one brand, though. For a while I wore Vasque, then Oboz, and now I have a pair of Adidas. I buy whatever hiking boots offer the best fit and the features I need, which always includes a sticky rubber sole that provides great traction for scrambling around on rocks.