While I never had a passion for photography as a kid, I did have a deep fascination for geography, culture, mythology, and geography.
My walls in my room as a child were plastered with the maps from National Geographic that came with the subscription I got as a yearly present from my wonderful godmother.
Who knew that so many years later I’d have several photos of mine grace the cover of National Geographic? Or that I’d be sharing my passion for travel, culture, landscape and of course photography with so many people who join me on the photography tours that I run with my company Discovery Photo Tours.
After working in fashion then lifestyle stock photography for the first part of my career, I ended up shifting to travel photography in 2008 and never looked back.
I’ve been fortunate to visit so many incredible places since then and just added my seventh continent last year when I set foot on Antarctica along with a small group that I was leading.
I now get the chance to photograph everything from landscape and nature, to culture, people, urban, and wildlife imagery. The variety of subject matter I can get to shoot is refreshing and rewarding in so many ways.
In order to have the versatility to photograph these different subject matters, I need a kit that keeps me in the game with quality lightweight equipment that I know I can count on.
To make my travel photo gear kit more compact, I switched to the Fujifilm X-Series of mirrorless cameras years ago and could not be happier.
Why do I like the Fujifilm system? I’m glad you asked.
- Smaller cameras and lenses that do not sacrifice quality for smaller size and lighter weight.
- Affordability… Fujifilm X-Series cameras and lenses are substantially less expensive than DSLRs and other mirrorless systems.
- Weather sealing… What a great thing for travel photographers to know that rain, dust, and other environmental drawbacks are nothing to worry about with the weather sealing on many of the Fujifilm cameras and lenses that I keep in my bag.
- An exceptional variety of top-notch zoom lenses. Ranging from 8mm to 400mm, Fujifilm X-Series has the bases covered.
- Image stabilization on both cameras and lenses.
- Killer primes (when I need one). My current favorite Fujifilm prime is the incredible 200mm ƒ/2.0 with the 1.4x teleconverter. Perfect for the safaris I run in Tanzania.
I’m also using the Fujifilm GFX now and have had the opportunity to shoot with it in Norway. I’m now taking the new GFX 100 with me to Tanzania and to Antarctica later this year. Glad to have this masterpiece of a system in my kit now.
Let’s take a look at the gear in my bag now:
My new go-to lens for landscape photography with the X-Series. Sharp and super wide and much lighter than the equivalent on the big DSLRs. Get this lens!
Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4
My workhorse lens for years and still a trusty smaller wide zoom that works perfectly with all my awesome Formatt-Hitech filters.
Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8
The standard second body lens for most situations. Great fast travel carry around lens. Don’t leave home without it.
Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8
Slowly falling more in love with this lens all the time. Perfect for shorter shots on safari, great portrait lens, and wonderful at capturing candid cultural images in Asia and Africa.
Fujinon XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6
Never go on safari without this awesome lens. I’ve had exceptional luck with it paired with the 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters. Wish it was faster though and hoping that Fujifilm is listening to me when I am after them to produce a similar focal length lens with a fixed f/4 (or lower!) aperture.
Fujifilm XF 200mm f/2 with XF 1.4x TC F2 WR Teleconverter
My new favorite lens! This one will be with me on all my nature and wildlife shoots from this point on. This is a 300mm equivalent in 35mm with a ƒ/2 aperture… that’s just awesome! Pair it with the dedicated 1.4x teleconverter and you now have a 427mm (35mm equivalent) at ƒ/2.8. Absolutely incredible engineering from Fujifilm.
Fujifilm X-T3 – Black Body
This is a beast of a camera and for the fraction of the price of the DSLR equivalents. In my opinion, Fujifilm makes the best EVF on the market, and has the most versatile camera in the mirrorless game today. Great for video and stills, renders awesomely accurate color, weather resistant, constantly updated firmware, ultra-accurate autofocus, and up to 30 FPS!
Fujifilm X-T3 – Silver Body
So good that I wanted one in each color.
