MY PHOTOGRAPHY KIT ESSENTIALS
Updated: Aug 16, 2019
I often get asked about what gear I use, so I thought I'd give you a look inside my kit at some of the essential items I always take with me when I'm shooting.
Every discipline of photography requires different gear. My day-to-day equipment that lives in my camera bag is pretty basic. All of it has to have a function, otherwise it gets left out. Most of my shooting is in remote areas and often requires a hike to get to, so weight is a big factor... unnecessary and overly heavy equipment becomes a bore! The first and most important thing - aside from the camera - is the bag itself. I've used Lowepro bags for years, they're extremely well made, last a decade and are really comfy when loaded up. The hip belt is hugely important if you want to avoid the chiropractor! The model I use is no longer available but the new version is the Pro Runner 450 AW II.
I've used Fujifilm medium format 6x17 cameras for 20-years. They're very simple in design and (thankfully) very robust - sadly they aren't made anymore and getting parts can be a hassle. I've worn out my original G617 and am well into the lifespan of my GX617 and GX680. I love the Linhof's too but getting parts is harder than Fuji, so I'll stick with what I know!
Since most of my photography is long exposure based (20 seconds to 4 minutes) I need a cable release and the all important timer. The best I've found - and I've used dozens - is a kitchen timer I found via Muji, a homewares store in Tokyo. I bought 4 of them and I'm still only using my first. I use quality filters, Tiffen and Schneider - don't buy cheap junk, they shift your colours. Polarizers, Neutral Density filters from 3 stops to 10 stops and a centre ND filter. Some black foil controls the sun flare, a lens cloth and blower (although my shirt is used more often) help keep the filters clean and I never go out without 3 boxes of either Fujifilm 120 Provia 100F or Velvia 100.
I have numerous Minolta Spot and Incident light meters but for saving space I usually just carry a Sekonic dual meter and spare batteries for it. My tripod head is a Manfrotto 808RC4 paired with Induro Stealth CLT404L lightweight carbon fibre legs.
So that's the basic kit I use for 90% of my shooting. Over the years I have carried polaroid and DSLR cameras for checking my exposures but I know the film so well now that I no longer bother... and they're heavy! Many of the places I shoot are precarious and off-the-beaten-track with no phone reception, so a Sat phone or beacon is a good insurance policy. The last thing I always carry is a good torch, as I'm either walking to or from the location in darkness.