As photographers, we’re all flying a whole lot less, and doing a lot more road trips. I’m curious to know if you’ve changed your camera kit at all?
Lucy, from Virginia
It’s so true! Local is the new exotic, and backyard adventures are the new expeditions. I’ve lived in Tahoe for over 15 years now, and I haven’t had this much time to explore this region until now. What’s been so incredible is to realize how many opportunities for new experiences there are within an hour’s drive from my home.
Some of the adventures over the last year include running alpine ridges in the Desolation Wilderness with Nick Russell, exploring new crags in Nevada with Jonathan Siegrist and Alex Honnold, shooting backyard climbing development with Zach Fletcher, riding sections of the newly developed Lake Trail with Chris McNamara and Alex Honnold, and backcountry skiing, fly-fishing, and snow-biking in Carson Valley, Nevada. I even took a five-day “couple’s trip” up El Capitan with my wife Marina, and two other couples and close friends.
No matter what’s on the day’s agenda, I keep a pretty consistent kit in the front seat of my truck at all times. The 80-20 principle applies to my camera gear. I can get 80 percent of the results and performance that I want with just 20 percent (or less) of the camera gear that I own. With three lenses in a light and fast LowePro sling bag, I’m pretty much prepared at all times to make still photographs or capture video.
My front-seat kit includes a Nikon Z7 II camera body and three lenses: a NIKKOR Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S, a NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S, and a NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S. Like I said, all of this pretty much lives in a LowePro sling bag, and it’s in my truck 24/7—which of course I lock, mostly because of the bears!
I abide by the “open carry” philosophy of camera equipment so that I never miss a moment. This mantra means that I never use, for instance, lens caps because it’s just one more hurdle to cross before you can make pictures. It also means I always leave my camera on, set to Aperture priority. (I’ll often switch to Manual once I know what I’m trying to achieve.)
Similarly, when I’m driving, I keep my camera body sitting on the front seat in case there’s a great picture to be made en route to my destination.
Obviously everyone has different levels of risk tolerance when it comes to their camera equipment. I know a lot of photographers who treat their gear like faberge eggs. I want my camera gear to be an extension of my body—always out, always making pictures. Of course, this means my cameras get beat up and tossed around. When I hit the breaks, my Z7 II sometimes flies off the seat and crashes onto the floor. Fortunately, it’s a pretty rugged camera body and so far it’s stood up to many short stops and swerves to not hit the bears!
Hope this helps, and you come away thinking about new ways to make your camera equipment more available, more out, and more open, so that you are better prepared to capture those fleeting moments.