Choosing the Best Gear for Your Outdoor Project
one thing I want to start with is really starting to think about locations before I even dig into gear. I think it's really important to understand that gear bag and what I bring typically is very, very location dependent, not only location dependent but dependent on a lot of the other creative decisions that need to be made and that are covered is part of my process, my preparation process, research process and all the other things that are covered in those classes in this boot camp. So the gear bag is something that's always evolving. It's always changing. Some things never change, and they always stay the same. So I'm gonna introduce you to those pieces. And as you see all these photos, each place I look at, I think of all the different gear that I brought and how much you have to carry, which is obviously one of the biggest things for an outdoor photographer's figuring that out. So first thing I want to start with those some special considerations. Gear is more than just your camer...
a equipment. I have what looks like a little mini Ari I in my garage, and it's basically backpacks, waiters I have, like two or three different kinds of waiters. Knee high boots for getting into different situation. Snow boots, mountain climbing boots, crampons, you name it mean for every situation. I've got a litany of other gear, and so it's a lot more when you take on Hey, I want to do high Alpine photography or I like getting up into the mountains. You need to start thinking about all of those other piece, especially when you're building a budget. It's really important to be able to build a budget that's realistic, that meet your goals creatively and that you can have what you need to be successful in the field. So here is more than just a camera. It's anything that ultimately helps you get a better story. And you'd be surprised how many photographers and people I know are building custom platforms and doing things just to try and push that boundary a little farther. There's always the obvious, as I mentioned boots, gloves, hats, jacket, sunglasses, sunscreen, bug spray, which, if you're tuning into other episodes of this class, you've seen the North Cascades section, where I donated a pint of blood to the local population of mosquitoes. So you want to make sure you bring sunscreen if possible. The not so obvious things are if you're shooting motion and let's say you're using a really great camera like the red and you've got an LCD screen, um, and you're out in a very, very cold temperatures. I've got a trip coming up to one of the coldest parts of Earth, and one of the things I'm considering is how do I keep that liquid that LCD, that liquid crystal display from freezing in those temperatures, The hand warmers air not just for your hands. You can build a little way of just taping them up or putting them in like a little insulated package around the screens with screen itself doesn't freeze. So you want to try and think of what are the challenges in the environment that you need Teoh Prepare for in advance research is always key. Gear has a research phase of its own. In many ways. You want to figure out where you want to put that, so those are the kinds of examples I often bring a paintbrush. I've been looking for it all morning. I don't know where it went hoping it was exits. My good luck paintbrush, which is weird. But you'd be amazed how often I'm taking sand out of little pieces of my gear and all kinds of dust changing lenses. I use that little paintbrush and I get around the edges. It's about this large. It might be in this bag. So you're gonna actually see this bag? I have not touched it since I got back from North Cascades National Parks. You're going to see exactly what I brought to teach this class to get those images that you see in the boot camp and literally dissect what's going on in here and tell you why made the decisions I made. But paintbrushes really critical anyone will do. Keep it small enough to carry but firm enough that you can get stuff off. But you want to make sure you don't use anything that's gonna be harmful or too hard or too abrasive. You want an old paint brush by a nice new soft one that worked really well for you. Sometimes if I'm shooting near the car, I'll bring a ladder a step stool so I could get a little higher. Great photos are all about changing your perspective, so getting up higher is really key for that lot times will stand right on the roof of my car. If it makes sense, have an SUV drive around and I can, you know, sometimes pop out to the sun roof. Even if it makes sense. Pull over. Of course, you're not driving right, But that's one thing. Radios, walkie talkies. If you're working with somebody in your long distance apart and you want that small person big lance gay if you want to communicate with them, Hey, turn your body a little bit more. You know you don't want to be. That person is up on the cliff, turned to the right or, you know it just doesn't work as well. So radios air important? Um, you know, and then I say, an insulated pad for winter wildlife. This is one of the first tricks I learned when I was in Yellowstone, and I was just sort of honing my craft shooting film, and I'd see the wildlife photographers all lined up, you know, usually at the edge of a pullout or a parking lot or something like that, with their gigantic lenses and mounted on the tripods, and they were all standing on folded like insulated pads like a therm, a rest or something you would use out in the, you know, for camping that you would lay on full body length and they would take him off or whatever at the time to do that, because they're standing in one place for a long period of time in the cold and it comes through the boots. And so if you actually break the ground between your just a little bit, it keeps your feet warm and you're able to stand there for long periods of time and observe the wildlife. So year goes far beyond just lenses, tripods and all those kinds of things. There's a lot more to it, and it really is location