I first pursued photography as a hobby in 2012. We had a Canon 550D at home with some kit lenses which I began experimenting with. My immediate passion was for landscape photography and I soon discovered that to capture the shots I had envisioned, I was going to need to invest in some equipment.
Over the course of almost two years, my kit has grown quite a bit. However, most of my upgrades and purchases have only come after I felt I had exhausted the limits of my current equipment. The following is all that I have with me at the moment and use on a regular basis.
Being a lover of long exposure photography, a solid tripod is one of the most important things I carry. For this reason, my tripod lives in my car so it is always with me. I have gone through a few tripods over time as the seawater and sand take its toll but my current one is a Vanguard with ball head.
After using the Canon 550D for a while I eventually jumped to full frame and began using the Canon 5D MKII. This camera served me well over the course of about 12 months but it has now taken the back seat as I have recently purchased the Sony a7r to be my main body. One downfall I had with the MKII was its poor dynamic range and shadow banding. I considered eventually upgrading to the MKIII but given the price tag and the age of the camera, I didn’t think it was wise. I waited to see if Canon was going to do anything to rival the Nikon D800 but nothing prevailed. Once I saw the specs of the Sony a7r and knowing I could use my Canon glass on it, it was a no brainer to jump ship.
It took me about two morning sessions to get use to using Sony’s interface and button layout. I can say that I am really loving the results I am getting from the camera. The dynamic range and resolution are significantly better than what I was used to with the MKII. The electronic viewfinder is very clear and fast and the camera performs well in low light. In order to use my Canon lenses, I use the Metabones MKIII Canon to Sony Lens Adapter which allows for full automated control of the lens.
I have three lenses that I carry in my bag at all times. The main lens I use happens to be the first lens that I purchased, The Canon 17-40mm f/4. I really like this lens. It suits my style of photography and allows me to get nice and close to my foreground whilst capturing a full sky overhead. The lens is a little old now and not the sharpest on the block but I still really love it and can still get great results from it.
The other lens I carry with me is the Canon 24-70mm f/4 IS. This is my most recent purchase. I borrowed one from a friend when I travelled through Canada and America and I found that for grand landscapes it was my go to lens. I love the versatility of it and perspective distortion is much less than that of a wider lens.
The last lens that usually lives in my camera bag is the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8. I probably use this lens the least but have found many interesting uses for it. It is definitely the sharpest lens I have and despite being a telephoto, it still has many uses in landscape photography. I also enjoy using this lens for the odd portrait or wildlife photo.
Other lenses that I own are the Canon 50mm f/1.8 and Samyang 14mm f/2.8. The nifty fifty is always fun to throw on when I am just taking the odd happy snap or portrait. The Samyang I purchased purely for night photography. Being 14mm and having a wide aperture is perfect for shooting stars and night landscapes. Being aspherical I can’t use filters or polarisers with it so it is not a first choice for day shoots, also the distortion is pretty bad. For the price, the lens is still a great buy.
Other equipment in my bag is some grad filters and a Hoya polariser. My polariser is used whenever I shoot waterfalls as it removes glare and also knocks off two stops of light allowing my exposure to usually be long enough to slow down the water movement. This means I don’t even carry a standard ND filter with me anymore. However, graduated ND’s I always have with me. So many people ask me what brand grads I am using but I actually don’t know the brand I use as they don’t have a name. They were purchased from a Chinese camera store in Sydney and work great. I have used Lee filters and I can confidently say these filters are up there with the best but for only a fraction of the price. They also don’t give a bad colour cast like cheaper brands. In saying that, I avoid using filters when I can because I don’t like putting anything in front of my glass if I don’t have to. The last filter I use is a B+W ten stop ND filter. I love using this filter as it allows for very long exposures and can create some unique results.
Other miscellaneous items in my bag are a cheap IR remote for the Sony to use in bulb mode and a lens cloth. I regularly use a rain jacket for the camera too in order to protect my gear from sea spray and splashes. I also always have a spare SD card in there with me. Last but not least is a notepad and pen which I use to write down any thoughts or feelings I get when out shooting on location. My next purchase will be a spare battery for the camera and then I will start looking at shifting from Canon glass and going to Zeiss.