wildlife photographer camera gear

Kristi Odom

Animal & Wildlife | Last Updated: December 23, 2020

Nature photography is when I truly get to tell my story, my passions, and my loves. I have been told that I connect better with animals than people; I can’t tell if this is a problem or a superpower.

I shoot weddings to fund myself as a nature photographer and a conservationist. Don’t get me wrong, I love weddings! (brides smell better than primates and they don’t throw poop)

I love photographing in remote places. From the depths of the ocean to sheer cliffsides I find inspiration for life.

My nature work strives to remind people of the vast beauty in this amazing world. I want to get people outside to experience the world and the critters with whom we share this amazing planet. By photographing animals in a more emotional manner I hope to get people connected with wildlife.

While my wedding kit has additional cameras and lenses, I like to keep my kit as light as possible on the road. All gear that I can carry on my back.

Nikon D5: My main squeeze. Once I put this camera in my hands I knew it was going to be the perfect tool for capturing life. I love how fast, sharp, consistent, and reliable it is. Ever since I bought this camera I haven’t gone to a shoot or an expedition without it.

Nikon D750: Not only is this the best backup camera ever but it is my favorite adventure camera. The pop out back display is awesome for shooting at hard-to-reach angles because you don’t have to look through the eyepiece. It is perfect for climbing and diving (with the ikelite housing of course). Also, the ability to control it with my smartphone comes in handy when I want to put the camera in unique locations. Sometimes wildlife will get a lot closer to a camera when a person is farther away, so that feature rocks!

Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6: Bears can definitely maul and/or kill you. For this reason, it’s advisable to keep some distance from your subject in the wild. This lens is crazy sharp at 500mm making it perfect for photographing bears mauling other people. BONUS: It’s super lightweight for the length and security it provides!

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8: Can’t leave home without it! This lens is remarkably versatile. I can get every shot from intimate portraits to close up detail.

Nikon 35mm f/1.4: My go-to. This lens lets me get into action and shoots wide open. Absolutely perfect for showing animals in their environment.

Nikon 20mm f/1.8G: Such a perfect lens for underwater photography. It is lightweight, wide, lets in tons of light, and a bargain (so if I flood it shooting seals… I will not be crushed). It is a great lens to hang cliff-side with, or shoot stars.

2 Nikon Speedlight SB-910: I get all the power and light I need with two of these flashes. Plus, they communicate with each other.

Flashbender: To soften the speedlights. It’s small, portable, and diffuses the flash beautifully.

Ikelite 6812.75 D750 housing with 5510.16 lens dome and SCUBA mask: Good tools for seeing and shooting underwater (essential for photographing whale sharks). I chose a housing for the Nikon D750 since I would be emotionally wrecked losing my Nikon D5 on a trip.

Climbing gear (harness, shoes, belay device). I have a bit of a climbing obsession and love any chance to hang and get pics.

Bungee Cord: To string up my flashes (light stands are just too heavy and bulky for me on the road). There always seems to be a nearby tree or pole :)

PowerBear Travel Adapter & Surge Protection: Essential for some of the sketchy outlets in remote countries. Indonesia seriously fried my laptop before I found this magic adapter. BONUS: it has USB charging for my smart phone.

iPhone 6s plus: I strangely get service pretty much anywhere in the world with my T-mobile plan (it has free international data and free texts in most countries). I only wish my family and friends understood timezones a bit better to avoid all the 3am calls.

Chapstick… Ok I am addicted. It is a problem.

Petzl Headlamp: Great for reading at night, or when power randomly goes out at 2 a.m. in El Salvador, or when you get stuck in the woods with hungry bears.


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