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The Art of Wildlife Photography

Lesson 4 of 24

Tom's Gear Bag


The Art of Wildlife Photography

Lesson 4 of 24

Tom's Gear Bag


Lesson Info

Tom's Gear Bag

yeah I said it first um section that I start off with a pretty small kit you know context camera single lens reflex on a fifty millimeter lens and then about the four hundred vidar uh oh not auto focus and then about a three hundred and one o five etcetera but basically it was my kid for like ten years so first of all I want to make sure that nobody is intimidated by having to have all of this high end high price uh camera equipment sorry not gone um I did change a nikon um after about the pin tex um we had the pentax with your four years of war the gearing and it was one hundred fifteen dollars to fix what I could buy a nightgown for three hundred or something so I switched and I've been with it ever sent there a lot of good cameras obviously it's cannon like and then text like a you know a lot of great cameras you don't have to have uh a lot of equipment you don't have to have a certain brand but this is what I used um and what I use now like people say what camera should I buy and i...

t's hard for me to say because it depends on your budget depends on what you were interested in we'll see are you interest in birds and mammals you interested macro you do this on a weekend you do it you know you want to make a living at it to run a full time and are you a doctor or lawyer or trust me they're doctors lawyers have a lot more equipment than I do so I and I'm on the least technical person maybe in this room so I don't have a lot of gadgets but I'll start with what I have here and since I do this for a living do try to get you know what serves me best and I tend to upgrade every few years when nighttime comes up with a new camera lens stuff but I'm not a gear fanatic I don't read your magazines and read for the district bee I don't read more magazines period about gear because it just makes me crazy so I do with what works for me and I talked to a few buddies and they say well this is what I use and these guys they're real gear freak so I said I don't need to read about I'll just get one when you can afford it so today let's start of the cameras by use the d for s which is the latest high in nightgown again I can't talk with can't about canada's two too many numbers and since I don't use that I would just confuse people but certainly a lot of my friends use cannon and the comparable um can and I'm sure but this this is my go to camera it's a bit heavy but I like heavy cameras because there steady and so I usually have three three dif uh d for us as a couple d force I have never sold a comer maybe once or twice in my life given to my nephews so uh don't grate up necessarily but my nephews were happy to get my old cameras and then I have a d eight hundred just we'll also take a motor drive for faster frames um this I used form or landscapes and slow moving animal say or when I'm not shooting uh rapid mode the streets eleven frames a second this is five or sixty billion with the batteries on the bottom or not so thirty six sixteen um in the buff furnace is like ninety eight frames so it's really great to have ninety from shooting you know cheetah chasing a gazelle or a bear chasing a squirrel or whatever um depends on what kind of trip I gotta go on a trip in yellowstone or two thousand I have my car have a land cruiser and I can carry everything with me and it's all in the back of the car and it's their most of time uh but now I have to take it off because they said that but anyway um so when it depends on the trip but if I'm if I'm hiking walking maybe take the eighty two four hundred that's a lightweight lens um but if I'm going on a big trip I'll take that two to four hundred and eighty two for uh this would be quick easy to handhold it has two hundred and eighty millimetres so it's a very handy very sharp uh not as expensive as the two to four hundred um this is the widest I use fourteen to twenty four I don't use a lot but I use it sometimes other people use it more than I do I don't think why does much of the truth telephoto and I just got this lens it's a twenty four to one twenty did have a twenty four to seventy twenty seventy and there's twenty four to one twenties really super lance and then I take a one seven in a one four especially for the two to four hundred I don't find it all that they work on eighty two four hundred this one I don't find him sharp maybe the maybe they are but that's what's great about the two to four hundred with extenders in the same way with the six hundred is my go to bird lands and I find that the one for and one seven under six hundred is great a lot of people think extenders compromise the lens I never found that I think it's the operator air usually not try potting it heavy enough and shooting behind upsetter speeds or cabe releases I've never had a two x on that six hundred I don't think it's quite there yet for water reason sorry not gone again but there were going to work on that I think I will always have a vest this is my old vest I think it might have been smaller one about this vest but you can put a lot of stuff in the secret I'm not gonna do that I used to put the extenders in my pocket put extra uh batteries but extra uh cards memory cards in this bag you know usually had had the gear enough gear in here like the basic basic it would be the agent of four hundred and twenty four to one twenty and two extenders is about to carry on the plane and in here I have uh cards uh and it's nice to always have a headlamp for whatever you know cleaning clause and clean fluid extra batteries all that goes in one little bag so I know where to get it that's a green and yellow bag and have abused a bigger pair of binoculars for for most things but a phone traveling light just use a small pair these air celesta ron but there's a brazilian night gone and and somebody gave me these that's their free that was good um nikon attention um and so you always have to have binoculars I think that's