Fujifilm VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip
Extra speed, longer-lasting batteries, and buttons and dials ergonomically placed to allow easier vertical shooting. A must-have for wildlife, sports, fashion, and action shooters.
What can I say other than this is a brand-new addition to my kit and I could not be more thrilled to have such a killer camera in my possession. At the time of this writing, I am still waiting to take it out on a serious shoot but I have used the previous incarnation of the GFX in Norway several times with great success. At 100 MP, this new GFX 100 is sure to take things to a whole new level and I’m itching to get some huge prints done.
Fujifilm GF 250mm f/4
This and the 100-200 will be the lenses I take with me on safari this year. I’m looking to do a gallery show of some of my wildlife work and the new 100MP files will just shine when blown up to 40×60 or bigger.
Fujifilm GF 100-200mm f/5.6
Versatility in the mid-telephoto range is what I’m after with this lens. Wish it was a bit faster.
Fujifilm GF 32-64mm f/4 (not pictured)
For my travels to places where I run my tours like Jordan, Japan, Norway, and Italy this is going to be a vital piece of kit to bring with me to get a big chunk of my imagery.
Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 (not pictured)
At around 17mm in35mm equivalent, this will be a lens that sees a lot of action for landscape and cityscape shooting. My only wish is that there was one more super wide lens in this series of GFX glass. A superwide zoom equivalent to that awesome 8-16mm for the X-series would be my top wish… Fujifilm, are you listening? ;-)
Formatt Hitech 100mm Firecrest Ultra Ken Kaminesky Signature Edition Master Filter Kit
I would never associate my name with any company or promote their goods unless I felt like they offered the very best quality products.
To actually have a filter kit named after me is quite the honor and I love the Formatt-Hitech Firecrest filters for many reasons. These filters are 100% color cast free and far more durable than regular resin or glass filters.
Here is what my kit contains:
- Firecrest Ultra ND 3.0 (10 stops)
- Firecrest Ultra ND 1.8 (6 stops)
- Firecrest Ultra ND 0.9 (3 stops)
- Firecrest Ultra Soft Edge ND Grad 0.6 (2 stops)
- Firecrest Ultra Soft Edge ND Grad 0.9 (3 stops)
- Firecrest 100mm Filter Holder
- Firecrest 82mm Ultraslim polariser
- 77-82mm Step Ring
- 72-82mm Step Ring
- 67-82mm Step Ring
- 82-82mm Rotating Adaptor Ring
- Soft Touch Outer Case
- Ken Kaminesky Booklet
- Filter Pouches or clamshells
Once you try a Really Right Stuff tripod, there is no going back. Hands down the ultimate tripod system for serious photographers. Yes, they are expensive but why would you place an expensive camera system on a flimsy cheap tripod?
I have the following RRS tripods and love them all.
BH-30 BALL HEAD
TFC-34 MK2 TRIPOD
BH-55 BALL HEAD
I use a variety of hard drives on the road and a system of Raid drives in the office. I need two things from my drives: reliability, and speed.
Like most photographers, I use Apple Macbook pros. They have always been my top choice.
I’m not a videographer and what I need video of is the behind the scenes fun that my guests are having in places like Antarctica to Tanzania to Myanmar. This supercompact system makes it easy for me to be ready to film at a moment’s notice. I’ve been waiting for something like this for some time. Thanks, DJI!
Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones
For those long flights with crying babies, loud talkers, and lots of airplane hiss, these are indispensable. Great for zoning out, meditating, watching movies, and listening to music with noise-canceling tech built-in.
Wacom Photo Tablet for travel
I use the Intuos series at home but always travel with this drawing tablet while on the road.
Don’t leave home without it. These things can literally save your life.
Apple iPad mini
Portfolio, business apps, entertainment center, and our brand new Discovery Photo Tours App. Love this thing!
Just because you are on the road, doesn’t mean that you can’t smell good. ;-)
www.discoveryphototours.com | @kenkaminesky
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