Hello, My name is Alex Nirta and I’ve been a landscape and fine art photographer for the last 20 years!
With the guidance of my cousin Vinny, I am also a self-taught photographer that has learned techniques and styles throughout the years.
I worked at one of the biggest Canadian retail stores for 10 years which has also taught me with other types of photography, such as portraiture and macro photography, but my main passion is being out in the wilderness and enjoying what our planet has to offer.
I reside in Toronto, Ontario but enjoy travelling around the world. Mainly I stay in Canada. Our country has so much to offer and there’s nothing like shooting what’s in your home country. I mostly travel lightly but for bigger trips I like to make sure I have what I need.
My favourite camera that I own today is the Nikon D810. It is a beast and gives me everything from tonal range and megapixels to low-light—and it has ISO 64, which to me is a must! I actually had the Nikon D800 for two years, but literally upgraded to the D810 for the lower ISO setting. That alone was worth the upgrade!
Nature tends to be relaxed and so am I, and having all the time in the world, one focusing point is all I will ever need. My favourite lens, which I like to use for the majority of my shots, is the Nikon 16-35mm f/4 lens. It’s my go-to lens. Ultra-wide, sharp from corner to corner and really light which is helpful when you doing a lot of hiking.
My second go-to lens is my Nikon 70-200mm f/4. I used to own the F/2.8 version II, but I wanted something a lot lighter and smaller and I do not regret switching! This lens is sharp and losing those extra pounds has been a real nice treat while doing long walks to my destinations.
I use my Nikon D750 mainly as a backup camera or when I’m photographing the stars. I find the low-noise is better on this camera, and being able to use the higher ISO, the camera sensor picks up a lot more colour than our eyes can see. When I do my star stuff, I enjoy the Bower 14mm f/2.8. Having that extra 2mm actually makes a big difference in the shot. It sounds crazy, but it does.
For portraits, my two go-to lenses are the Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8 and Sigma 50mm F/1.4 Art. The 24-70mm is one of the sharpest lenses in my kit. I’ve gone through two of these lenses because I overused them, and you can usually pick them up used for a decent price. Sigma has done a fantastic job at rebranding their lenses. Super sharp, a lot cheaper than the name brands and they are built, like, really well. The 50mm Art series is one of my favourite portrait lenses and sometimes I use it for my landscapes. If you are starting out as a photographer and need to save a bit of money, I highly recommend looking at the Sigma Art series.
FILTERS & ACCESSORIES:
I use a lot of filters in my work because I like to do as much as I can in the camera before I bring it into Adobe Lightroom.
The main filters I like to use are the Big Stopper, by Lee Filters and the Cokin ND Grad series. I find the Big Stopper and ND Grad 4 are my most used. I used to have a B+W 1000x screw-on filter, but I found it annoying having to unscrew it every time I recomposed the image. Especially being in Canada where the winter days and nights tend to be extremely cold.
If I could make a recommendation to anybody reading this, BUY DROP IN FILTERS, but make sure to look at the name brands. Those kits on Amazon aren’t great and cause a weird colour cast to the images. Spend a little more. Trust me. It’s worth every penny!
I’ve been also using the Filter Dude adapters for over a year now and no complaints. Cheaper than the Lee Filters brand and haven’t noticed any issues with the build quality.
I’ve been using Manfrotto tripods from the very beginning. I always used my cousins growing up but decided to buy my own set in 2003, the Manfrotto 055. I still own them today, but mainly use them for close-to-home shoots or studio work.
I ended up grabbing the Manfrotto 190X Pro Carbon Fibre. They’re super light and easy to work with and we’ve been through a lot. I find them reliable and easy to fix since the parts are easy to replace and order. Don’t cheap out on the tripod. You’re going to use it forever, so spend the money once!
Working in a camera store for many years, I noticed a lot of returning customers that kept repurchasing the same tripods that broke. DON’T DO IT! There are a lot of great tripod companies on the market these days, but Manfrotto has always been my favourite.
COMPUTERS, STORAGE & SOFTWARE:
Being able to travel with a computer and edit on the fly is a dream! I carry it with me at all times. Being able to do a quick edit on the spot to see if you got your shot is very helpful. Especially if you are in an area where you know you won’t be back for a long time to come. With my past trip in the Rockies, my Apple came in real handy because I knew I had to keep driving to my next location.
For storage, I always go with Lacie hard drives. Never had an issue (knock on wood) and they are fairly priced. My iPad mini is used mainly for reading and watching movies as I wait for the sun to set or if I’m sleeping in the van before the sun rises.
My main tool for editing is in Adobe Lightroom. Love the cataloging and how easy the editing flow is. Photoshop is a tool a I use once in a while, since I use filters and try to do as much as I can in the camera, I rarely use it.
I’ve gone through a lot of bags in my 20 years. Lowepro has always been my favourite bag company growing up, and so has Think Tank, but my Incase DSLR Pro backpack is the best I’ve ever owned. It’s small, comfortable, has a laptop compartment, tripod holder, lots of pockets and it fits a lot of gear. I haven’t found one bad thing about this bag yet and I’ve owned it for the last two years.
I hope you found this helpful and inspiring. Now go out there, shoot, and enjoy what our planet has to offer! Thanks for reading!
Inside Alex’s camera bag:
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