While I was on a stroll yesterday, trying to find a good spot to make some photos (for the project conceived and talked about in my previous post here), I had a funny ‘accident’.
I had my tripod and camera set up to shoot a lighthouse, and my camera bag next to me.
Many fishermen come to the same spot to fish, so it’s a place where many stray cats come to grab a fish or a treat. So, a black cat sees me and comes towards me meowing and purring, begging for something to eat. Now, I’m a cat person (I’ve got a black cat as a pet too), so I stoop down to pet him. Next thing I know, the bastard sprays all over my bag (he probably caught the scent of my pet)!
I was so frustrated, I almost threw him into the sea! Hopefully nothing vital (like a lens) got sprayed, but I came back home with a stinking mess of a bag…
So here I am, trying to remove cat spray from my bag (vinegar does miracles, or so I’m told), having it emptied completely. And while all my gear is lying around, I thought it was a nice opportunity to show you what I use and carry with me all the time when I’m out making photos.
(Please note; this is not a “oh look what I got” post (after all I’m on a tight budget and my gear is far from optimal), but rather a nice way of documenting what I’ve got and at the same time answering the question I keep getting asked; “What do you use to make these photos?”)
( All of my gear is shot with my mobile phone )
The Nikon D3200.
Entry level body from Nikon. 24MP sensor, affordable, new. What else to say?
The body came with the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR kit lens. It’s cheap, sharp, and does the job. Nikon has announced a more compact version of it, which looks nice (though I don’t think I’m gonna cough up the money to get it)
I immediately bought the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm 1:1.8G DX prime lens. Dirt cheap, excellent image quality, stops down to f/1.8. What more to ask? It does miracles while shooting stars at night, and makes for nice portraits and still life. Super light and compact, it’s my go-to lens when I’m out for street photography.
My most recent purchase is the Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor. I haven’t shot much with it, but it’s amazingly better compared to an old 70-300 Nikkor I had borrowed from a friend. I use it at 85mm to get awesome portraits!
All I’m missing is a wide angle, but I don’t quite see me getting one unless I make the move to the FF format, since they are pretty expensive.
I bought Hoya’s Digital Filter Kit (52mm), a bundle that consisted of a clear UV filter, a circular Polariser, and a NDx8 (a filter that stops light from entering the lens, this one has a 3-stop reduction), all in a nice pouch.
I also got Hoya’s NDx400, a very dark filter that gives you 9-stop light reduction, giving you the freedom for extremely long exposures (like this 11 minute one) ,but I was clumsy enough to drop and break it… whoops!
You can stack those filters too, getting a neat 13-stop reduction!
I have since ordered a replacement for the NDx400, this time I went for the Hoya PRO ND ND1000X, that offers 10-stop reduction! I am really looking forward to try it out!
I trusted the seller on the store I got the camera from on this one. I had no experience and done zero research, so I gambled that purchase a little. If I was to buy a tripod now, I’d go for a ball head Manfrotto. Anyway, the seller’s recommendation was Giotto’s IY-542 Fluid Action tripod, and I’m satisfied with it so far. My only complaint is that the embedded bubble spirit levels are showing if the tripod is level, and not the camera. But once I figured that out, I got a neat accessory to fix the problem.
(It appears that this tripod is old and I can’t find it on the Giotto’s homepage to provide a link…)
I got Nikon’s MC-DC2 Remote Release cord, so I’d be able to release the shutter without touching the camera, so I’d have less vibrations and sharper images.
I have two SD cards, one 16GB and one 8GB, both class10, because I’m shooting RAW and I need the fast write speed.
I also got the Nikon DK-5 eyepiece cap, to cover the eyepiece when I have the camera set up on the tripod in order to prevent light entering the viewfinder from affecting the exposure.
Since my horizons were almost always tilted, and my tripod’s spirits weren’t helping, I got this cheap but wonderful hot-shoe spirit, that helps me getting straight horizons in my compositions.
I also got a protective film for my camera’s LCD screen from Kaiser.
Useful Tip: This is a photo (taken in Parthenon, Athens during one of my visits there last summer) to demonstrate how I carry the tripod wherever I go (also proving that I am indeed a cat person 😛 ), courtesy of my ex-girlfriend;
Passing the tripod under the hand straps, and locking it in place with it’s handle (thus allowing you to grab both the bag and the tripod at the same time), can really free up your hands and allow you to shoot without having to think about where to place the tripod. I don’t know if your bag-tripod combo allows for this, but try it out, works for me!
Thank you for taking the time to read so far! If you want to know further more about why I chose a particular item or want me to give my opinion/review on something on my bag, feel free to ask!
Stay tuned for my next post, as I will publish a version of the photo I made from the lighthouse! At least I didn’t get sprayed for nothing, hehe.
Until next time,