On the Road: Two For the Road: Two Words That Is


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.

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Peril in the Lower Omo Valley

Screenshot 2014-01-25 10.47.40

Peril in the Lower Omo Valley is a recent article about my work that appeared in American Photo Magazine. It is a project I am working on about the tribes of the Omo Valley, Ethiopia and the peril they are facing because of a loss of land and inter-tribal conflicts.

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So You Want to Be a Travel Photographer, Part 1


Some people think that being a travel photographer is a glamorous life, and why not. You get to travel to all parts of the world, meet interesting people, shoot in exotic locations and stay in wonderful luxury hotels and eat foods some of us have never even heard of.  Well let me give you some idea of what really happens on some of these trips.  I was contracted to do an advertorial job for a magazine based in San Francisco and paid for by the tourist board.  Sounds great, fly to SF, meet he people at the magazine then onto Taipei for 10 days of traveling around the country taking wonderful photographs of Taiwan.  I’ll have a writer with me to keep all the information straight and all I have to do is come back with great photos for an upcoming issue.  No problem. I’ve shot thousands of travel photos and nothing about this job seemed unusual a couple of weeks before I was supposed to leave.

Then I saw the itinerary that the tourist  bureau thought that I should follow and what they thought might be interesting in Taiwan to photograph.  From the minute I landed and one hour after check-in, I was to start shooting and it wasn’t to stop until I left for home 2 weeks later.  A new location every 1-2 hours.  That’s asinine, at least if you want good photos.  That’s almost 39 hours without sleep. Continue reading

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