Hi, I’m Karen Alsop from Melbourne Australia and this is my Shotkit.
When I was 15, back in the mid 1990’s, my grandfather inspired me into photography. He set me up with my own darkroom where I spent many hours honing my craft.
I entered the world of photography professionally when it was about to transition into digital. After shooting analog for a few years, I made the leap to digital in 2003 and haven’t looked back.
While I always loved Photoshop, my business model for many years was shooting weddings and portraits. It wasn’t until 2014, after having kids and discovering wedding photography didn’t fit quite as neatly into family life as it did before, I decided to jump into a new genre, digital photographic art.
I threw my heart and soul into this medium, and very quickly started winning awards and increasing my profile in the photography composite realm. I began speaking and teaching on the subject and was invited to present on Creative Live, at Adobe Max, PhotoPlus and other major photography events.
I’d always wanted to make the jump to full mirrorless for my work, it made sense. After lugging around heavy DSLRs for years, I wanted something light and portable that I could slip in my handbag, without losing out on any features or quality.
A huge part of my work involves collecting backgrounds and elements to use in my photographic composites. I was missing moments because I didn’t want to carry my heavy gear with me.
When Nikon launched the Z7 and Z6 (see review) I was intrigued. As a lot of my productions involve creating video stories about the projects, the video features were as important to me as the still quality. So, at the end of 2018 I made the switch to the Nikon Z7 and have recently added the Nikon Z6 to the bag.
The Z7 is the primary working camera. I capture my main backgrounds and do all the studio work with the Z7 as its 45mp resolution means I can push the boundaries with enlargements and fine art prints.
The Z6 is the behind the scenes camera. It’s so easy to use that I’m able to give it to someone to film and photograph with that hasn’t ever tried video before.
Often times, especial with our charity work, I have volunteer assistants come along to help. So far they’ve been able to capture impressive footage after a quick 2 minute run down. The Z6 is also incredible in low light, and coupled with the S Series 35mm 1.8 I can capture any scenario.
Along with the Z cameras, I’ve got a couple of the new Z series S-Line lenses. The 24-70 f4 is tack sharp and my go to lens. I also have the 35mm 1.8, a beautiful prime that works as well for video as it does for stills.
I do a lot of macro focus stacking work (turning small creatures into giants and other crazy concepts). For the Macro work I have the Nikon 105mm Macro that fits via an FTZ adaptor onto the Z mount.
I also have the 50mm F1.4 Nikon. On loan, I’m using the 85mm 1.4 and the 70-200 f2.8 Nikon lens until the S-mount versions become available later this year.
Much of my work is well planned out and requires all the pieces to fit together perfectly, so I often tether my camera (Tether Tools Cable) to my Wacom Mobile Studio Pro. The Wacom MSP is an incredible device, a full functioning computer and tablet all in one. It goes with me everywhere and is my workhorse out on the field. In the studio I work on an iMac Pro connected to a 32-inch EIZO monitor.
When I’m in the field my lighting comes with me. I carry an Elinchrom Quadra two head kit with battery pack and selection of modifiers, including a pop up beauty dish. The skyport trigger gives me full control over these lights and also the Elinchrom strobes in my studio.
I often lock my work down on a tripod and create multiple captures that I blend together to create the final composite (examples).
My kit used to be a lot bulkier but I love that I can travel light now. Instead of fretting that my carry-on might be weighed at the airport gate and may tip the scales, I now walk through knowing that it’s under the limit. The Nikon Z’s are a joy to use, probably the most fun I’ve ever had with a camera.
Nikon S-line 24 – 70mm f4
Nikon S-line 35mm f1.8
Nikon FTZ adapter
Nikon 105mm 2.8 Macro
Nikon 50mm f1.4
Nikon 85mm f1.8
Nikon 70 – 200mm f2.8
Wacom Mobile Studio Pro
Elinchrom Skyport Trigger
Elinchrom Quadra HS x 2
Elinchrom Battery Pack
Tether Tools USB-C cable