Hi! My name is Mieke Boynton (pronounced “Meeka”) and I’m a landscape and aerial photographer based in Victoria, Australia.
This year, I was awarded the title of “2019 Victorian Landscape Photographer of the Year” by the Australian Institute of Professional Photography, and I’m also the winner of the 2019 Epson International Pano Awards.
I love my gear. My parents bought me my first DSLR for my 30th birthday and they picked a Nikon… which I’ve stuck with ever since.
I research extensively before purchasing anything new and, as a consequence, I have a kit that I’m really proud of.
I’m a landscape photographer with a specialisation in aerial photography. For me, at least half of the joy of photography (if not more) is the experience of capturing the images. I love being “out bush” and allowing the sounds, smells, colours, weather and whispers of Nature to surround me.
There is no better feeling than being all alone, hundreds of kilometres from the bright lights of town, with only the voices of my surroundings for company, infusing my photography. I call it “listening to the Landscape.”
From a processing point of view, I try to keep things as true to reality as possible, whilst also reflecting my experience. Nature is incredible and I try to honour that.
I get asked a lot about whether I use a drone for my aerials. My instant response: Never. I just love flying too much! And it’s the joy I feel that makes the photography so much fun. Though it might be more expensive, it’s definitely worth saving up for!
I carry a lot of equipment with me when I head out exploring, even though it weighs a ton, because I know I’d be devastated if I left a lens at home and consequently missed the opportunity to capture a special image. I put everything in my Lowepro Whistler BP 450 AW backpack and attach my tripod to the side. I chose this backpack mainly because it fits in the overhead of most airlines, and I travel a lot.
I went on a waiting list to buy the D800 when it was first announced and have been proud to own it ever since. It is a workhorse, and it was only reluctantly put aside when I needed a second body and decided to buy the D810.
To be entirely honest, I didn’t notice a big difference between the two, but I now primarily use the D810 for everything and the D800 only comes out as my second camera for aerials, or stays in my luggage as a backup.
The Lenses… for Landscapes
Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8
Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8
Zeiss Distagon 15mm f/2.8
Zeiss Distagon 21mm f/2.8
The Lenses… for Aerials
ZEISS Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2
The lens most often affixed to my camera is the 24-70mm. I upgraded last year to the ED VR version and I LOVE THIS LENS! It is fantastic for landscapes… it’s sharp and versatile and it’s always the lens I start out with. But at some point, it can be just that little bit too narrow or that little bit too short, which is why I also have the Zeiss 21mm with me (just that little bit wider) and the Nikkor 70-200mm (just that extra bit longer).
⚡️ Related: Best Nikon Lenses for Landscape Photography
The 15mm is FANTASTIC for astrophotography and for when the sky is going nuts and you want to get everything in – for example, when there’s an Aurora overhead! It’s very heavy but there have been many times when it’s absolutely the only lens that can do the job. The huge benefit of the 15mm and the 21mm prime lenses are for night photography, when Infinity = Infinity.
This can’t be overstated. I don’t need to find a focus point. I just set it to infinity and know that for an exposure of less than 25secs, my stars will be sharp!!
I really only use the 100mm and the 50mm for aerials. And mostly it’s the 100mm because I like abstract aerials and the 100mm gets in closer and makes the landforms appear more abstract.
The 50mm is an old film lens but it is very sharp and I always have it on my second body when I fly. Again – it’s a huge consideration that I can focus on infinity with these prime lenses and know that as long as I don’t get too low to the ground, I won’t need to change my focus at all.
Manfrotto 055 carbon fibre 4-section tripod. This tripod gets a real bashing: it’s solid and reliable, even in the wind. I love the quick-release legs and the central unit that pops out and goes horizontal, allowing you to shoot long exposures even at ground level (if you flip the camera upside down).
I use the NiSi 100mm filter system. I rarely take the polariser off my lenses, except when there are blue skies. I have a 77mm adapter ring permanently on the 70-200 so it’s very easy to switch the polariser from the 24-70mm to the 70-200mm to the 21mm. I also regularly use the 6-stop ND filter to smooth out water (both for reflections and for waterfalls), and the NiSi system makes it really easy to put it on and take it off while I’m working.
I also have the 10-stop and the 15-stop ND filters, but I don’t get to use them a lot. I have been hoping for a bit of time to do some more creative work with longer exposures.
The other stuff I never leave at home
Lens cloths, multiple OP/TECH USA hood hats, SD cards, CF cards, remote release (usually stays connected to the D810 because it’s almost always low light when I’m shooting!), Giottos Rocket Air Blower, spare camera batteries, head torch, band-aids, tissues, silica gel sachets, spare AA batteries and camera rain jackets
The stuff I always leave in my car… just in case
Sunglasses, waders, moon boots, reef shoes, gloves, beanie and winter jacket.
You just never know when they might come in handy!!
One more thing…
It would be remiss of me not to mention that I literally just purchased the Nikon Z7 and the 14-30mm f/4 lens and the FTZ adaptor. But it would be wrong of me to say anything about them because this photo of my gear is LITERALLY the first photo I’ve taken with it!!