dependent. It's the type of photography going after landscape wildlife, its motion and dependent as well. If you're planning to shoot video when you're in the field, One thing I would say is you don't need it all. You don't want to look like a Christmas tree walking out into the field. I've seen so many people stuff dangling off everywhere left right, you know, year bags that weigh £50 or more. You know, if you want to get high into the mountains or upon a trail, or you just don't want to ruin your back. In last many, many years, I strongly recommend keeping your pack Teoh a reasonable weight. Bring on Lee what you need, and one of the things I like to do is constantly revisit what I'm bringing. The last time I taught it creativelive, I had a little bit of a different lens arrangement, and I realized I wasn't using it as much. It used to be my go to lens, and it still is for urban environments when I'm in the field or I'm shooting in nature. For the most part, I haven't really used it so much, and that's my 24 to 70 millimeter won't be in the bag today, and it was in the bag before really strongly debated whether I needed it. But I already had the 16 35 range covered already, had the 50 milk range covered and I had 72 200 covered and just felt like I really need the extra couple pounds. I really want to bring that one extra lens. Am I going to get that much? And I knew that my whole backpack was going to be with me the entire time, so I had to just have that little check in little mental check in. I realize that I actually don't need that lens, so that won't be in here today. And that's just the evolution of how you shoot what you're thinking of shooting and being realistic with yourself. Um, of course you got to get it all there. So wait, of course, is a big part of this. But, you know, the costs of building your gear bag are very important. Lithium ion batteries. I just want to make one quick statement about those. If you have lithium ion batteries that that's your camera takes, which more than likely everyone's camera in here does. Take those, um, you want them in your carry on. You do not want to in your checked bags really unsafe to be checked on airplanes when you're traveling, you know, obviously fear in your car that's a whole different thing. But if you're traveling on an airplane, you want to make sure the lithium ion bags air in your carry on their fire hazard. They're very typically unstable. I've had them fail. Anybody has had a laptop where where it suddenly just kind of pops the battery and they fail. I've had those happen. I see heads nodding here, So I know that it is something that absolutely is ableto happen. You should know how to handle those. And one thing I should mention also which I didn't really get too much into in the drone class but in the drone class to talk a lot about bringing extra batteries and so on. Those batteries are beasts to make those things fly, especially the bigger ones. And those are very, very dangerous if they become unstable. So you want to make sure that you know how to put a fire out with with with a lithium ion battery and so on. So it's not a joke. You know, there's a reason the FAA bans him from being in checked bags. I think that those are definitely a very important piece of equipment to be aware of. So without further duo to start getting into my gear list and how I keep track of what I have, write it all down yet it all insured and register your products. Be a nerd, embrace your inner nerd. I embraced my inner and my out earner, but you know you should have everything written down. You should really make sure you have insurance, especially if you're starting to get to a certain point where you know the value of your of your of your equipment is really far exceeding the value of the insurer. The cost, rather of the insurance. You wanna make sure you have that you have to just make that judgment call based on what it costs. Lots of different places offer it. Your homeowner's policy may even also cover it depending or renters insurance. So you just want to check into that figure out what works for you and go from there. Um, I include in my gear list serial numbers in the cost of replacement. Ah, I actually just recently lost two cameras are going to see a new camera in here today. That's when I brought out into the field, and that new camera is, um it's because I lost one out on a project in salt water and I mean, I really lost e I still have it. Actually, it's a £4500.4500 dollars paperweight. Now, on my baskets, you take the lens cap off and you could see the little bubble in there. It's basically like a level. You can just kind of level everything off with it. It's pretty entertaining, but it happens. It does happen in my insurance, covered it. I didn't have to do much when I lost. It already had the serial number of the replacement cost everything all cattle categorized. So I blacked out my serial numbers for this. But, you know, this is sort of a pretty basic list of my own camera gear. We have a little bit more than this now upon the motion side, but this was our January inventory. We have a lot of, of course, in studio stuff, but this is my field list. For the most part, you could see, you know, it's got a pretty hefty price tag. You know, there's a reason for that, and I'd say the reason and I always tell people I didn't just starting start there have been at this for a long time. It built up to it. I've got clients doing things, You know, I probably started more like, you know, in lines one through six of the still camera package here in this bag. Same thing. So I have a lot of have a lot of gear, definitely. You know, I have it all insured. I haven't all protected and locked and alarmed storage, you know, have a check in check out process with this list. I have all my gear in the office as well. All of my laptops and serial numbers written down. And it's also great because you're, like, commanded. I you'd be surprised. You get to a point where, like, how many lenses that we have, how many of these did we have? And you might