Shanna Baker

Photojournalism, Travel | Last Updated: February 3, 2021

I’m a travel photographer and photojournalist based in Victoria on the west coast of Canada. Aside from the aspiration to create great photography, the two big motivating factors in my life are travel and adventure.

There’s nothing I love more than being out in the world exploring, camera in hand, and translating those experiences into images that will hopefully inspire or inform the viewer. In my travel work, I’m most drawn to bold, colourful, upbeat images.

I bought a Nikon D850 in January 2019 and every time I pick it up it feels like the angels are singing. The quality of the files is unbeatable, and everything about the design just makes perfect sense. I generally travel with a Nikon D800 as a back-up body too.

The photography I do requires reacting quickly to opportunities as I encounter them, so my gear has to be versatile. I love the quality of prime lenses, but I rarely take them on the road, I’d just miss too many shots.

My workhorse lens – the one that’s on my camera body at least 80 percent of the time is the Nikkor 24-120mm f/4. It’s not the sharpest, fastest, or most technically profound lens on the planet, but the focal range is perfect. It allows me to move from a close-up shot to a scene setter to a telephoto image within seconds.

My other favourite is the Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6, which enables me to isolate a subject against a background or to capture a subject from afar. There’s that old trope, “zoom with your feet” but that’s impractical a lot of the time – when shooting from rooftops and sailboats and across traffic, for example!

A dedicated wildlife photographer would want faster glass, but I brought this lens on safari in Kenya last year and it worked beautifully for the types of images I wanted to create.

I also carry a wide angle Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 for those times when I want to get really close and wide. The one prime that I do often toss in my bag is the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 because it’s so small and light plus gives me another good option for shooting wide open.

I bring a tripod and use it when light levels drop if I want to keep the ISO down; my old, beat-up Manfrotto carbon-fibre legs travel with me most of the time.

I generally travel with at least one flash, such as the Nikon Speedlight SB-900.

I bring two LaCie Rugged hard drives with me and back up my images every night. One hard drive stays at the hotel or in my suitcase and the other comes along in my camera bag.

A 10-stop ND filter, a gradient ND filter, and a polarizer live in my camera bag at all times. They don’t get a tonne of use, but I like to have them on hand for the rare occasion that I really need them.

And I ALWAYS have a plastic rain sleeve tucked somewhere in my bag. They’re so simple and cheap but they have saved my gear from countless rainstorms, dust clouds, and even a couple of sandstorms.

Other miscellanea: a flashlight or head lamp for painting with light and finding the path home; a microfibre cloth for wiping away dust, salt water, and sweat; a notebook for jotting down photo ideas or taking contact information from people I meet; a 22-inch LiteDisc reflector. | @shannabaker_photo

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