Based in Monterey, California, I am a professional wildlife photographer, certified California naturalist and member of the North American Nature Photography Association.
Passionate about the environment, I use my work to showcase the beauty of the natural world and draw attention to conservation issues.
This theme is carried throughout my workshops and lectures, with an emphasis on how photography can connect us with nature, teach us about the environment and serve as a conservation tool.
Although my main interest lies in photography along the California coast, I love to roam the globe in search of nature’s wonders. I particularly enjoy annual visits to the polar regions as an instructor and lecturer on expedition tours.
The gear I use has to stand up to the elements and provide me with a large enough focal range to cover a multitude of photographic situations, from landscapes to penguins to polar bears and everything else in between!
I also need to be mobile enough to climb in and out of zodiacs from ship to shore and vice versa, in addition to traversing a variety of at times difficult terrains. Therefore traveling light is of vital importance and it has taken me quite some time to figure out what works best for my specific needs.
Here are the camera bodies and lenses I usually bring on these tours:
Nikon D500 + MB-D17 Battery Grip
Nikon D750 + MB-D16 Battery Grip
NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4
NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4
NIKKOR 300mm f/4
NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6
Nikon Teleconverter TC-14E II
I never bring a tripod as I have found it cumbersome and I don’t use it enough to justify the added weight in my luggage. For those times I need a little more stability, I bring a Monostat RS16K Carbon Fiber monopod with a Really Right Stuff Pro Monopod Head. The monopod is lightweight, very sturdy and easy to pack. Although no longer on the market, there are plenty of similar options out there.
I generally carry the two bodies using the BlackRapid Breathe Double Harness which I absolutely love. It has turned out to be the best way for me to work with two lenses at one time and I can switch back and forth very quickly as needed, particular with wildlife when quick reflexes and timing is of the essence.
I pack my gear for travel in a ThinkTank Streetwalker Rolling Camera Bag. It fits in most airline overhead bins as long as I remove my laptop from the front pocket. Once at my destination, I use a Lowepro Flipside 400 AWII Backpack. It holds the majority of my gear for shore excursions and has a really roomy front pocket for accessories. The pack opens from the body side allowing access without putting the bag down. This comes in really handy when in mucky, guano covered penguin colonies!
For downloading my images in the field, I use a MacBook Pro with a 2 Terabyte external hard drive. Images are processed using Lightroom CC and Adobe Photoshop CC.
🚀 Related: 25 Free Lightroom Presets
Closer to home I tend to favor my 500mm prime lens, particularly for bird photography. I use it with either my D3s or D500 camera bodies, Really Stuff TV-34L tripod, Mongoose M-3.6 Gimbal head and Long Lens Support Package from Really Right Stuff. Long lenses need stability and good technique, as any slight movement or vibration is magnified and will result in soft or blurry images.
If however, I need to hike or trek a long distance, I will once again go with the lighter, more versatile option. The Nikon D500 and NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6 is a fantastic combination and I highly recommend for anyone who wants to try their hand at bird or wildlife photography before investing in an expensive prime lens.
Here is the additional camera equipment and accessories I use when closer to home:
NIKKOR 500mm f/4
NIKKOR 300mm f/4
Really Right Stuff TVC-34L Carbon Fiber Tripod
Gitzo GT2530 Carbon Fiber Tripod
Mongoose M-3.6 Gimbal Tripod Head w/Integrated Low Mount Arm
Really Right Stuff BH-40 Ball Head
Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball Head
RRS Long Lens Support Package
Nikon SB-800 Speed Light
Nikon MC-30 Remote Cord
Wimberly F-1 Telephoto Combo Flash Bracket
Better Beamer Flash Extender
NatureScapes Skimmer Ground Pod
NatureScapes Skimmer Sack Beanbag
Nikon Polarizing Filters
Tiffen Variable ND Filter
Lee Filter Holder System with a selection of GND Filters
Guragear Batalae 32L Backpack