really handy thing a little duct tape always have duct tape superglue you never know what happens couple extra screws in there a little tool kit but different sizes of there's always things right lou especially when you travel a lot of boats and planes and cars so there's always a way screws that need to be tightened down extra places the tripod and there's more plates in there another little screwdriver the microphone for the nikon onboard this is a really important if you're shooting people or our sounds it's it's a better microphone and what's on the camera for doing you know higher quality more professional uh sound um there's a luke looking in the back of the parramatta is a lot but what's a while to check sharpness for your monitor um blower brush for your sensor rain covers for your lenses these right they don't weigh anything so you can always put a couple of any long time so I just put it in the side pockets beanbag just take almost everywhere in my car course it's filled with beans but if you wanted to if you traveling to africa something dumped the beans out get african go to the village and um fill it up with beans there and then you can give it to the driver whoever who would love to have beans for dinner and there's a number of these systems fits over the window and uh I found this really great because it has a flat top on the beans fit here and here and you could get lighter things you could put rice and beans it comes with our stuff that uh a little bit lighter weight so that's handy stomach you're always have hand warmers for like jackson hole and somebody else about filters only use one filter and it's a circular polarizer so I always take they don't use it very often but well we're going talk about that too later onda neutral density graduated filter uh case you you're right sonny situation where you want to slow down the so more than say one hundred or fifty whichever your camera might do and you still need it slower you wantto you know a thirty second explored her one minute exposure you can put this on it's graduated down to eight so it darkens everything and you could shoot really slow shutter speeds for things like water creeks waterfalls so that's handy um sand and here's another little kid has a gps unit which is really great if you're traveling if it's on the top of the nighttime and each of these images will have the location where you took the picture so you could remember if you're in africa or brazil this will tell you and you can look that up and it's really great um cable elise this is a make a number of kid release of course but with long lenses and extenders really um important and um so use that a lot and also found us this little gizmo here is made by velo and it uh has a little screw this in to the side of the camera the lantana and this has a remote button and this somewhat in some ways is better than this because you don't have a lot of crapping hang down cable and swinging in the wind and stuff like that so uh this is really handy and good for like five hundred feet three hundred feet some quite long distance so you're doing some remote stuff this is a good way to do it not only is it like you know six feet or nine feet so coarse you can't get very far so that's uh pretty much of course you have linds claws and things and uh small um things in the bag but that's sort of my basic kit and I were just going to take you know go off for the day if I had to live with the way I would take on a plane is this land's twenty four to seventy and one point four extender and the deforest and if I get to africa and everything else gets lost uh that's a problem but I could live with it and taken a ticket battery charge of course a couple of hard drives down low things in the computer and there's a lot of gear computer here we haven't talked about uh what we take horrible hard drives to back up all the images in the field and usually soon my assistant does all that and when we come home so we have two hard drives uh they're backed up she'll take two I'll take two so if you don't have a shot haven't had to um download the cars should take the cards that were still full uh with us we have basically three backups and so she gets lost in the woods I still have him and somebody steals my bag she still has him were like for me to get lost in there with her so that's kind of the basics of equipment and um but again if you're just starting you know there's a lot of uh consumer models of nikon and cannons and men tax and everybody else that basically take the same images I think night guns real heavy I'm real hard and cameras dropping all the time so I tend to you know um quality so they're tough like that and I'm used to him and I I haven't read the manual and this one and I haven't read the manual and this one because I'm not a manual guy if I have to find something I'll look it up but I can go from what's good for me for about night guys I can go from the d for the d three the d to the d want and I can use a camera you know and then I can later find out what the menu means so that's the beauty of that and pretty much the lands is also they don't get obsolete with with nightgowns not again I can't speak for the other manufacturers and they probably are pretty well pretty good that way to sew any questions about tom we have plenty of questions this is great thank you for going through all of this we have a lot of applications here to be one of your nephews s so if we can set up a way to do that great biggest question that came in tom high and a few other people also wanted to know notice on the gear pdf what tripod do you I knew that was going to be with you um I use the sackler for the most part um it's a heavier tripod since I I told you about to do a lot a lot of cemetery for used to more video um and I got stuck with a fluid head bullhead and it's heavy and it's it's ah but I have actually six models of sakhalin from over the years the use of carbon fiber legs um and they're really smooth there snap plate very quick and they have to do it kind of like sort of snap likes like this you could just pull him