In the spring of 2006, I purchased the Canon 5d just before a trip to Morocco. I never expected to use it, I was shooting with my Wisner View Camera. It was my 1st day in Casablanca, Morocco and Strabo Tours had obtained a signed letter which took months to obtain. That letter was from the King of Morocco who granted us permission to use tripods inside the Hassan II mosque.
We arrived at the entrance and confidently handed that letter to the guard at the entrance. He took the letter, looked up at us and announced: “King changed his mind.” We were horrified! We had to leave view cameras and tripods outside. All I had was my Canon 5d and one lens; the 24-105L zoom with image stabilization.
We were all upset and angry but never-the-less, in we went with our inferior “digital” cameras anyway. With no tripod I had to raise the ISO to 1250 and to me that was just crazy, hand holding every exposure. We left disappointed and I didn’t check the image files until I returned home.
Then it happened. OMG is all I can say! The results were A M A Z I N G and after inspecting the files I realized that the days of film have come to an end. I put all my film gear on eBay and I never looked back. As my equipment and my photographic style evolved, I finally found my true north. It turns out it’s not how much gear you have it’s how to make what you have created the best images possible…
As I’ve grown older I also want my gear to weigh less. Yes, weight is now critical to my enjoyment of my craft. But I will not sacrifice quality or compromise my vision. And with that in mind I am slowly moving to higher quality but lighter and more compact gear.
Now, I’ve left Canon gear behind and completely moved to the Sony full frame platform. The difference in image quality was shocking. With the Sony A7rII, I can take photos in near darkness at insane ISOs and get amazingly incredible images. If you check out my NY images, all were shot hand-held at ISO 6,400.
The Camera Bag Paradox
I promised to show you what’s in my camera bag and I will, but first let’s talk about camera bags.
I don’t like them, I prefer not to have one.
I travel with a LowePro rolling bag with my all my equipment safely stored for overhead compartments in planes. Fits perfectly in even the smaller 50 passenger prop planes. I pack my camera bag in my packed luggage. All I roll through airports is my Rolling bag and my briefcase.
I’ve moved on to the Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag and Camera Straps from the same company.
In 2013, on a trip to New Zealand, I met fellow photographer Fred Kurtz who had a belt system. He proclaimed it’s advantages over a bag and he said; “I don’t even feel as if I am carrying anything!” So I decided to try it myself.
I was amazed, he was right. So I adapted my system to use two LowePro lens holders and a fanny pack. Amazingly with the weight on my waist instead of my shoulder, I could now be out for hours with little fatigue. I did upgrade to a robust Think Tank Belt System when I was still using my Canon gear, but I’ve since left it in favor of the Everyday Messenger Bag.