be renting year. Which one is yours? You can reference the serial number if you have duplicates and multiple cameras in the field. So I really strongly recommend doing something like this. It's not hard. It might take you a whopping our to go ahead and do it, especially if everything's in one place. And it will really save you a lot of headache. I'm gonna go through this a little bit more, but the long and short is. You know, I've got all my motion stuff here. I've got my audio here. I've got my underwater stuff here. Ah, and a little bit of, um, you know, the peripheral pieces that support those, uh, underwater is well here. And then I've got my cannon camera, my still camera, my lenses Ah, and my tripods and then filters tripod fluid heads and then all the way down to sort of peripheral motion stuff, which probably could be moved up. But it's probably bottom of the list, cause it was the stuff that was added most recently, but so that's typically what it looks like. I'd keep most of that stuff. By the way, most of those documents like this I keep in a cloud based solution because I like my Google drive, for instance, or something else like it. There's plenty of options out there, but I keep it there because if your laptop gets stolen because part of the year and your list is on there, that's the only place that exists, right? So either email it to yourself or, you know, keep it So I mean, I think you know, cloud based solutions easy. You can update it. You can export it any time. And there you have it. So you want to think about that? I have had my gear stolen at least at least twice. That I can recall. In the last seven years, I've had it stolen. Ones checked in at the airport behind the scenes. So I put a case a pelican case on It went in and it came back out. Pelican case came back out, but it was a whole lot liner. The entire thing inside was cleaned out. Was an empty, completely empty case. The only thing they left was the TSA noticed that my bag had been inspected, not a joke. And of course, no one takes credit and it all happens behind the scenes. And so I had a file. Police report. The second time was my vehicle was broken into. I was in Hawaii. I was at a beach. I went out for sunset. A lot of times a rental cars are very noticeable rental cars. I have stickers or something that kind of designates them. They become targets, went out to photograph sunset, came back, noticed that I opened the trunk and there's no luggage my clothes. Everything were just completely lifted out. I had my laptop in their lost couple laptops. I lost my backup camera body because I didn't bring it in the field with me. I usually leave my backup in the hotel room or someplace else because typically that very reason If something's gonna go wrong, it's gonna go wrong in that way. So it does happen. It's a realistic and unfortunate part of our society, and so you should plan for it. You should also plan for other kinds of catastrophe when having your gear. I have already mentioned insurance you want. Protect your gear with cases. I like the pelican brand. That's what I mostly use is, I think, a couple of the brands out there now these days as well before the most part. This is pretty much what looks like when I go for a trip a C. C in the office shots, but they're great. I put my drone in there. I put my cameras in there. My lenses in their um, we're not moving through an airport. I mostly keep my camera, brains and body in here, the brain being the motion part of the red that the hub. Uh, so I'll put those in there cause those are the most expensive parts. And then all my lithium ion batteries. My bag. Usually it's about £50 of pretty close to £50. With that in there, this is the same bag, a use for everything. For all my carry ons, I might have one more carry on as well. A lot of times those air for batteries as well, um, batteries or tough thing to move around. So you're definitely gonna want to think about that, um, and figure out how you want to organize it and what items of value you want to keep. One other thing. I also do talking about protecting and have a little miniature pelican case here as well. Um, this thing is former memory cards, and I will put my SD cards or CF cards or whatever that are already shot in here. Especially if that's where the assignment is or if the assignment is too big to just be on CF cards, depending. I've pretty big CF cars these days. I got like 1 28 and someone in my camera, but upward I'll can make sure the hard drive and everything also stays in here. So usually it's hard drives, batteries and camera brain in my backpack. That's typically what it goes, but I never, ever take a shot project and leave it out of my control. And I mean, we've gotten to the point on something really big, expensive projects that it's almost borderline in rough seas cause will land back, you know, in this big thing, I just did. We land back in Honolulu, won't even go to the hotel, go right to FedEx, take a second copy, wrapped the drives dropping directly at the FedEx location at the airport and ship them to my office, whether then backed up and ingested across our system there. So there's, you know, if you have to think about somebody's paying you a lot of money, it's not just hard drive that's worth 500 bucks. It's all the expenses of being there and all the earned income thereafter on that work, and that could be quite significant for a project, so you have to protect it. We have locked cases we have off site will do cloud storage as well, because it's redundant and secures you could really get these days. Um, and so those are some considerations to make about your gear. You might want to be shipping it from the field, have a FedEx account. This is a very legit class. One point out this rock for a lot of my backpack in the process of during this, um, maintenance already mentioned, you know, air cans, compressed air, depending on what it is you're doing. You know you don't shoot your sensor with canned air case. Some of the liquid comes out, but for the most part, you know, use a hand pump.