Whats in my Camera Bag?

bag

Have you ever seen a photographer, tripod in hand looking for a composition and said to yourself “I wonder what is in their camera bag”? I know I have, just about every time I see someone with a Peak Design or even when I see a great image taken by some of my favorite shutterbugs.

Over the past year, some great things have happened and a few of my images have gotten some great exposure, and I have been blessed enough to have gained a lot of new followers. Several of which have asked me about what gear I use while out photographing.

So, below is a list of almost everything I use. I have included links to everything I can find that is still sold, some of the links will take you to Amazon. These Amazon links are “affiliate links” which means if you click on it and buy it, I make a small 3% – 8% commission. Thank you for your support.

Cameras and Lenses

Canon 5D Mark IV– This is to date my favorite camera body. Superb image quality and excellent dynamic range. The on-screen zoom in allows for sharp focus and the overall ergonomics will be very familiar to Canon users. 
Canon 7D Mark II – This is a wonderful crop sensor camera body that I used for years before upgrading. 
Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens– This may be my favorite landscape lens. Great quality and not terribly expensive. I would venture a guess that 75% of my images have been taken with this lens.
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens– Though I don’t shoot in this range a lot, this is a wonderful lens to have in the bag for those in-between ranges. Not too pricey and great quality. 
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM Lens – This was for many years my number one go-to lens. Fantastic quality and very diverse. 
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens– This is one of the most versatile lenses in my kit. It is exceptionally sharp and just as good for landscapes as it is for wildlife, sports, and portraits. 
Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L USM Lens – This is a quality lens but is I am honest, the Sigma version may be as good or better for half the price.
Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens – For the price, this is one of the best wide aperture/angle lenses I have had. Great for shooting nightscapes and the milky way. 
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens – This is perhaps my favorite prime lens to shoot with. Great for portraits, street photography, and nightscapes, it is ultra sharp and the bokeh is exceptional. 
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens – This is an ultrasharp macro lens that is also perfect for portraits. 

 

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Support

Manfrotto 190go! Carbon Fiber Tripod – Currently my favorite tripod! Not too big, not too small, not too heavy… Quality construction and very durable.
Manfrotto XPRO Magnesium Ball Head – Compact, precise and dependable. Everything I look for in a tripod head. 
Benro Long Series 3 Mach3 Carbon Fiber Tripod – WHen you need something with a little more girth and stability, this is what you want. 
Benro G2 Low-Profile Triple Action Ball Head– This is a bit more than I need, but a solid, quality, and reliable tripod head. 
Really Right Stuff Pocket Pod– A wonderful pocket-size support that allows incredibly low supported shots.
Peak Design SlideLITE Camera Strap SLL-1– By far the best camera strap I have ever owned!
JOBY GorillaPod Action Video Tripod – Used primarily for the GoPro and Vlogging.
black lowepro belt
Photo by Garrett Morrow on Pexels.com

Bags & Cases

Lowepro Whistler BP 350 AW – Best camera backpack I have owned. It may be a little bit depending on what you are doing, but it has enough space for what I need while allowing extra space for hiking or camping gear. Very durable and comfortable. 
Lowepro Flipside Sport15L AW– A wonderful compact bag great for day trips and light travel.
Pelican 1510 Case With Padded Dividers
Lowepro S&F Filter Pouch 100– I don’t know if this is the best, but it has worked well for holding my filters. Easy to clean and keep dirt from scratching up all my expensive filters. 

Video & Drones

GoPro HERO5 Black– I use this a lot for my Vlogging and time-lapse video. Small, lightweight and great for documenting. 
GoPro HERO5 Session – Even smaller and lighter, this is used primarily doe vlogging and documenting photography outings. 
DJI Spark– This is an amazing little drone that I honestly don’t use enough. The compact size is great for my bag and for what I have used it for, it is pretty cool.
Movo Photo MTP-11 Motorized Tripod Head – Used for time-lapse panning in videos. 

 

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Filters

I use a range of graduated ND filters, ND filters, a polarising filter. All of these are used with the Lee Foundation Holder. The quality of the filters are second to none. The polariser causes minimal vignetting even at 16mm. 
Lee Filters Foundation Kit / Filter Holder
Lee Filters 105mm Slim Landscape Polarizer 
Lee Filters Little Stopper 6-Stop Neutral Density Filter
Lee Filters Big Stopper 10-Stop Neutral Density Filter
Lee Filters Supper Stopper 15-Stop Neutral Density Filter
Lee Filters 2 Stop Medium Edge Graduated Neutral Density
Lee Filters 3 Stop Medium Edge Graduated Neutral Density
Lee Filters 1 stop Soft-Edge Graduated Neutral Density 
Lee Filters 2 stop Soft-Edge Graduated Neutral Density 
Lee Filters 3 stop Soft-Edge Graduated Neutral Density
NiSi 100mm Natural Night Filter 
Lee Lens Cap Pack 3
photography of laptop computer camera smartphone headphones and mug
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Post Processing

