briankennedy.net - about - equipment
Two bags full of stuff Equipment

I wanted to stick a photo on this page, so I grabbed two camera bags, pulled them into the computer room, and took a quick photo with my digital camera. The whole effort, from the time I grabbed the bags to the time I had the photo up on this page, took all of two minutes. I can see why people love digital cameras.

This page is actually a little old, and so is this photo. I am not one to collect equipment for the sake of collecting it, but I do have lots more equipment now. These bags are packed as I used to pack them (except that my film was in the fridge when I shot this, not in either bag). I would bring the one on the left with me when I went to shoot birds, and the one on the right would always go with me.

What you don't see here is my DSLR, which I didn't own when I shot this back in 2001. It looks pretty much the same as my old film SLR here, though. Also, not in this photo is my large format camera and lenses, my tripods, tripod heads, flashes, and a few 35mm/DSLR lenses that get little use.

What is in the bags?

In this picture, a Canon EOS-3, 17-35, 28-70, 100-400, and 500mm lenses. Today, replace that EOS-3 with a 20D. Also, I occasionally use a 100mm macro or fast 50mm prime, and have a couple of other SLR lenses that I do not often use. I take out the 500mm lens from the larger bag on the left and use it to carry my large format stuff. That kit includes an Arca-Swiss Discovery, Nikkor 90SW and 300M, and the wonderful Rodenstock 150 Sironar-S.

I typically shoot off a Gitzo tripod with an Arca-Swiss B-1 or Wimberley head, and use Really Right Stuff or Wimberley quick release plates to hold everything together. I use B&W, Singh-Ray, and Hoya filters, and shoot Fuji Velvia, Astia, and Provia 100F transparency film, Fuji Acros B&W film, and even Polaroid Types 55 and 59 when I am feeling especially artsy. Every now and then I will pull out a Wescott gold/silver reflector, Sto-Fen flash diffuser, or a Wimberley "plamp," depending on the situation.

Do I have to buy all this stuff?

No. But you should buy a tripod. The quickest way to bridge the gap between amateur and professional looking photos is to purchase and use a tripod. I recommend the ubiquitous Bogen 3021 as the best starter tripod for the cost.

Also, buy at least one good, sharp lens to make the effort worthwhile. A 35mm or 50mm prime is a good start, and a 28-200 or similar "do everything" zoom is not.

Finally, get a good book or two on photography. National Geographic's Photography Field Guide, edited by Peter Burian, is excellent for beginning photographers. It is well laid out, covers a surprisingly wide variety of shooting styles and subjects despite its brevity, provides good explanation of the basics, and includes anecdotes written by and about some of NGS's more famous photographers. I also highly recommend The Art of Bird Photography by Artie Morris for those interested in shooting birds. There are lots of other good books. E-mail me if you are interested in recommendations.

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