~ My Gear ~
As I mentioned on the home page, I use Canon cameras and lenses. Arguably
the most important gear in your bag is your lens selection. I, like many others learned this
lesson the expensive way. When I started out, I couldn't afford pricey lenses. So I bought
what I could afford. Thinking the camera was the hub of my outfit, I bought a camera
and built around it. The last area of attention was top quality lenses. Although, cameras have become more important simply
due to the technological advances made since then.
If I had it to do over, I
would make lenses my priority and build around them. I'm still in the process of
building my "Lens Selection".
I have found my photography is a work in progress and a continual learning experience
that will not cease until I stop doing it.
* Equipment *
Canon ~ 7D MK II - x2
I think this camera is a great step forward. The ergonomic considerations are vast. It's obvious the sports and wildlife photographer was the target market when designing this camera. When shooting wildlife, having to change settings on the fly is part of the game. This camera gives you the ability to custom set the rear controls so things like; ISO, focus point, one shot, AI-Servo, and so on, can be changed on the fly without removing your eye from the viewfinder. This, along with ten frames per second, can make the difference between getting the shot and not.
This camera also has the ability to auto focus down to f8. So you can use a 2x tele on a 500mm f4 w/1.4x tele, and still have auto focus... cool! For wildlife this is what I use exclusively in the field. I have one on the 500mm f4, and one on my backup setup, with the 70-200 w/2x tele.
They put some real thought into this camera's setup, and I'm glad they did!
For wildlife photography, getting close is a main concern. That's why the APS-C sensor is my choice for
telephoto work. With the 1.6 crop factor, a 500mm f/4 with a 1.4 teleconverter,
(normally 700mm) effectively becomes an 1120mm f/5.6 and maintains auto focus. For five years this
camera was the most advanced APS-C camera Canon offered. Not to mention the 1920 x 1080 HD
video capability @ 24p. Did I mention the eight frames per second, and the nineteen auto focus points,
and the 18 megapixels, and....
Being a full frame camera with 21 megapixels, I use this for landscape, portrait, and other uses that
don't demand the telephoto reach of the APS-C sensor. Low noise and beautiful resolution make this
camera an impressive addition to any camera arsenal. To see some examples from this camera, visit
my Landscapes Gallery, most of the shots were taken with this camera. Since most of my work is wildlife, I don't get as much time with this camera as I do with the 7D MKII, but when I do, I'm allways pleasantly surprised and impressed all over again just how nice this camera performs.
I have owned every model in the 10 series line up, except for the 60D, and I intend to keep this camera.
It had the longest production run of any 10 series camera and was still available long after the 60D
I bagged one of my favorite and most challanging shots with this camera, a Golden Eagle on an elk
At 15 megapixels, it should have good utility for some time to come.
This camera is what I started digital with. Camera technology has evolved at a rapid pace, and
this was my hub that quickly became obsolete. I still have it because it's worth more to me than I could
get for it. At the time it cost the same as a 7D MK II does now.. ouch!!
This is my main workhorse for wildlife. I usually run the 1.4x tele. on it. With this setup it maintains
auto focus and is tack sharp. This lens is large and white, so to tone it down, and also add some
protection, I have it dressed in Realtree Max 4 Camo by LensCoat. When needed, I also use the Rain
Coat Pro. I love this lens!!
I can't say enough about the image stabilizer on this lens. It's nothing short of amazing! I used to have
the non-stabilized original version of this lens and used a Bushhawk shoulder mount with it. This lens
however is so stable handheld, I no longer do. When the IS comes in, the view simply stops moving,
period! The first time I used it, my response was an audible, "wow"! When I'm shooting wildlife I
normaly have a 2x tele. on it. Being that it's an f/2.8, it maintains auto focus. The Golden Eagle shot
mentioned in the 50D review was also taken with this lens handheld. Since then I have taken
shots at dusk of two Great Horned Owls at 1/80th of a second, also handheld with the 2x
tele.! Perhaps the best example to date of the IS performance is some shots of Honey Bees I took handheld with
an extension tube installed. This lens mounted to a 7D MK II, is my companion
setup in the field when I'm shooting with the 500mm. Due to the impressive IS, I have removed the tripod
collar and always shoot handheld with this lens.
This lens is for the 5D, since the Tamron 17-50 is not designed for a full frame camera. When I get some
time on it, along with the 5D, I'll report my impressions.
This lens is also for the 5D. I will report my impressions when I get some time on it.
When I did my research on this lens I was a little doubtful it would live up to what the reviews said
about it, but when I saw the results this lens gives you I was impressed. This was the first lens I
purchased that put me on the road to quality lenses. Even though it is not an expensive lens it performs
beyond it's price tag. At the time, I had no Canon "L" glass to compare with, but when I got the first 70-
200 f/2.8 L USM, I saw for myself what the pro stuff was all about, and this lens for the money holds it's
I had the non stabilized version of this lens and was very happy with it, so I didn't hesitate when the VC
version came out. I use this lens for landscape. Both of these Tamron lenses have surpassed my
Tripods and Mounts
This head deserves a mention! I use this head for the 500mm setup, and when I do, the only limitation
is me. If you've read about this head then you've heard about how effortlessly you can swing
around a big setup. Well I'm here to tell you, it's all true! The main factor in getting my Raptors in
flight shots, is this head!
Manfrotto ~ Proball 468RC2 Ballhead