Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Minimize To Maximize
A National Geographic pro on how to lighten up on your gear and keep focused on getting the best photos
He who would travel happily must travel light. —Antoine de Saint-Exupery, 1900-1944
Here’s the oft-used equipment list of what to take: cameras (at least two large bodies with battery packs); lenses (don’t forget the favorite—you may need that super-fast wide-angle, and why not that fast telephoto, and what about backups?); lighting (that fills a case); tripod(s); a computer; card readers; cables; chargers, batteries.... Antoine, where are you?
On a shoot, I’ll take only what I feel I’ll need and let that particular shoot provide those guidelines. Wildlife requires long lenses; around water, either a waterproof camera or housing. If sports will be involved, a camera with a fast fps rate and a fast “super-telephoto.” The same for a shoot based around wildlife. I make a list of what specific equipment will be needed. If it’s a general shoot, based on people in their environment, then the two lenses and two bodies are about all I need. I’m a firm believer that traveling light will empower the photographer, as the emphasis then is on the process of capturing images and not dealing with a ton of gear.
The number of shoot days also will dictate what extra gear I’ll take. If the shoot will last for more than a week, I try to take one or two backup bodies in addition to the two working bodies I’ll be using. My basic kit would include the Olympus 7-14mm, 12-60mm and 50-200mm lenses (with the 2x factor on the Olympus E-system, all these focal lengths are effectively doubled to get the 35mm equivalent). If I can’t get done what I need with these all-around lenses, I’m falling back on equipment as a crutch. If my assignment concerns sports/wildlife, then I carry the 35-100mm ƒ/2 and 90-250mm ƒ/2.8. If working in low light, the killer-sharp 35-100mm ƒ/2 and 14-35mm ƒ/2 probably would replace the 12-60mm.
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