I get asked about the equipment I use fairly often, so I put together a general list of all the important stuff in my tool box/bag. Yes, I call them tools because that is exactly what they are. Just like any other artistic device, they are made with a specific purpose in mind.
Camera & Lenses
My first camera was hand-me-down Canon AE-1, and while I still own my trusty 35 mm, and enjoy creatively experimenting with film, I have been using the Nikon system for quite some time. The first DSLR I used was a Nikon D80 and the kit lens that came with it, a 18-135 mm. Since then I have pretty much stuck with Nikon, eventually upgrading to a Nikon D7100, then to a D500. With the latter, I also use the additional MB-D17 battery grip, this makes it feel quite large, so this option may not be for everyone. But most recently, I made the leap to full frame mirrorless with a Nikon Z6. Most of the glass I use is made by Tamron, so here I have highlighted the ones I use most often.
- Nikon FTZ lens adapter – If you don’t know, this adapter allows me to use the current F-mount lenses in my tool kit on the spiffy new Z-mount cameras. These lenses did require firmware updates, but the adapter works swimmingly with all of them.
- Tamron 18-400 mm – A good general purpose lens, I got this one as a replacement for my (now retired) Nikon 70-300 which came to me slightly used by my friend and mentor (and the “Dean of Alligator Wrestling” himself), Tim Williams. This Tamron has worked out surprisingly well, and I have come to rely on it quite a bit. You can read more about how I’ve been using it in Tamron’s eNewsletter here.
- Tamron 150-600 G2 – This lens works well for wildlife photography, but has also been a great work horse for me with aviation as well. And you can read a bit more about my work with this specific lens, in this post on the Tamron website.
- Tamron 15-30 – When Tamron first gave me this lens, I admit that I was a bit skeptical. But it has definitely grown on me, and has actually become one of my favorite lenses. It’s spectacularly sharp, handles well, and has yet to disappoint me.
- Tamron 35mm – A prime lens, this one is very sharp, and the lens I combine with my ND filters for long exposures.
- Nikkor 24-70 – This is the kit lens that came with my Nikon Z6, and is currently the only native Z-mount glass that I own. Overall it is a good lens, but the one use least with the Z6.
Tripods, Filters, and Remotes
- Manfrotto Carbon Fiber Tripod – I chose carbon fiber maily because it reduces weight, which is especially helpful when I am out hiking.
- Manfrotto XPRO Geared Tripod head – This thing is pretty awesome. I am constantly making micro adjustments, and this handles them well, and does not slip the way every ball head I’ve used has done!
- Manfrotto Monopod with feet – Because sometimes a monopod is just easier.
- Nikon ML-L3 Wireless Remote – I love this remote, it’s taken quite a beating, having been immersed in water, dirt, sand, etc. (never on purpose, I swear!) However, it’s only compatible with my Nikon D7100.
- Triggertrap Cable Release – Although this one is outdated, it’s still easily works with the smartphone app.
- Miops Smart+ Camera Trigger – This is one that I am still learning all the details on, as I have only had it short time. It can be used on it’s own, or in conjunction with a smartphone app.
- Hoya Filter – Because sometimes, I want to protect my lens.
- Lee Filters – Something I really enjoy with my artwork, is taking time and slowing down, and doing long exposure photography allows me to do that. Currently, I only own their Big Stopper, a few ND graduated filters, and their Landscape Polarizer.
- Cleaning Cloth – Whatever brand you care to use, always remember these.
- Solar Battery Back Up – For when I’m not anywhere near an outlet.
- Garmin GPS Unit – Because I really, really, really, don’t like getting lost!
- Water Pack – I experienced serious dehydration once, it’s not fun. Seriously, drink lots of water!
- Macbook Pro – I’m not fancy. I do my editing on 13″ laptop at the moment.
- Adobe Photoshop – There are a great many options available, and eventually I will learn more of them. But right now I just use what I am comfortable with.
- Topaz Labs Plugins – Topaz Labs has a variety of Photoshop plugins, I use for various projects as needed.