What's In My Bag?

First off: Click HERE


What's in the bag!? I actually have several bags so you will never see me carry every lens and piece of gear I own at once, but I'll show you the lenses, cameras, and tripod I use.

Tripod: 3 Legged Thing - Dave 

I honestly love this tripod. They are a mid-cost brand that's an incredible value when priced against the competition. I've been belligerently terrible to this tripod and it just keeps going along like I've never dropped, kicked, smashed, or accidentally thrown it about. Works perfect and the head can hold more than 20 lbs., easy. It also is a 4 section tripod so I get the height and the compact package all in one. Oh, and it turns into a monopod, too. 

Camera Bodies: Canon 5D Mark III, 6D, 7D Mark II

I'm a Canon guy (honestly not because of their bodies) and I use some of Canon's higher end equipment. Currently, I'm using the 5D Mark III as my main full frame body. The AF is great and it's built like a tank which matters to me. I'm pretty hard on my gear not because I don't care about it but because I drop stuff. I'm a klutz and I prefer my tools being able to take me having an accident or three. I also go to places that aren't the best for cameras where salt spray and sand may effect lesser cameras. I use the Canon 6D for most of my astrophotography work. I really love this baby brother of the 5D3. It is better than the 5D3 at high ISO and is lighter which is always a plus when traveling. The center AF point is better than the 5D3. Lastly, I also own the 7D Mark II. It's an incredible camera and has the AF of the top of the line 1DX at a fraction of the cost. The 7D2 is a crop sensor camera that produces some great images and Canon made the sensor a good stop better than the previous generation. I love this camera for shooting wildlife with it's 1.6x crop, and it's pretty darn good for astrophotography. The thing people don't realize about the camera is it's really good for video and the face recognition auto AF is really, really good!! Okay, maybe I like the bodies.

Lenses: Canon Zooms EF 8-15 f/4L, EF 24-105 f/4L IS, EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS II, EF 1.4x III Teleconverter

What can I say about Canon glass. It's amazing and is still within the average person's reach price wise compared to other top of the line lenses. The 8-15L is a great fisheye that I can use on a full frame or crop sensor camera. Canon really created a great lens when they developed that optic. It's also weather resistant which matters. The 24-105L is the kit lens that comes with Canon's semi-professional bodies and it's a great piece of glass. Many people give it a bad rap because it's not the best lens there is at any specific thing, but it's really good for a lot of different scenarios. It's not only incredibly sharp when stopped down, but is also a macro lens as well. I've taken some of my favorite landscapes with that lens, and the only people I hear ever fault it are those who want a f/2.8 or faster lens for every piece of glass they own. When I'm traveling, a 2.8 zoom is an anvil in a bag and isn't needed, because I'll take a better tool for the job and still be lighter with the extra lens. The other people just need a f/2.8 because they feel all warm and fuzzy inside when they pick it up even if the best way to shoot your subject is at f/8... not wide open all the time. Speaking of fast zooms, the Canon 70-200L IS II is a fantastically sharp lens that weighs enough to give me a workout every time I use it. If I didn't shoot weddings and portraits, I probably would get rid of it though. The compression is great and the lens is Canon's sharpest zoom but other lenses do better except in fast paced, low light environments where you need to get closer to your subject but aren't allowed to. I believe in having the best tool for the job, especially if you're getting paid for it, and it's the best tool for very specific scenarios. The 100-400L IS II is the new kid on the block and I love the lens. It's my favorite zoom and I actually hated my previous telephoto because I never used it. I use this lens as much as I can now and the compression and sharpness is nearly prime level. If I add the 1.4x III and the 7D2, you have a hand holdable telephoto lens that has an equivalent focal length of 896mm AND still has auto focus! For a wildlife photographer that doesn't have 10k for a 400 or 600 prime, it's the best bang for the buck and won't break your back carrying it. All of Canon's zooms listed here are sealed and weather resistant with a front filter attached. If you don't like filters, we can't be friends. I'm kidding... kinda. I have filters on the front of most of my lenses because I'm usually shooting in rain, sand, salt, or booze filled areas and it keeps that stuff out of my lens. (A weather sealed lens isn't officially weather resistant until the filter is on and mounted on the camera.) Filters also make me not care about lens caps. I just drop the glass back into my bag and if I need to clean the lens I wipe the filter off on whatever and keep shooting. When I want to sell the lens, I still get top dollar because everyone is crazy about scratches on the front element, even if it doesn't effect the image quality. I do purchase top level filters from Hoya, because they are incredibly tough and scratch resistant and I see zero image compromises when using them. 

