Many people have asked me about the type of photographic gear that I use on my travels. I know you’ve all heard the answer, it’s not the camera, it’s the photographer’s eye. Well, yes and no. A photographer who has an exceptional eye will invariably take good photos no matter what type of camera he has. There are times though that the cameras and equipment I use will enable me to capture certain situations that a person without the same cameras or equipment will fail or not be able to take the picture in the first place. As Clint Eastwood said in one of his movies, “a man has to know his limitations.”
Now for those who might be interested in the equipment details, I use Nikon D800’s, and although I do have a couple of zoom lenses, I much prefer fixed focal length lenses for several reasons. They are faster, which also translates into brighter in the viewfinder, they are lighter and are generally smaller in size which makes a smaller photographer/camera profile and in some of the sensitive places I travel to, that is very important. The focal lengths I use most often and are my workhorse lenses, are the 24,28,35 and 85. I will occasionally use my 14-24 zoom and I do have a light f4 70-200 zoom. Since flash is an essential tool, I carry 2-3 Nikon SB700 flashes on most trips. I hate tripods, but realize that they must be used in certain situations, so I take along a small Really Right Stuff tripod and a small Gitzo monopod. I like to be quite mobil when I shoot, so I tend to handhold my cameras probably longer into the fading light than I should.
I wrote a travel column for Shutterbug magazine a few months ago about traveling with lighter equipment and I have included the article below.