Joe Morahan

One kit could never be enough for me. Truthfully, I have four different kits, each for a different shooting scenario – backcountry, studio, motion and time-lapse. The two kits I’ll show you here are my backcountry kit and my studio kit, to give you the fullest survey of the gear I use.

As a sports photographer, one day I may be shooting in a studio environment, the next I’m on a bush plane to shoot in a spectacular natural location. In the studio or on location locally, I can bring everything up to and including the kitchen sink — because I don’t have to carry it on my back!

Backcountry shoots are another story. By necessity, this kit is simple, easy and light. My bag of choice is a Lowepro Flipside Sport 15L AW, my lightest and most comfortable bag. I have to carefully consider what I really need, not just to get the shot, but also to survive! On a 12-mile hike into the canyon at Havasu Falls, I wanted to bring a lighting kit, but I would have to rent extra donkeys or airlift the equipment in by helicopter… not exactly practical. Here’s what made the cut:

• Canon 1DS Mark III
• Extra camera batteries
• Canon 24-70mm f/2.8
• Canon 70-200mm f/2.8
• Hoodman loupe
• Hoodman cards
• Think Tank Pocket Rocket card holder
• Pelican case
• Lens tissue
• Water (bottle or CamelBak)
• Compass, whistle, trash bags, plenty of snacks

More often, I’m shooting in the studio or on location at one of the many beautiful natural sites around Denver, Colorado (that don’t require more than a couple miles hiking!) My studio kit contains pretty much anything I could possibly need on a shoot, including rarely-used gear, like my softbox. In this kit, you’ll find camera equipment, lighting equipment and modifiers:

• Canon 1DS Mark III
• Canon 5D Mark II
• Extra camera batteries
• Hoodman loupe
• Think Tank Pocket Rocket Card Holder
• Hoodman CF Cards
• Lens Tissue
• Water Tight Pelican Case for CF Cards
• Sekonic Light Meter
• Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro
• Canon 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye
• Canon 24-70mm f/2.8
• Canon 70-200mm f/2.8
• Canon 300mm f/2.8
• Zeiss Planar 85mm f/1.4 fixed
• Zeiss Planar 50mm f/1.4 fixed
• Zeiss Planar 28mm f/2 fixed
• 1.4 Teleconverter
• 2X Teleconverter
• PocketWizards
• Hoodman Video Mount
• Manfrotto Super Clamps
• 2 Small Black Flags
• 2 Reflectors
• Profoto B2 Kit
• Profoto 2 heads
• Profoto 2 Batteries
• Profoto 2 Light shaping Reflectors
• Profoto Extra long cord to move light further away (great for rim light!)
• Lowepro Photo Trekker AWII
• Lowepro Flipside Sport 15L AW
• Sand bags, C-stands, light stands

As can see, this kit would be very difficult to hike with for long distances, but in the studio you can do some real damage with all that gear! As you can tell, I’m hugely devoted to Canon, Profoto and Hoodman gear. It’s simply the best for what I need. My favorite tool in the whole pile is my Hoodman loupe, which allows me to check the back of my camera even in bright sunlight. It reminds me of looking at an image under the dark cloth of a 4×5 back in the day, and allows me to “chimp” as well as check histograms and detail.

When I started shooting about a decade ago, I was using a 4×5 camera with all sorts of gear, film and a million other tiny things. Without proper organization, I would have been lost (or at the very least, my gear would have been lost.) Now, my system is down pat. Being well-organized helps me not have to worry about gear, and instead focus on the shoot and capturing amazing imagery for my clients.

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