What's in my Bag?
The first question a photographer gets asked is, "What's in your bag?"
Top-end gear isn't a requirement for making great images. It all depends on what subjects you are trying to shoot, your artistic vision and the photographs you want to make.
Budget shouldn't dictate what you can achieve with your photography. Most of us are not out shooting African wildlife every day, and you can rent the gear you need when you do take that safari - try your local camera store or BorrowLenses.com. Just arm yourself with the camera and lenses you need for your everyday photography. That can be a DSLR, one of the many fine new mirrorless cameras or even a point-and-shoot. Go out and enjoy, and practice your craft.
OK. Now you want me to answer the question: what's in my bag? I've been a Canon shooter since getting my first AE-1 way back when. I've gone through a succession of film and digital Canon bodies and lenses over the years, many of which are now in my personal ""museum."
Currently, I'm working with an EOS 5D Mk II. Most of my work is landscape, nature, gardens and wildlife.
My core lenses are the EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM and EF70-200 f/2.8L IS USM. The latter two are the most commonly used, and by default the 70-200 is attached to the 5D2. The 24-105 is also a fine landscape lens when the distances are shorter or I want a wider view. It's also an everyday lens for around town or events.
I do a lot of macro and flower photography, and I love Canon's EF100mm macro lens. It's tack sharp and gets in close for 1:1 images. When I want to get even closer, I'll use either the EF12 or EF25 extension tubes (or both together for extreme magnification). Another combination I'll often use for flower photography is the EF70-200mm with a 1.4x extender and either of the extension tubes attached. That brings the lens in closer, and creates a very narrow depth-of-field that yields stunningly beautiful, blurred backgrounds.
Wildlife photography requires longer lenses, and I've used Canon's EF100-400mm for years. I don't want to shoot just giant heads and growling teeth, and this lens allows me to pull back to get more environmental shots. Of course, there are times when the 100-400 range isn't long enough. That's when I'll beg or borrow a 500mm or other super telephoto for that shoot.
Two other lenses are in my regular kit. Small, light, sharp and fast, the Canon EF50mm f1.4 is great for low-light uses. I also own and use a Lensbaby. I sort of have to be in the mood, but it's a great way to challenge your creativity when you're getting bored of the usual stuff.
I often carry my Canon Speedlite 580EX II. Mainly, it's used as for flash fill outdoors. My must-have filters include polarizers, variable and standard neutral density filters along with graduated neutral density filters. The rest of my bag is filled with memory cards, extra batteries, a remote switch, intervalometer, and various cleaning tools. (I'm a fanatic for keeping my lenses, sensors and filters clean and free of dust. I don't want to spend my hours in front of the computer removing dust spots.) I also have two Manfrotto carbon fiber tripods.
While I'm a Canon loyalist, I've been testing out some of the new mirrorless cameras from Fujifilm, Olympus and Sony.