down you don't have to fool with uh a lot of rings and turning him down like that I don't use gets those for a while but before she drove me crazy so um mon photo has a similar system for a lighter weight tripod in the field and it has also those kind of snap plague uh just not used to a lot of guys were really good with unscrewing stuff I like really quick set up and the ball head you khun b you know you don't have to have it perfect you could be on the side hill and you can adjust the ball head you could be quite a ways off a level with your legs but you can fix it with the bull head and it's fluid head it's for motion picture so you could follow follow anything running or flying and keep it in the frame and again there's a people swear by wimberly heads and sidekicks and kirk's although I'm sure they're great and I just you know I just got stuck mother's guys get stuck with something and so that's what he was the sackler perfect and they've never given me a tripod so get it in the video from brazil you were in the boat shooting with a tripod one of the users and two other people are using a tilt head to change your angle there is that same losing anything different no that was a secular head and then ahead also had a model pot for like head to six hundred sackler and amount of pot on like the tutu for whatever shortland so shall I could hold that we'll move that around in course that had a little ball head on up but pretty much it's which is the way to stabilize it switch back to others what about the camera bag itself that's a low pro bag and of use them for a long time too and I am a spokesperson for little pros um so we'll say that uh but I do find it works well and um again there's girl gear and there's a lot of other bags and uh that um work as well I'm sure um I've got a whole room full of bags I mean I might be able to sell some of those to you guys but you know I find I find their in it what I do is with these bags and do we have that slide they're okay so here's what I used to do okay to make myself super crazy this is a six hundred five hundred four hundred okay now that's a nikon now replaced the five hundred four hundred with a tutto four hundred okay or in a pinch to eighty two four hundred so those two lenses they're gone this is the panoramic camera which I had three of with three lenses four lenses ninety one o five one eighteen in three hundred so no I'm not shooting panoramic anymore so now every place took that away take these away this is a pentax six forty five um is this this is a three hundred and that's a six hundred pym tech six forty five and then I had a uh sixty five and in eighty five and and zoom thirty five to sixty five or something here uh so that was all pantech six forty five and I wanted to get the best image possible have bigger you know um medium format so when I was doing landscapes would would use one of these meeting formats or just the landscape camera the panoramic because one of the best image to make large prints but of course that's a heck of a lot of gear carrie and I always took a really tough assistant and so I've eliminated a lot of that now because of the mega pixels of most cameras most higher in cameras or you know thirty to sixteen twelve even twenty four so the mega pixels in the sharpness is that good as they say the six forty five pentax okay in my opinion some people might argue that but I don't think so uh and you know this seven sixteen still a great camera for certain thing but I rarely use it because it's too much is too difficult to carry three cameras too much stuff getting filmed through x ray machines and all that foreign countries is is difficult so I've eliminated a lot of that but that used to be like you can see that look on my face like jesus so here's the list and when my assistant comes to me so we're gonna go this is what we did we went to patagonia in two thousand fourteen and this is the story of our master listen it's okay what you want to take on this trip and I'll mark off so that's a six hundred and four hundred and eighty two four hundred seventy two two hundred twenty eight seventy blah blah uh and so mark all those off and then we'll put him in different cases and um that's what it looks like way do is put it in these pelican cases we put that pack or a bigger when we have a bigger backpack which will carry the six hundred inside the pelican cases and we will ship those cases we always have one of these two small about backpacks with us but the bigger backpacks or one of the smaller ones would go into the pelican case and we shipped those uh on the plane some people fat axum and things like that I've done that once or twice but that we have never had any issues you know the pelican cases have foam on them these low pro bags one thing they're really well padded so we stick him in there and then when we get to ever going we ditch these big plastic cases in the hotel room or at the camp and then we just have backpacks which fit really easily and land rover santo about africa but same thing and alaska when we just had that these this is a trip you just went to alaska the summer to photograph fall to photograph bears and we use these rubberized is made by patagonia they're you know waterproof and we put all our down uh gear in there dan coats and things and then these they're basically clothes bags in our carry on and in our carrion we'll also have a lens or two in these really bags and top that off oftentimes they can put this on you know top of the wheelie bag airlines are too keen on net is a bigger than a person but that sort of this this a tri pi case it's a hard tripod case against two tripods in here when heavier one one lighter one and then once we get to where we're going we did that plastic case until we come back so uh but this is a great way to to send your stuff and they're bombproof and so far have head lens hood uh band wants and pretty much all the years always gotten there okay so um and this is kind of what it looks like when we're we're reorganizing or returning e you know I could see how fast it is you do that in two hours

