Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Equipment please??.....

Back from the Gobi in Mongolia. More about that later. Here below is my dear friend John Bonaccolta, who came along, in one of his many solemn vodka-imbued moments, thinking on how the rising Moon is so magnetically attracted to the Earth... mmmmm....

Ok Tech Geeks... I get asked often: what material do you use? Frankly I don't think it's that important. Some of my favorite images were shot with a small Nikon F3. I get much more excited talking about the psychological approach necessary for taking a good picture. But here we go: I will go from latest to earliest (10 years ) gear I used:
- Contax 645 with 2 lens, 35mm and 85. With this, I like to shoot negative film (160 + 400 ASA). It's easy to use, has a waist viewfinder which can be usefull, feels heavy, I like!
- I used slide film for a couple of years at the beginning, but I can't stand the look of it these days (that deep blue skies drives me nuts...). I love the feel and look of negative, and so far haven't been able to achieve this with digital. Maybe one day, I can't wait.
- In general, if I have done some nice pictures (on negative or slide), I scan them on an Imacon 646 virtual drum-scan.  These are the latest versions of that scanner. Great big beast, it looks like Darth Vador sitting on my desk. I love it. I got it in 2004, it was damn expensive... Imacon has been bought out by Hasselblad it seems.
- I have 2 digital cameras, both Canon: the famed 1D MarkII and the famed 5D MarkII. I have 24-70mm lens (2.8), 24mm 2.8 prime lens, longer 105mm lens and a lovely 35mm 1.4. These days, it is my favorite. I am definitely part of the school that says "You are the Zoom!". If you see something you like, get close to it. If you can avoid using one of these big white lenses, much the better...

- I have a bunch of ND filters that I like and a couple of polarizer filter that I don't use anymore these days.
- In the past, and still sometimes today, I use panoramic cameras such as the Hasselblad X-Pan and a funny Russian camera, the Horizon: a swing-lens panoramic camera.
- I also used the Nikon F100 for a while (and the F3 before that), took it on some long lonesome adventures in the Hindukush with the panoramic, was always faithful to me :) . I switched to Canon when it was time to buy digital, because at this time (2005), it was the talk of the town...

What else?
mmmmm, I don't like flash, although I did experiment with ring falsh and it was fun, but the novelty quickly wore off. I usually have a couple of fold-able reflectors with me that I will use occasionally.
I also have a Manfrotto tripod, and I also use it sometimes, but rarely... In general, I always travel very small.
Bags? Well, a good camera bag I think is essential. I have always use the now discontinued Tamrac half moon bag. I even contacted Tamrac to scream at them to keep producing it. In response, they gave me 2 free bags. Thanks Tamrac people.

If going on an expedition, I will take along my mountain Hardwear tent + 800 down sleeping bag, a Therm-A-Rest foam pad, couple of super small Petzl headlights, an MSR stove, Asolo shoes etc. All this fits nicely in my now severally beaten 100 Liters Gregory pack.The Tamrac half moon rests nicely on my belly while I walk up that mountain, my camera easily in reach...

Voila, there would be more to talk about (I should do a section of my good luck charms that I carry around..), but I got scanning to do!

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