PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT

As a full-time pro for over 30 years, the gear I take on assignment depends on what is needed. Contrary to what it might look like, I prefer to work with the minimum amount of equipment.

Being familiar with the gear is most important to me. To that end, I’ve always carried some form of Canon or Leica in my kit. With their cameras and lenses, I don’t have to think. I just do. When Leica discontinued their 35mm SLR “R” film-based system, I switched to autofocus Canon EOS 35mm SLRs.

Around the same time, I also switched from Kodachrome 25 to Fujichrome Velvia 50 slide film. When digital camera image quality evolved to a more than satisfactory level, I transitioned to Canon’s full-frame digital camera bodies and their latest lenses for my editorial and commercial work. I’ve stayed with Canon’s latest offerings since then, along with Leica’s Q and M cameras and lenses.

My Basic Automotive Photography Kit:

Canon 5DS-R body
Canon R5 bodies X 2 with adapters
Canon 16-35mm f/4 IS EF lens
Canon 50mm f/1.4 EF with 250 D close up lens or Canon 24-105mm f/4 IS EF lens
Canon 70-200mm f/4 IS EF II lens
Canon 1.4X Extender, 12mm ext tube
Samsung Galaxy camera phone
ND and polarizing filters

Other Stuff (as needed):
Canon 500mm f/4 IS EF lens
DJI Drones
Ronin Stabilizers
Harness, camera car mounts, walkie talkies, monopod, tripod, cable releases

For flash, the Profoto and Godox portable lighting systems have proven reliable for studio shots and moving subjects outdoors. They work, as long as they are hand carried to a temperate location. All flashes can fail, just like flash cards and external hard drives. The lighting kit also includes C-stands, reflectors and soft boxes. Apple’s latest Macbook Pro and iMac, with Lacie and Samsung external hard drives, are essential on the road or in the studio.

Spare bodies include a Canon 5D Mk IV and two Canon MK IIIs. Spare lenses include a Canon 50mm f/2.5 Macro lens and a Leica 80mm f/1.4 R lens with adapter. My assistants also have access to a dozen extra lenses from 15mm fisheye to 180mm Apo, two stabilizing platforms, and two audio rigs.

Photography equipment is simply a tool. Seeing and having something to say are MUCH more important. That said, I look for gear that is of the highest quality, easy to use, and has characterful rendering.

After the shoot, the used digital cards stay in a secure holder inside a zippered vest pocket on my person. As soon as I return to my hotel, the RAW files are backed up on my computer, Dropbox, and at least one hard drive. All drives are kept in different locations, or one is FedExed home. I love what I do, but I’ve also learned not to assume anything.

P.S. My kit for vacationing and personal work is a digital Leica camera, usually the Leica Q with its 28mm f/1.7 Aspherical lens. This is for pure seeing, shooting slowly and deliberately.