Equipment

What’s in the camera bag from assignment to assignment varies widely depending on the gig. These days pretty much all of my images are produced with high-resolution digital cameras, wicked fast computers and the latest in imaging software for the best possible image quality. I am very demanding on my gear and of it. I choose the latest and most advanced photographic equipment on the market to bring my images to life and when I find a new piece of gear that works more efficiently or better than what I am currently using I upgrade as soon as possible. Hence, this list of gear will always be in a state of flux.

Working with top-end suppliers is also a critical part of my business. To that end, I order the bulk of my equipment from B&H Photo & Video. B&H has an incredible amount of information on their website about each item they sell. Their website is not only a place to find gear but also a place to compare items, and see detailed specifications on each item you are considering. For your convenience, all of the items listed below contain links to the B&H website.

Camera Equipment

My main DSLR cameras these days, as you can see below are the Nikon D4 and the Nikon D810. I also have the incredible Hasselblad H5D 50c WiFi, a 50 MP medium format camera, for those situations where the best image quality is required. These are the best cameras I have ever shot with. The D810 in particular has unbelievable image quality for a DSLR. For a full review of these two powerhouse DSLR cameras check out my Spring 2012 Newsletter, which discusses the older D800, and my blog post discussing the D810. The Nikon D4 is my workhorse action camera that can take a beating and still keep on firing no matter what the situation. The Hasselblad H5D 50c has unbelievable image quality and produces 50 MP 16-bit image files that will far surpass any clients needs. It also produces stunning six-foot wide prints that are tack sharp from corner to corner. Click on the links or the images below for more information on each camera.

Nikon D4 Nikon D810 hasselblad_H5D_50c_WiFiHasselblad H5D 50c Wifi

Lenses

When it comes to lenses, I work with the best possible lenses I can get, especially considering how demanding the Nikon D810 is on my lenses. Nikkor glass is well-known for its phenomenal clarity and image quality. Below is the complete list of lenses I own and use. My standard kit that goes with me on every assignment includes the 14-24mm, 24-70mm and 70-200mm lenses. With my 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom, I can add a 1.4x teleconverter, which will get me up to 280mm. One of my favorite focal lengths, and lenses for that matter, is the Nikon AF-S 24mm f/1.4G. It is a gorgeous lens and ridiculously sharp–it is also my go to lens for backlit situations where I want to create dramatic images. The 85mm f/1.4 Nikkor is my go to portrait lens and when I want that ultimate creamy bokeh I shoot wide open at f/1.4. When I need a longer reach, I use the the Nikkor 300mm f/4 PF lens, which is incredibly sharp and lightweight. If I need anything longer than that, I rent either the 400mm f/2.8 Nikkor or the 600mm f/4 Nikkor and use the 1.4X Nikkor teleconverter on those lenses as well to add versatility. On the wide end, the 16mm Fisheye is my secret weapon lens, especially when it comes to adventure sports. In addition to the Nikkor lenses, I also have a bevy of Hasselblad glass. The Hasselblad HC lenses are ridiculously sharp – much sharper than any DSLR lenses ever could be. From the Hasselblad HCD 24mm f/4.8 all the way up to the Hasselblad HC 300mm f/4.5, all of these lenses are tack sharp from corner to corner and offer a wide variety of focal lengths when working with the Hasselblad H5D system. They also have built-in leaf shutters that allow me to sync my strobes at shutter speeds up to 1/800th second. Click on the links or the images below for more information on each lens.

Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D nikkor_24mm_1-4Nikon AF-S 24mm f/1.4G ED nikkor_50mmNikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.4G
nikkor_85mmNikkor AF-S 85mm f/1.4G nikon_14-24Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED nikkor_24*70mmNikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
nikkor_70-200mmNikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II nikkor_300mm_f4_PFNikkor AF-S 300mm f/4E PF ED VR nikkor_14tcNikkor AF-S 1.4X Teleconverter
hasselblad_24mmHCD Hasselblad 24mm f/4.8 HCD  hasselblad_100mmHC Hasselblad 100mm f/2.2 HC hasselblad_150mmHC Hasselblad 150mm f/3.2 HC
hasselblad_300mmHC Hasselblad 300mm f/4.5 HC hasselblad_50-100mmHC Hasselblad 50-110mm f/3.5-4.5 HC hasselblad17x_teleconvertorHasselblad 1.7X Teleconverter

Camera Accessories

The following camera accessories are items I find critical to my work. Whether it is a Hoodman loupe, a Really Right Stuff camera plate (for mountain guy cameras to my KIrk Photo BH-1 ball head), or items for cleaning my camera sensor, these items are a key to making it all happen. Click on the links or the images below for more information on each item.