Lenses: Canon Primes EF 24 f/1.4L II, EF 50 f/1.2L, EF 85 f/1.2L II

The reason why I chose the Canon system in the first place was because of their glass. 1.2 optics make my inner fan boy geek out, and these lenses let me shoot the majority of some of the most amazing and stressful jobs I have; weddings. The 24L II is the lens that is always on my 2nd camera. It sits and waits for the perfect moment and then it strikes to create amazing images. I use the lens to establish the scene for a wedding album or to give more awe and excitement while showcasing the subject in the scene. I love grandiose chapels where the architecture adds to the couple during their vows. The other great thing about a 24mm lens is that you can crop a little and it's now a 35mm lens. People complain about distortion with the width of the lens so just keep people in the center of the frame. Also, what if you want to maximize your DOF with a group portrait in a tight area? The 24L II to the rescue, put them in the middle and even at f/2 most eyes will be tack sharp. The 50L is probably the most underrated lens behind the 24-105L. It's because of two things: people have an issue with the focus of the lens which I've never seen. These same people usually don't understand aperture and the relationship with Depth Of Field that it has and expect f/1.2 to be tack sharp because it's an L series lens. What this person doesn't understand is the point in the image where the focus is sharp is so small that they can't find it. Focus on an eyelash wide open and that is the only part of the subjects body that's sharp... and its only 3 eyelashes. This lens can create the most ethereal images and is the lens I could shoot nearly an entire wedding with. It sits right in that perfect spot where it's not wide but not telephoto and doesn't distort people or faces much. It feels just right in so many scenarios and you can shoot the darkest receptions with it if need be. Lastly, the cannon ball, aka the 85L II is for many a dream lens. It has the reputation of being the premier portrait lens that has auto focus, and that reputation is well earned. You just can't get the same look in images that you can with the 85L II. People turn 3D on your monitor and in print with this lens. Backgrounds melt away and people simply pop with the separation the lens can create. It can be slow to focus, but that depends on who you are shooting and with what camera. The reason I bought a 5D3 was because of this lens. I wanted to get sharp focus away from the center of the frame and when shooting at a wide aperture, you need accurate AF points. Focus and recompose just won't work with this lens unless it's stopped down, and what's the fun in that? Really, if you want a certain look, shooting wide open or close to it will help create that dreamy portrait with the 85L II.

Non-Canon Lenses: Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX II, Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC, Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 AS UMC, Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 AS UMC

I'll keep this short and sweet, I love Rokinon lenses. Okay, done... Maybe I'll expand a little bit on the Rokinons and the Tokina. First off the Tokina lens is awesome for astro images with the 7D Mark II and with the built in intervalometer, this is my go to set up for creating time-lapses. The Tokina 11-16 is also a constant f/2.8 and is super sharp, I may add. The Rokinon lenses are better than any of my Canon lenses when it comes to coma. Coma is when a pin point of light doesn't look like a pin point. It usually elongates and this gets worse as you go towards the corners of the image. The 14, 24, and 35mm Rokinon primes have this very well controlled due to an aspherical element included in their construction. What this means is that you get a really sharp, better than L series performing lens, for a fraction of the cost. Pay less money and get a really sharp and better looking image, H-E double hockey sticks YA! The only down side is that they are full manual lenses so that's why they are great for night photography but not so good for events and weddings. Specifically, the Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 is my favorite of the three. I can create single images that are really clean because of the wider aperture, I can still get a really wide image using a panorama technique that you create in post, and it's in that perfect spot for a landscape lens. I really like Rokinon lenses for regular daytime landscapes as well. They are seriously sharp!

Flashes: Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite, Canon ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter

I have four of the 600s and two transmitters. I always have redundancy for big jobs... and weddings are pretty big. They are really easy to set up and help me get light on my subjects quickly all while being able to take a drop or two or three. Did I mention I'm a klutz and I drop things. They live up to the quality that Canon produces and I've had zero problems with them. 

Extras: Lee Filter System

I have a large assortment of Lee Filters from their Little Stopper and Big Stopper all the way through several Hard and Soft Graduated Neutral Density Filters, regular ND filters and their 105mm Landscape Polarizer. If you want quality filters, smooth water, and long exposures pick up the Lee system. It's pretty darn good. 

How do I hold this stuff: Black Rapid Strap Sport, Double Black Rapid Strap

Black Rapid makes some good things that hold cameras. They are way better than the strap that came with your camera. Give them a shot if you're sick of having a perpetual neck ache.

That's it! I'll be doing a post about what bags I use to hold all this stuff soon. If you want to learn about gear, photography, landscapes, astrophotography, and photographer education just subscribe below. If you got through everything, thanks for reading!!