The Necessary Equipment

As some of you might know by now, my Dad, my brother and myself are all going to South Africa this next month. Dad is teaching a safari at Sabi Sand Game Preserve by means of Images in Africa, while Brent and I are going to be working on a number of different projects, including some humanitarian work. All of this was made possible by Red Rover Ventures who not only believe in helping others but also what the power of photography can achieve. You can see the results of our first project with Dr. Ross and Red Rover here.

Prepping for this trip has been a logistical challenge as we were provided the opportunity only 2 days before we all went to Photoshop World Vegas. Since then we have been scrambling getting everything lined up that we needed to have done. With a trip of a life time like this you really don’t want to miss anything. This week I’ll be talking about some of the gear challenges for the three week trip I will be going on to South Africa. First off is not only the most obvious for a photographer but also the one that everyone seems to like hearing about, the Camera Gear.

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Now I have been very fortunate to have a lot of equipment handed down to me over the years with small investments of my own being made here and there. Well my brother came into the business a little bit late but has made a big impact already. Needless to say he doesn’t quite have all those gear perks that I do. However, thanks to Nikon Professional Services, or NPS, in which I’m honored to be a member, I got some loaner gear to cover both of us and I got to tell you they have been absolutely AMAZING about the whole thing!

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I wasn’t really sure if we were going to be able to get anything at first for three reasons: one, it was a real late notice at the beginning of September to pull everything that I needed, two, it was a lot longer time period then the usual consignment time allotment and finally, it was a large consignment in which I requested a D4s, D810, 200-400 VRII, 70-200 VRII and 16-35 f/4 VR. Well knowing that my brother and I were going on this trip to work on a humanitarian project, Nikon was able to pull some strings in the warehouse to get us what we needed for the time that we needed it.

Now keep in mind that when NPS sends out gear they don’t just mail you a box, no no, it’s sent with extreme care, well packaged with every basic accessory you need, as you can see above. All this for multiple video projects and still photography. Thankfully with some help from the nice people who work at NPS and some very basic trading of services, the gear is already in hand and ready for the trip. Now I’m not sure how much I’ll be blogging while I’m there but rest assured that afterward I will be posting blogs showing the use of the equipment.

Prepping for next season

It maybe a little early to start getting ready for the Spring but in this business getting ahead of the game is important. In the winter months shooting definitely slows down a little bit which is great to catch up on images and to get ready for the next season. Going through equipment is a great place to start. All those little notes you made about what worked where and when makes it easier to figure out what is needed and what’s ready to be updated.

200-400AF-SVR

One of the prime lenses in my bag is the 200-400 VR. It’s the perfect lens for both wildlife work and planes but just like any other piece of equipment it requires maintenance and cleaning every now and again. What better time to do that then when things are slow. It may seem a like a little thing but often times it’s those little things that make all the difference.

vulture strap

Now’s also a good time to try out new products that didn’t work well this past airshow season. One critical piece of gear that you need to be happy with is, the strap. Everyone needs a comfortable, reliable, lightweight yet strong, camera strap. There are hundreds of different ones on the market and it comes down to which one fits your style. For me it’s a combination of the Sunsniper strap and Vulture strap. Both have their uses, Sunsiper for the 200-400 and Vulture for the camera and small lens. It’s my system and it works.

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In the end you got to come up with your own system and time that so it fits your shooting schedule. Prep work is essential to get those great shots.

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