Hoodman Loupe Really Right Stuff Camera Plates AquaTech SS-300 Rain Cover
OP/TECH USA 18″ Rainsleeve Sensor Gel Stick Eclipse Optic Cleaning Solution
Sensor Swab Type 3

Lens Accessories

After much trial and error over the years, I have found B+W filters and Sign-Ray filters to be some of the best anywhere. As an adventure photographer, I tend to beat up my gear quite a bit, which is why all of my lenses have protective B+W UV filters on them and I always put the lens hood on my lenses to protect them from rocks, rain, mud and anything else that might damage the lens. I also replace all of my B+W filters every two or three years when they start to get scratched up. Click on the links or the images below for more information on each item.

B+W 77mm UV Haze MRC 010M Filter B+W 77mm UV Haze Slim MRC 010M Filter Singh-Ray 150 x 150mm 0.3 Soft-Edge Graduated Neutral Density Filter
Singh-Ray 150 x 150mm 0.6 Soft-Edge Graduated Neutral Density Filter Singh-Ray 77mm Vari-ND Variable Neutral Density Filter

Memory Cards and Card Readers

When choosing memory cards I opt for the most reliable cards possible. In general, that means I use SanDisk cards. They have never let me down. I also use the latest Sony XQD memory cards with my Nikon D4, which have also been very reliable. Using the fastest memory cards available is of paramount importance to my work so that I can maximize the number of images written to the memory card when shooting at high framing rates and when recording video. I know there are a lot of folks out there that don’t like the XQD format but they are smoking fast cards and easy to deal with. Downloading memory cards can also be a huge workflow time-suck. To download my images I use the fastest USB 3.0 card readers I can find. Click on the links or the images below for more information on each item.

SanDisk 64 GB SDXC Extreme Pro Memory Card SanDisk 32 GB SDHC Extreme Pro Memory Card SanDisk 64GB Extreme Pro CompactFlash Memory Card
SanDisk 32GB Extreme Pro CompactFlash Memory Card Sony 32GB XQD Memory Card Sony 32GB XQD N Series Memory Card
Sony XQD Card Reader Hoodman USB 3.0 UDMA Reader

Speedlights and Speedlight Modifiers

When I need to go light and fast but want to take a splash of artificial lighting with me I reach for the Nikon Speedlights. They are state of the art in terms of flash technology and they are quite powerful for their weight. Along with the Speedlights, I have quite a few lightweight light modifiers that help me sculpt the light on my subject. I use both Honl and LumiQuest modifiers and I also use Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable batteries. Click on the links or the images below for more information on each item.

Nikon SB900 Nikon SB800 Sanyo Eneloop AA Batteries w/charger
Sanyo Eneloop AA Rechargeable Ni-MH Batteries Honl Photo Speed Strap Honl Photo 1/8″ Speed Grid
Honl Photo 1/4″ Speed Grid Honl Photo Gobo Bounce Card Honl Photo 8″ Speed Snoot/Reflector
LumiQuest UltraStrap LumiQuest Softbox LTp LumiQuest Snoot XTR

Strobes and Strobe Modifiers

Strobes, a.k.a. large flashes, are critical to my work. I use strobes to augment the lighting in both adventure images as well as portraits. Because I work outdoors 99.9% of the time, I rely on battery-powered strobes for all of my lighting. Elinchrom offers top-notch lighting gear and a variety of options when it comes to battery-powered strobes. I have chosen Elinchrom strobes because of their excellent build quality, weatherproofness, consistent light output and color temperatures and especially for their super-fast flash durations at full power. Check out my Equipment Review page for a full review of much of this lighting gear. Also, if you want more information on how I use artificial lighting to enhance my images check out my in-depth e-book, Location Lighting for the Outdoor Photographer. Click on the links or the images below for more information on each item.

Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed AS Kit Elinchrom_ELB400Elinchrom ELB400 Kit Elinchrom Ranger Freelite A Strobe Head
Elinchrom Ranger Freelite S Strobe Head Elinchrom Ranger RX Ringflash 1500 elinchrom_elcprohd_1000Elinchrom ELC Pro HD 1000 Kit
Elinchrom Frosted Pyrex Domes Elinchrom Varistar Umbrella-Softbox 33″ Elinchrom Ranger Quadra Reflector Adaptor for EL Reflectors
Elinchrom Grid Reflector, 7″- 60 Degrees Elinchrom Standard Reflector Elinchrom Reflector and Honeycomb Grid Set
Elinchrom Softlite 17” Reflector (White) Elinchrom Diffuser for Softlite Reflector Elinchrom High Performance Reflector
Elinchrom Translucent Umbrella Elinchrom Rotalux Softbox 27 x 27″ Elinchrom EL 26117 Rotagrid
Elinchrom 39″ Rotalux Deep OctaBox Elinchrom Rotalux 59″ Indirect Softbox elinchrom-indirect-octabankElinchrom Indirect LiteMotiv Octa Softbox
elinchrom-indirect-stripboxElinchrom Indirect Recta Softbox litemotiv_120Elinchrom LiteMotiv Octa 120cm Softbox Rosco Gels

Wireless Transceivers

Wireless “radio” transceivers allow me to work untethered with all of my flash and strobe equipment. They also allow me to remotely trigger cameras, which for adventure sports photography can be the difference between getting the shot or going home empty handed. Since I use Elinchrom strobes, I naturally have their Skyport system. The Elinchrom Skyport Plus HS is my main go to transceiver when I am shooting with strobes. It allows me to trigger my Elinchrom strobes with my DSLRs at up to 1/8,000th second using the Elinchrom Hi-Sync technology and it also allows me to trigger my strobes with my Hasselblad H5D at up to 1/800th second. I use the old school PocketWizard Plus units to trigger remote cameras. If I had to do it over and just buy one system, I would go with the Elinchrom Skyport Plus HS. Click on the links or the images below for more information on each item.

elinchrom_skyportplushsElinchrom Skyport Plus HS Transmitter Elinchrom EL-Skyport Transceiver RX Elinchrom Universal SPEED Receiver
Elinchrom Ranger RX to EL-Skyport RX Adapter Pocket Wizard Plus Transceivers

Grip Equipment

Grip Equipment, as it is known in the industry, is the stuff the holds your lighting gear and anything else required to lock down lighting gear. I have an odd assortment of light stands, clamps, grip arms and heads. I seem to be incredibly tough on light stands and grip equipment. I have gone through a dozen or more light stands over the last 15 years or so and finally have found the ones that are built well enough to withstand the abuse I seem to dish out. Hence, if you are looking for Light stands these are rock solid options that will put up with tons of abuse. Note that I don’t use C-Stands, which are the go-to light stand for studio use, because almost all of my shoots happen on uneven ground in remote corners of the globe. Click on the links or the images below for more information on each item.

manfrotto_1004BAC_lightstandManfrotto 1004BAC-3 Light Stand manfrotto_1051BAC_lightstandManfrotto 1051BAC Mini Compact Stand matthews_beefybaby_lightstandMatthews Hollywood Beefy Baby Stand
matthews_griparm_kitMatthews Hollywood Grip Arm Kit matthews_gripheadMatthews Hollywood Grip Head manfrotto_griparmManfrotto 244 Magic Arm
impact_umbrella_adapterImpact Umbrella Bracket wescott_triplethreatWestcott Triple Threat Speedlite Bracket sand_bagImpact Saddle Sandbag – 25 lbs
clampPony Spring “A” Clamp gaffers_tapeGaffer’s Tape

Camera Support

Tripods and tripod heads are much more important than most people are aware of when it comes to critical image sharpness. When I started out I purchased a cheap tripod and tripod head. After a few years, I noticed that my images were not as sharp as I expected them to be. I realized that my tripod setup was severely lacking and the cause of unnecessary vibration. From then on, I vowed to track down the finest tripods and tripod heads I could find and not spare any expense when it came to supporting my cameras. A solid tripod system is not only a requirement for long exposures and landscape photography, but also for shooting sports with huge lenses. My search for the best tripods led me to Gitzo, who in my opinion, still make the finest tripods found anywhere. As far as tripod heads, I have a variety of different ball heads that I work with. I match the ball head with each tripod so that they work well for the weight of the camera and lens combination I will typically be using for that setup. I also have a Wimberley head, which is the ideal tripod head when shooting with huge telephoto lenses. And finally, I use Really Right Stuff camera and lens plates to attach my cameras and lenses to the tripod head. You can find a link to the really Right Stuff plates above in the Camera Accessories section. Click on the links or the images below for more information on each item.

gitzo_GT5541Gitzo GT5541LS Carbon Fiber tripod gitzo_GT2541Gitzo GT2541 Carbon Fiber tripod gitzo_1340Gitzo 1340 Aluminum Tripod
gitzo_monopodGitzo GM5541 Carbon Fiber Monopod kirk_bh-1Kirk BH-1 Ball Head wimberleyWimberley WH200 Head (V2)
acratech-gp-ball-headAcratech GP-s Ballhead with Lever Clamp reallyrightstuff_small-ballheadReally Right Stuff BH-30 Ballhead

