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As a Nikon Ambassador (USA), I absolutely trust and rely on Nikon equipment to make the photos that I need to make for me and for my clients. I am constantly going from one extreme to another around the country and the globe shooting action, portraiture, documentary and travel images. I don’t like to be boxed into one genre or style of photography. I like variety and the challenges it brings. As a result, I need equipment that can keep up with my versatility and diversity and Nikon comes through every single time. The files are gorgeous and the glass razor sharp.
When it comes to lights, my primary outfit is a set of four Profoto B4 packs and heads. I supplement that with Acute B2 packs/heads and the Acute1200 and 2400 generators. My secondary lighting equipment is Elinchrom where I use the Elinchrom Ranger RX, Elinchrom Style RX 600 and Elinchrom Digital Style 1200RX units. For modifiers, you will see everything from the Profoto Giant Parabolic to the lantern to bare bulbs on just about any shoot I do. I love light and love what Profoto provides for me to sculpt the light just like I want it.
I have been asked what kind of photographer I am and that is always tough to explain. Many think that a photographer needs to focus on one thing and work that for all they can to be successful or make a name for themselves. For me, I like challenges and variety and feel that I can be very successful with various types and styles of photography. I come from a photojournalism background in working for newspapers. I classify myself as an action, portraiture and travel photographer. I still do documentary and reportage work but my client list is very much a healthy mix of commercial, advertising, editorial and commissioned personal work.
I think that those things stand out in the gear I select and what you see in my bag. It all covers a wide range of lens options/selections and the cameras that I use can do anything I ask them to in any situation. I choose Tenba bags for their versatility and intelligent design. I can take them anywhere in the world and know that they will allow me to travel easily and freely while keeping my equipment secure.
The kit above is my meat and potatoes kit. It will allow me to shoot virtually any assignment that comes my way and it is what travels with me when I am on the road. However, many other items are added as needed depending on the assignment.
For outdoor sports, I will also bring along the Nikon 600mm f4 VR lens with an additional D4 body (not pictured).
For sports photography involving remote cameras, what I carry expands drastically. Even more so on portrait shoots. For shoots involving remote cameras, I add 1-4 cases of equipment containing 8 more Nikon cameras along with a wide variety of lenses and grip equipment.
For portrait shoots, I tend to travel with a minimum of four strobes (packs/heads) or as many as 20 strobes (packs/heads) and a vast array of modifiers, boxes, reflectors and grip equipment. Not pictured in the portrait setup above but was in the cases include a 4′ Lantern, 3′ Octa, 1X1.3′ softbox, 4 disc reflectors, 7 zoom reflectors, XL (65″) Umbrella, small umbrella and other C stands, light stands and background stands.
Naturally traveling with this much equipment can be challenging. The airlines I use limit me to 10 checked items and 2 carry on bags which are both cameras. FedEx is also used heavily. Still, being able to pack intelligently and securely to protect the equipment is paramount.
I recently converted to using Tenba cases due to their strength, design and weight. For my Profoto B4 kit, it used to pack into three Pelican cases which weighed around 200 pounds. In switching to Tenba Transport Air Case (Topload Medium w/ wheels), I get the same strength in a softer exterior and much less weight. I was able to safely pack all of that gear into two cases, reducing the number of checked or shipped bags and reducing my overall weight by around 50 pounds.
My ring flash, Acute B2 kit, Pocketwizards, speed rings, color card and spare batteries all travel in 2 Tenba Transport Air Case XL rollers. All my Acute packs and heads travel in 2 custom fitted Tenba air cases. My octabanks, strip banks, soft boxes, umbrellas, lantern along with one C stand with boom and two light stands all fit in one 48” Tenba Rolling Tripod/Grip case. For now the only items that don’t travel in a Tenba case is my soft light reflector, Magnum reflector and the Giant 180 parabolic modifier which I am in the process of having a custom travel case manufactured. The bulk of might light stands all travel in a large Lightware cargo case and the Magnum reflector travels in a small cargo case with power adapters for the various packs.
Below is my bare bones primary kit that goes with me virtually everywhere. It fits perfectly in the Tenba Roadie Hybrid and the Tenba DNA 15 bag:
One Nikon D4s
One Nikon D4
Two Nikon D800
One Nikon Df
Nikon 400mm f/2.8 VR
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR
Nikon 24-120mm f/4 VR
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
Nikon 24mm f/1.4
Nikon 35mm f/1.4
Nikon 58mm f/1.4
Nikon 85mm f/1.4
4 Profoto B4 packs
4 Profoto Pro B Plus heads
1 Profoto Pro Ring Plus 2
2 Profoto Acute B2 packs
2 Profoto Acute B heads
1 Profoto Acute 2400 pack
1 Profoto Acute 1200 pack
4 Profoto Acute2 D-4 heads
Softlight beauty dish with grid
2 1X6 strip banks
Giant 180 parabolic reflector
2 Grid reflectors
Profoto Honeycomb Grid for Zoom Reflector 2
12 Pocketwizard Multimax units (with 2 packing cases)
10 sync cables
MacBook Pro Retina
Four 1TB G-Technology G-DRIVE ev
Three card wallets for CF, SD and XQD cards
2 rolls permacel gaffers tape
Bose bluetooth speaker
4 50’ 12 gauge extension cords
4 heavy duty surge protectors
Giottos Rocket Blaster
Bose noise canceling headphones
Inside Andrew’s camera bag:
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Hi! I'm Mark, founder of Shotkit and a photographer like you :-)
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