My basic kit

My basic kit
Taken with my phone. When you’re taking pictures of your camera gear, you use what’s left over!

OK, so here’s the first in a series of posts that I’ve been meaning to do for awhile. To my wife’s relief, it will be a short series. I thought I’d post on a) what photo gear I travel with, b) how I deal with the photos I take while on the road and c) my process once I get home. See? Short series.

My main camera is the Canon 7D. If we’re going on what is potentially a “once-in-a-lifetime” trip this body is with me. Heavy? Yup. Worth it? Totally. It takes great pictures at a good pixel count and has all of the features that I could reasonably need, including a menu feature that allows me to change settings via the rear display. This feature is nice for this middle-aged photographer because the settings are displayed in a nice large font that does not require me to put on my glasses. It’s the little things in life.

I have finally arrived at what is, for me, a perfect set of lenses. I’m a firm believer in getting a good body and then investing in great glass. My basic walk-about lens is the Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS. On the 7d the focal range translates to about 38-170mm, which is more than adequate for most situations. My long lens is the Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS (effective focal length 112-320mm) and this thing takes gorgeous pictures. I love love love using it for portraits. It’s much lighter and smaller than its close relation, the 70-200f2.8L, but the image stabilization makes it a wash for me. I just wish it wasn’t white; it really stands out. For wide work, mostly landscapes, I use the Canon 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 (effective focal range 16-35mm). Again, beautiful shots. I once rented this lens for an urban photo tour I was taking. When I received it, I took some test shots with it. As I brought them up on the computer Patti walked by, saw them and said “you need that lens.” She bought it for me for Christmas that year. Does she rock, or what? The last lens I own is known as the “nifty 50”: the Canon 50mm f/1.8. Best bang for the buck out there … it’s now about $125, I paid about $70. It’s fast, extremely light and takes nice shots, particularly in low light.

We have a couple of point-and-shoot cameras. We have an Olympus 720SW “waterproof,” which I’m shocked to discover you can still get from Amazon. It takes great photos, even under water. We’ve had it for years, treated it pretty roughly and it keeps on taking nice shots. I can strongly recommend this line of cameras. Last summer we bought the Canon S100 for our trip to the American Southwest. I wanted a P&S that I could have more control over and, after researching the issue, decided on this. Patti ended up taking 900+ shots (and several videos), many of which you simply can’t tell weren’t taken with the DSLR. While limited in many respects, it completely fills the niche I wanted it to.

Two more significant items to mention: the Garmin Dakota 10 GPS & the Sanho Colorspace UDMA 2 Photo Storage Device. I use the Garmin to record my daily movement while on the road and utilize the tracks to tag my photos when I get home. More on this in a later post. The Sanho is my latest addition, allowing me to back up my photos to its drive, to an external hard disk, or even to an iDevice. Again, more on this later.

The rest of the gear in the photo is basic miscellaneous stuff: the Canon 580EX flash, Manfrotto mono-pod, CF cards, spare batteries, filters, cleaning equipment, etc…. I should point out that I do NOT carry all of this crap on every trip. If we’re on a car-based trip, I may bring most, if not all (plus laptops). When we go lighter, to an urban area for example, I carry a subset of what you see.

That’s my stuff. Except for my camera bags. Don’t even get me started on bags.

Outside Bozeman, MT, 6/30/07 Canon 7-200@135mm, f/4, 1/125

Outside Bozeman, MT, 6/30/07
Canon 70-200@135mm, f/4@1/125

Bryce Canyon, UT, 7/30/12 Canon 10-22@19mm, f/16, 1/320

Bryce Canyon, UT, 7/30/12
Canon 10-22@19mm, f/16@1/320

Catacombs, Paris, Fr, 12/8/05 Canon 50mm, f/2.8, 1/30

Catacombs, Paris, Fr, 12/8/05
Canon 50mm, f/2.8@1/30