Camera and Lighting Bags

Getting my gear to the remote locations that I work in is always a challenge. Hence, I have a plethora of different bags for both my camera and lighting equipment. For the camera bags, I have been working with Lowepro for the past ten years and they have taken feedback from myself and others to create new bags that will work specifically for adventure sports photographers. For my lighting kits, I have several options including the fantastic Lightware cases, Pelican Cases and a few Lowepro options. I match the set of bags and cases I take with me to the assignment. If I am shooting in and around water, i.e. surfing, then I take the Pelican cases. If I will be hiking a long distance with my cameras then I take the Lowepro Whistler 450 AW or the Street and Field System. Click on the links or the images below for more information on each item.

lowepro_whistler_450AWLowepro Whistler 450 AW lowepro_protrekker_300AWLowepro Pro Trekker 300 AW lowepro_Vertex_300AWLowepro Vertex 300 AW
lowepro_proroller_x200Lowepro Pro Roller x200 AW lowepro_topload_75AWLowepro Toploader Pro 75 AW  lowepro_inverse_200Lowepro Inverse 200 AW
lowepro_sf_allLowepro Street and Field System lowepro_lenscase_6x8cmLowepro Lens Case 8×6 cm lowepro_lenscase_9x13cmLowepro Lens Case 9×13 cm
lowepro_lenscase_11x14cmLowepro Lens Case 11×14 cm lowepro_lenscase_11x26cmLowepro Lens Case 11×26 cm lightware_T4444Lightware T4444 Strobe Case
lightware_standbagLightware C6032 Cargo Case pelican_1514Pelican 1510 “Carry On” Case trekpack_dividersTrekPak 1510 Divider Set
pelican_1610Pelican 1610 Case pelican_1490Pelican 1490CC1 Computer Case lowepro_dryzone_duffelLowepro Dryzone Duffel 20L 

Video Equipment

As video productions have become more and more a part of my assignment work, I have added video equipment to my kit as needed. Here is a smattering of the video gear that I own and use with my DSLRs. Please note that I often rent a lot of the gear needed for video productions or the partners I work with bring it with them. I often work with Red Digital Cinema cameras for many of my video productions. Working with the heavier, larger format cameras, like the Red Epic and Red Scarlet, require an extensive kit well beyond the basics shown here. Click on the links or the images below for more information on each item.

zacutoZacuto Z-Finder Pro 3.0X  rode_videomicproRode VideoMic Pro rode_videomicpro_deadcatRode VideoMic Pro Dead Cat
manfrotto_504HD_videoheadManfrotto 504HD Fluid Video Head gitzo_levelingbaseGitzo Systematic Leveling Base manfrotto_526B_video_monopodManfrotto 526B Fluid Video Monopod
edelkron_sliderEdelkrone SliderPlus Pro XLarge edelkron_actionmoduleEdelkrone Action Module manfrotto_symplaManfrotto Sympla Shoulder Rig
smallHD_DP4SmallHD DP4-EVF Monitor/Viewfinder zoom_H6Zoom H6 Recorder/Microphone bose_qc15Bose QC-15 Headphones
iDC_followfocusiDC SystemZero Follow Focus elinchrom_scanlitesElinchrom Scanlites

Computers and Monitors

I rely heavily on my computers and monitors to produce images and video content. Since my university days, I have worked exclusively with Apple computers. They are the backbone of my digital workflow along with Eizo monitors. Eizo produces the top-end, most color accurate monitors anywhere and they are just as key to my digital workflow as the cameras and lenses I use. Lastly, I also use a Wacom tablet for my post-prodution and they are also indespensible. Click on the links or the images below for more information on each item.

apple_macproApple Mac Pro apple_macpro_oldApple Mac Pro Tower eizoEizo ColorEdge CG243W Monitor
apple_cinemadisplayApple CinemaDisplay macbook_15Apple MacBook Pro 15″ Laptop macbook_13Apple MacBook Pro 13″ Laptop
wacomWacom Intuos Pro Tablet 

