My wife says, “your gear is good to you but you are not good to your gear”. Sadly she is right. I have had a very tumultuous relationship with my gear for years. I have gone from using minimal gear as a newspaper photographer to a ton of gear as a wedding photographer now back to minimal gear. I have been known to be a bit rough on my gear as well. I have almost perfected the perfectly timed foot extension to cushion the fall of a falling lens.
Almost. So when asked to be a part of Shotkit I felt it only appropriate to photograph my gear how it looks before every wedding I shoot, in a pile on the table of our studio. I am not sure why my relationship with my gear is what it is, as I am actually quite anal in other parts of my life.
My pure documentary style of shooting demands I am not overly worried or sensitive about my gear. I could not even tell you where my lens caps are right now. What is most important is capturing fleeting moments and that requires total concentration. So I can’t let a bump on the floor or slap on a door frame slow me down. In the end, getting the photo is what is most important.
My first photo I shot was with my dad’s Canon FTB when I was about 8 or 9 years old and I still shoot Canon to this day. Even though I bring a backpack with me to every wedding, with a few extra lenses as well as a flash or two, what I actually use for each wedding is much more condensed. I prefer to travel as light as possible for the majority of the day. It not only helps me physically but also mentally.
For the majority of a wedding day I am shooting with two cameras and two lenses. My Canon 5D MKIII usually has a Canon 35mm f/1.4 on it and my old school Canon EOS 1D MKII has the Canon 85mm f/1.8 on it. I love that old camera as it is a total workhorse and really handles flash exposure balancing well.
I walk into a wedding with those two cameras and lenses on my shoulders and my memory cards in a wallet on my belt and shoot pretty much like that till the reception where I then use a combo of on-camera and off- camera flash as well as video light to obtain the appropriate look for the mood of the moment.
My main kit I use:
Canon 5D MKIII with a Canon 35mm f/1.4 with Think Tank V2.0 strap
Canon 1 DMKII with an Canon 85mm f/1.8 with Think Thank V2.0 strap
Other lenses I use sparingly throughout the day:
Canon 16-35mm f/2.8- for reception dance floor
Canon 135mm f/2 – during ceremony only and Canon 70-200mm f/2.8. also during ceremony only
Off-camera lighting equipment:
Cheetah Light V850 manual flash with Magmod modifier and wireless transmitter/ receiver set
Phottix Strato II remote flash triggers Sunpack Ready light 20 video light Canon ST-E2- used as a focus assist beam in low light
When I need to carry more than two lenses I use the Think Tank Modular Skin set with pro speed belt usually worn at the reception.
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Thanks Michael! I really appreciate the kind words and love that you were inspired by my Creative Live course! Keep up the good work!
Thanks Bruce! Long time no see. Yes after many years and many people suggesting it I adopted the minimalistic approach. :) 5 or so years later I am now the one preaching it. :) Funny how that works. I just pushed it on a mentor student this morning as a matter of a fact. Hope all is well with you.
Great stuff man. After seeing you on CL you inspired the way I shoot most of my days. Keep being amazing sir!
Tyler and I met many years ago. He’s one great guy. Glad to see he’s finally taken my advice and gone minimalistic. Great wirk. See what I did there?