I travel full time. Literally. Last September I gave away almost all my stuff and moved into my 34′ Airstream I renovated myself. I figured since I’m single and don’t have any kids I might as well see as much as I can! In 3 months I went up and down the East Coast. I was In Acadia National Park in Maine during the Great Federal Shutdown of 2013. Amazing experience. Even better if I had a go kart since the babysitters were gone. Honestly, I really designed the airstream (The WNDRLST) as a production vehicle. It’s got a full bathroom, refrigerator, lots of work seating and it sleeps 5 very comfortably. Massive flexible solar panels keep 4 huge deep cycle batteries charged and ready. Great “home base” to shoot remotely ever with clients like out on the Salt flats or up in the mountains. When out of town projects come up I board my dog, lock it all up and fly out. When I’m done with a spot I move on. It’s all still new and I just now am adjusting to being a full time gypsy.
By the photo of my gear, you think “WOW this guy’s a gear fiend!” And yes, that’s true. Absolutely. I love gadgets. Things that let me do more. Create more. But let me explain myself. I shoot advertising photography and also direct video commercials. Being an advertising photographer means first and foremost you’re a professional. Paid to create. This means NO EXCUSES. If your camera breaks, you bust out another one and keep rollin. When people’s trust, jobs, hundreds of thousands, and even the company is on the line, YOU DO NOT FAIL BECAUSE OF GEAR. That’s what it means to be a paid professional. You’re hired as a professional problem solver as much as your special creative eye. My lenses’ range overlaps with them all. I have back ups to cover us through the project. This is a lesson I learned the hard way and not a fun situation to be in if it goes wrong. Seriously I feel this is really an important point to touch on with all the people declaring they are a working photographer. Some photographers don’t need nearly this much stuff so don’t buy it. But back to your thought…. yes I like it.
I’m also a brand whore because I buy gear I know I can trust and don’t have time to try others just to hope it doesn’t break. I buy stuff that is proven to not fail because too much is riding on it including my name. If I have to scrimp and save a little longer to get the names I want then so be it.
This is my usual gear. I rent other stuff when the needs arise but usually this is my base kit. Let’s start with Canon. I have 2 Canon 5d Mark 2’s and 1 Canon 5d Mark 3. I rarely buy anything the first 6 months it comes out. Too many products are released with bugs. Bugs are bad and I wanna see the problems fixed before I get my hands on them and clients time involved. The Mark 3’s are great just like the Mark 2’s. My Mark 2’s I took to the wilderness of Africa and past the Arctic Circle in Norway. They never let me down. The iii is just like them but better and can’t get enough. I buy L glass because they are the best for Canon. People look at my gear and say what a gear nut he must know everything about it all. My reply is usually “I Guess, mainly I buy the good stuff because IT WORKS GREAT!” Not dissing the other stuff, just don’t want to take the chance or time to experiment.
Bags. I have 3 different bags I use on the regular. The ThinkTank Airport Security V2 is the workhorse. When I fly out to shoot big projects it holds everything on that table! Think Tank bags are the best roller bags hands down, each is super well thought out and masterfully made with awesome quality materials. Next is My LowePro Pro Trekker 400Aw aka The Beast. You want to get off the road with some gear….here’s how. This Sucker holds A TON! Even has a Camelbak bladder is designed into it so you have water while hiking with 70 lb’s on your back (thats how much it weighed when I took it to Africa). The last is my exploring day bag. The Manfrotto Advanced Tripod backpack (large). This bag is great for your daily exploring or small trips. Holds a body & 3-4 lenses, including length for a 70-200. Special padded slit for a laptop and separate compartment at the top for the daily stuff, like cliff bar, leathermen tool, minions, bear repellant. whatever. I love the little pocket on the back, perfect for easy access to boarding passes.
Recently I just invested in a Profoto B1 head, which has the battery contained in the head and allows for remote power control from the trigger. This is really a game changer for me on the road and I have big plans for it. I typically rent lighting of all elaborate sizes depending on the project’s needs and locations. Profotos are the standard in all pro rental houses so you’re safe to find matching lights and modifiers.
FUN STUFF! YEAHHHHH! The drone (Cinestar 6) you see with Dave and Stuart (Minions) I just got when I left Dallas. I’m still learning but can’t wait to start taking awesome aerials around Utah and Grand Canyon. MacBook Pro with all the Adobe & Nik arsenals installed….awesome location media management/editor. Can’t live without it. Induro Carbon Tripod, like a champ and half as much as other big name manufacturers. Great pair of sticks. Geared Head from Manfrotto lets me get precise with what I’m shooting which is crucial for architecture, car, private jets whatever. Hammock from Grand Trunk Goods always goes with me when I’m hiking. Never know when you need to hang out for a few hours when a time-lapse opportunity strikes! Khukari (MASSIVE KNIFE) from Base Camp X I take when I’m hiking in the woods. Awesome like a machete, cuts small wood just fine and makes me feel safer in big predator country. Leatherman Wave is a must to carry for tons of reasons…Movie 127 hours….enough said. Sector 9 LongBoard is new to my carry but its too fun not to include it. Thanks Walter Mitty. I carry Field Notes Notebooks because stuff comes up. From ideas to lunch lists. write it down! “but there’s an app for..” WRITE IT DOWN! G drives with USB 3 are fantastic. Skinny, fast and reliable. Like a good…nevermind, moving on. Fuji x10 & Fuji instax mini takes my fun spur of the moment photos. Clients love to grab them as soon as we hit the ground and take all sorts of fun behind the scenes. More cameras on set the better. The Mophie Power Station saves my iPhone bacon every time especially when I’m wandering the streets of a city because I’m always taking photos….and I’m always getting lost and looking up how to get back.
Everybody has to start somewhere. It took me a helluva long time to build what you see so don’t get overwhelmed or frustrated. HAVE FUN! That’s why we are doing this!