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Learn wildlife and outdoor photography from one of the most prolific nature photographers of our time in The Art of Wildlife Photography with Tom Mangelsen.

Drawing lessons from his 40 years of observing and photographing the Earth's last great wild places, Tom will discuss the complex process behind his breathtaking wildlife photographs. You’ll learn:

  • What it takes to be a great wildlife photographer
  • How to capture wildlife in their natural environment
  • The best places to find animals
  • How to increase the visibility of your work
  • The importance of respecting wildlife and wildlife ethics

Tom will cover the basics of gear and scouting and teach you how to think about lighting when capturing animals in the wild. Tom will also offer a critique images and portfolios submitted by viewers.

If you have a passion for outdoor photography and want to capture the spirit of wildlife in your camera, join Tom Mangelsen for this inspiring and educational class.


a Creativelive Student

There is probably just one word that comes closest to describing Tom Mangelsen’s photography. Glorious. There are other good words too, of course. And they are also inadequate. Mangelsen’s panoramas are (cumulatively and separately (any one of them)) the best I’ve seen. Mangelsen teaches by example and his examples are exemplary. I’ve seen several photographers giving courses on CreativeLive lately many of whose photos I would love to have taken - but with Mangelsen I envy his possession not just of his photos but of their subjects too. And he does possess his subjects in ways many outstanding photographers fail to - possesses them and then leaves them to continue on with their lives. There are other reasons I’m grateful for this course too - his field trips and critiques have shown me (as with other CreativeLive courses) just how lazy I’m being with my work. And if his critiques aren’t motivation enough I only have to view his slide show ‘Last Great Wild Places’ for more inspiration. The photos in this series are revelations all on their own - even without commentary. Thank you CreativeLive for continuing to bring us the finest wildlife and nature photographers at work today - and thank you to photographers like Tom Mangelsen for giving us a look at the way they work.


I could not stop watching this class and set aside time each day until I finished it. I guess you could saw that I binge watched it. Then I was really sad when it was finished! Like a good movie that stays with you and that you don't want to end! This is a wonderful class and the best I have taken at CreativeLive. I learned so much and have a great fondness for Tom Mangelsen. He really knows how to pull you into his passion. I am so grateful to have taken this course and grateful to Tom for all that he has done in his career to further his craft and to share it. I am inspired! If you are going to purchase and course from CreativeLive, this is one to be sure to take!!! Thank you again.

Dub Maitland

Excellent class! An incredibly talented photographer who has a vast knowledge of the subject matter as well as an outstanding ability to deliver the information. It was as enjoyable as it was informative. I first saw Tom's work in an office in Denver in 1991 and have been inspired by him ever since. Thank you Creative Live, for giving us the opportunity to spend this time with the Master! And thank you Tom for your willingness to share your talent with us! Dub Maitland, Missoula, MT.