What's in my bag
I am a fine art B&W photographer specializing in long exposure. Of course each project is different and requires specific equipment, but most of them demand the entire or only part of the following list.
You will find below a list of my typical go to bag when I go for a long exposure shoot. Included a short description for each item (for a longer and more complete one please keep scrolling down).
Sony a7RIII – my work horse and go to camera for most occasions. Amazing image quality, high resolution and low noise level, all qualities required for shooting long exposures. This is a camera that also allows me to shoot all other kinds of subjects if the occasion presents itself.
Sony a7RII converted to Infra-Red by Precision Camera – a wonderful camera in itself, the a7RII opens a whole new world of possibilities when converted to IR: leaves of trees turn bright, the ocean dark, people stand out more. It allows me to transform my subjects.
Sony RX100 IV – the camera I use for behind the scenes images and videos; also the camera that I always carry with me when I leave the rest of the gear behind.
Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS – an amazing lens with superb image quality and razor sharp details. The ideal solution when I need the extra length and heavy enough that I’m not concerned about vibrations while shooting exposures for minutes at a time.
Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift – a wide angle tilt shift lens that I use for landscape, seascape and architectural subjects. The Sony mirrorless system is amazing in that it allows users to find the best of all worlds in terms of lenses. The 100-400 G Master is one of these and so is this tilt/shift lens. Unfortunately Sony doesn’t have lenses (yet?) that allows for perspective control, and so I went to the next best thing.
Mamiya 645 35mm f/3.5 – Mamiya 645 50mm f4 Shift Lens –Hartblei 80mm Tilt/Shift "Super Rotator"– a range of Medium Format lenses that offer a large image circle and let me tilt and shift almost as much as I’d like. I wish Sony came up with a native solution that would potentially allow for even more movements and ensure light tightness (always a problem when adapting lenses, see below).
Manfrotto MT057C3 tripod & http://amzn.to/2C5A9CtManfrotto 405 geared head – a work horse combination that I use with heavy lenses such as the 100-400 G Master. With smaller lenses I use a lighter yet sturdy geared head/tripod combination also from Manfrotto (the 410 Junior).
Amazon Kindle – one of my best friends while waiting for a loooooong exposure (or series of them) to be done. When I don’t just enjoy the view or quiet of the scene that I’m shooting, I’ll be reading it or an actual book.
Wired and remote shutter control – required to start and stop my exposures. I almost only use the remote control, unless I’m shooting with the IR converted camera which I don’t want to illuminate with an artificial source of light (the remote itself) and then the wired one comes in handy.
Storm Jacket and scarf – as mentioned earlier, long exposures suffer from light leaks that are caused by adapting non-native lenses on a mirrorless system. I use these pieces of cloth to protect my camera from stray light and kill two birds with one stone when the weather turns stormy. These are of course not needed when using native glass.
Neutral density filters, adapter rings & filter holder – to shoot long exposure in broad day light one needs to reduce the amount of light going through the lens. This is what these filters are for. I favor Formatt-Hitech filters because they have very dark filters that do not require to be stacked, and them being made of glass prevents scratches (and subsequent diffraction and image artifacts).
Additional equipment that I recommend and use on a regular basis.
Sony a6300 - A cropped sensor mirrorless camera that I can bring with me in any occasion for shooting stills or 4k video. An amazing camera which I currently use as a backup to my a7R II system.
Sony a7R - Ideal for landscape and architectural photography, and the mirrorless feature allows the photographer to use lenses from any third party manufacturer, including Canon, Nikon, Leica etc.
Large Format: 4x5 Chamonix 045N-2, 8x10 Korona
I converted/modified/machined a Fuji GX680 III into a technical camera that can be used with any a7 series body, and virtually any lens, including RZ67 and large format with long bellows and rail extensions.
Formatt Hitech Firecrest ND16 - The IDEAL companion for LE photographers, and most neutral filters available in the market. It also reduces Infra Red light, making it the best filter for IR Long Exposure work.
Formatt Hitech Firecrest ND13 - Mostly for doing long exposure on an overcast day.
Formatt Hitech Firecrest ND10 - For exposures in the 30 seconds range in day light. Great for smoothing out ocean waves!
Formatt Hitech Firecrest ND6 - For exposures of only a few seconds in day light. Perfect for blurring out waterfalls!
Formatt Hitech ProStop IRND Long Exposure Kit - Joel Tjintjelaar Signature Edition - Great filters as well, a little cheaper than the Firecrest, but also less neutral.
I have been using screw in B+W ND filters for years, and even though they are great, having a holder and slide in filters is a huge improvement when setting up for long exposure.The Formatt-Hitech filters have also another advantage: they are much more neutral than B+W, Lee or the others since they also block IR light.
I recommend them to all photographers with an interest for long exposure.
Additionally, I couldn't recommend more highly the UV and polarizing filters manufactured by Kenko and in particular their Puro products. You can as well give their ND10000 filter a try for doing long exposure (equivalent to ~ 16.5 stops). It comes in both circular and screw in flavors.
Unless specific request, Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm is used for the fine art archival prints - This paper has a matte finish and ensures the deepest density of blacks as well as the highest level of details. This paper has been the recommended substrate by generations of museum curators around the world.
EF to E mount Metabones Mark IV (aperture control, autofocus and Exif info)
EF to E mount Metabones Speed Booster ULTRA - Allows you to use a full frame lens on an APS-C (cropped) sensor mirrorless camera such as the Sony a6300 with an extra stop faster and a ~1.5x focal length modificator. Great option for shooting extrenely shallow depth of field like in portraiture!
Mirex EF to E mount tilt shift (fully manual, no electric connection)
Mirex M645 to EF mount tilt shift (fully manual, no electric connection)
Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Aluminum Tripod - My primary tripod. S little on the heavy side but very sturdy and reliable. Perfect for windy conditions, it stays stable even when waves hit it.
Manfrotto 410 Junior geared head - adapted to fit universal quick release plates, it is the ideal head to combine light weight and precision for smaller cameras and lenses.
Manfrotto 405 geared head - adapted to fit universal quick release plates, it is the ideal head for extreme precision for bigger cameras and lenses.
A lightweight Vanguard tripod that I use as backup, or when I go for very long hikes.
Sony Remote Commander - Absolutely necessary for LE shooting.
f-stop Loka backpack - My newest (and hopefully last) backpack acquisition. It is meant for demanding photographers and weather conditions.
Peak Design system to attach the camera to a sling, backpack or a hand strap, and release it in a heart beat.
Lume Cube - Amazing little cubes that contain a very powerful LED light. Illumination is adjustable on your cell phone by Bluethooth, and they can also be triggered remotely. Plus they are waterproof, and easy to carry around. Highly recommended for lighting solutions on the go. And don't forget that Lume Cube are also running a Kistarter Campaign on their new product... right now! :)