LaCie 4TB Rugged RAID External Hard Drive – This holds all of my media, Lightroom Catalogs and Adobe Premier Project files. This system allows me to seamlessly switch from laptop to desktop without ever having to sync folders or re-edit images.
WD 4TB My Passport Wireless Pro Portable External Hard Drive – This is used exclusively as a backup drive.
Adobe Lightroom– Yes, all my photos are edited. I use Lightroom to make minor adjustments to shadows, highlights, contrast, color, sharpness, and clarity. The majority of the time my post processing is minimal and I try to keep the final images as I saw them when taking the image.
Adobe Photoshop– For more in-depth adjustments such as removing a power line, street signs, or just clutter, Photoshop is great. I probably only use 3% of what the program can actually do.
Canon PIXMA Pro-100 Printer – This is a great printer for the price and can print up to a 13 x 19 inch print with exceptional quality. 
brown and white dome tent at nighttime
Photo by Pete Johnson on Pexels.com

Outdoor Gear

Garmin Fenix 3 GPS Watch– For those of you that tend to get lost in the great outdoors, this is a must-have. It also has alarms for the approaching sunrise and sunset which I use a lot.
Vallerret Photo Gloves – It doesn’t get cold that often in the Texas Hill Country, but when it does, these are the only gloves I will wear. They have wonderful grip and allow the tips of your thumbs and pointers to poke out.
Foxelli Trekking Poles – When you have to hike a few miles to get to that perfect photo spot while hauling 40 lbs of gear, these give that added stability and support while adding minimal weight.
VITCHELO V800 Led Headlamp – If you intend to shoot nightscapes, this is something you are going to want to invest in.
LEATHERMAN – Signal Multitool – For those moments when you need an all in one tool.
BANSHEE 200 – 2 Person Tunnel Tent – This is a great, lightweight, 2 person backpacking tent with large openings so you can view all that nature has to offer.
Nemo Equipment Fillo Pillow – So much better than using a shoe and takes up minimal room in your pack.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Air Mattress – Not only is it comfortable, this compact and lightweight pad insulate you from the ground temperatures keeping you cooler or warmer. 

Canyon dam outflow-16-Edit-Edit

 

How did you do that?

Over the past few months, several people have messaged me on Instagram and the book of faces asking how I get the water in a lot of my shots to be so clear and colorful. Well, this seemed like a great time to pass along a little of what I have learned over the years.

Canyon Lake Sunrise-23

First I will answer the most common question I am asked on this subject, No, I didn’t use photoshop to paint in colors and detail. As you can see in the image above, the water in the foreground is very vibrant and clear. You can see the rocks and details under the water, and it looks almost a tropical color.

As much as I would like to say I have some secret skill or a magic wand that creates this look, It’s really much more simple that most people think. So in the majority of my outdoor landscape images, I use a filter that is called a Circular Polarizer. Here is a little of the science behind the filter.


The light that reflected off of a non-metallic surface becomes polarized. This effect is strongest at angles about 56° from the lens. A polarizer rotated to pass only light polarized in the direction perpendicular to the reflected light will absorb a lot of it. This allows glare reflected from water to be reduced.

So to simplify that, as you are looking through a lens with a Circular Polarizer attached, if you turn the polarizer you will notice the glare reduction and in some cases, disappear. There are 2 images below that illustrate this.

 

Both images are with the same settings, with a circular polarized and have the same post-processing adjustments. The image on the right is un-polarized and as you would see if there were no filter on the lens. The image on the left is the polarized image after turning the polarized about a half turn. You can see the difference mainly in the reflections off the water. The polarized image has very little reflection which allows you to see the detail under the water. In addition to the detail, you can see more of the color through the water.

For this image, I actually went with a semi-polarized shot because the contract created by the reflections improved the overall look. That’s just my opinion though.

5 Mile Dam, Sam Marcos-12-Edit

There are a variety of Circular Polarizers on the market from a number of manufacturers. After using several different types, I am now using the LeeFilters system. They have wonderful clarity in the glass and the system is easy to use. If you are interested in learning more, there is a link HERE.

Hopefully, this has helped answer some of the questions you may have about photography. There are always new techniques and products coming out, I am learning more and more every day. Let me know if there is something more you would like to know and I will see about getting an answer for you.