Storage

While it may not seem as exciting as some of the other items here, hard drives and the systems I use to store my images are critical for preserving the content I produce. I have had many hard drives fail on me and I have lost an entire shoot save for the selects, which were sent to the client. Hence, I have learned the hard way just how important it is to have a solid backup system and how important it is to choose a reliable storage solution. All of my images are backed up no less than four times and two of those backups are off-site. I have found that the Other World Computing (OWC) products, especially the OWC Thunderbay 4 RAID enclosures with Thunderbolt 2 connections, to be the fastest, most robust and economically viable storage solution on the market for large amounts of data. I have also found G-Tech products (they are a subsidiary of Hitachi) to be very well made and an asset to my storage workflow. With over 60 terabytes worth of hard drives, I have used just about every brand out there. I trust my data to Seagate and Hitachi internal hard drives. Click on the links or the images below for more information on each item.

owc-thunderbay4OWC Thunderbay 4 24TB Array owc-thunderbay4OWC Thunderbay 4 HD Array gtech-gdockG-Tech G-Dock
gtech-gdrive-ev220G-Teck G-Drive ev 220 gtech-gdrive-evG-Tech G-Drive ev g-tech-1tb-ssdG-Tech G-Drive ev RAW 1 TB SSD
seagate_2tbSeagate Barracuda 6TB Hard Drive seagate_3tbSeagate Barracuda 3TB Hard Drive

Printers and Accessories

I have owned both Epson and Canon printers at one time or another. My current printers are both Epsons and they are phenomenal printers. I have the Epson 3880 and the 9880. If I could recommend one printer it would be the Epson 3880. I have never used any other printer that is so easy to use and with which excellent results are so easy to achieve. So, if you are looking for a top-end 17-inch printer, look no further. For larger prints, the Epson 9880 is an incredible printer. It can print images up to 44-inches wide and because of its size it requires a fair bit of room. It looks like an upright piano in my office. It too is relatively easy to use and produces stunning results. The updated version of the 9880, the Epson 9900 is even slightly better. As for papers, I have tried a wide range of papers and have found Ilford’s baryta and fine art papers to be my favorite. Ilford’s Gold Fibre Silk and Gold Cotton Textured are my two mainstay papers. When I need to proof an image to check colors I use Epson’s Proofing Paper Semimatte. Click on the links or the images below for more information on each item.

epson_3880Epson Stylus Pro 3880 Ink Jet Printer epson_9880Epson Stylus Pro 9880 Ink Jet Printer epson_3880_tumicoverTumi Cover for Epson 3880 
ilford_goldfibresilkIlford Gold Fibre Silk Paper ilford_goldmonosilkIlford Gold Mono Silk Paper ilford_goldcotton_texturedIlford Gold Cotton Textured Paper
ilford_fineartsmoothIlford Fine Art Smooth Paper epson_proofingpaperEpson Proofing Paper Semimatte

Color Management Tools

Solid color management is the backbone of everything in the digital photography world. Without these tools my images would not reproduce with accurate colors and tones. Along with my monitors and printers, these tools allow me to work up my images with confidence knowing that the color is accurately displayed. I have used just about every X-Rite device they make and the i1 Photo Pro 2 is the best I have ever used. With it I can make bang on monitor profiles and printer profiles so that my prints match my monitor dead on. The Just Normlicht viewing box is also a critical piece of the puzzle to make sure I am viewing my images under accurate lighting. And finally, I use Solux bulbs in my office to make sure the lighting is not throwing off my ability to accurately judge color. Click on the links or the images below for more information on each item.

i1_pro2X-Rite i1 Photo Pro 2  i1_passportX-Rite ColorChecker Passport lastolite_ezybalanceLastolite EzyBalance Grey Card
just_colormaster_CM3JUST ColorMaster CM3 Viewing Box task_lampSolux Task Lamp solux_bulbsSolux Bulbs

Miscellaneous

Below are a mishmash or odds and ends that come in handy when working up images, giving presentations, keeping my cords organized, taking light readings, etc. I use quite a few of the Adobe applications included in the Adobe Creative Cloud like Photoshop, Lightroom, InDesign, Acrobat, Premiere Pro, After Effects and so forth. Adobe products are a key element of my workflow. I might also be one of the few people on earth that actually uses a light meter when working with strobes and flash equipment. I find it more accurate and easier to get great results right off the bat when using a light meter. Finally, Red Bull helps me get stuff done and it helps me deal with the long hours out in the field or in the office. Click on the links or the images below for more information on each item.

adobecreativelcoudAdobe Creative Cloud epson_1775WEpson PowerLite 1776W Projector sekonic)lightmeterSekonic LightMaster Pro L-478DR-U-EL
lastolite_trigripLastolite Tri-Grip Reflectors lastolite_diffusion_reflectorLastolite Collapsible reflector dot_line_aa_batterycaseDot Line AA Battery Case
fastener-strapsVelcro Fastener Straps redbullRed Bull Energy Drink

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