Saturday, 11 September 2010

The essentials in my photography kit.

Guest post by Sheryn Ellis after her trip to Lake Eyre, outback Australia.

“It was soon apparent what I could and could not live without while travelling and photographing the outback…

The essentials in order of use:
• Canon 5D MII with battery grip;
• 24mm-70mm f2.8L lens: my favourite lens, I took at least 95% of my photos with this lens;
• Circular polariser: used at all hours of the day, only came off for star trails and when I didn’t want to ‘stack’ filters;
• Cleaning cloths: I always had one or two in my pockets at all time and every few shots was checking to see if dust and/or sand had blown onto my lens;
• Blower: used constantly to blow dust and/or sand off both the camera and the lens (used first to avoid scratching when wiping with a cloth). The blower was used every single time a lens change was made.
• Tripod: my Vanguard tripod was my first choice this trip, it’s lighter than my Manfrotto, easier to change from vertical to horizontal positions and I’m comfortable with the ball head. I’ve got to say I used my tripod more on this 8 day trip than in the previous 4 months.
• Lockable cable release: generally it was plugged in so that as soon as I put my camera on a tripod I was ‘good to go’! Definitely a must for star trails.
• LED Cap Light: a gift before my trip from another avid photographer. This is an awesome little light and should take off with photographers as it makes life so much easier once that sun starts to set.
• Second camera: Canon 20D – taken along for Michael to ‘play’ with but I did pinch it a couple of times rather than change lenses in the windy, dusty landscape.
• Lowepro camera bag: plenty of storage room, well padded and zips securely to keep out 99% of dust and debris.

After this trip I have promised myself that I WILL ‘practice what I preach’ – it is truly essential to keep all your kit clean and well maintained – I discovered on day one that my Manfrotto tripod, which has been floating in the back of my car for the last 5 months, had just enough sand in the head for it to have ‘fused’ itself on and it took several hours of frustration, WD40 and a screwdriver to get the tripod back in working condition.

My final tip is for ‘downloading’ on the go: ALWAYS check the number of files that you are downloading from your card to ensure it matches the number of files that actually download to your external hard-drive.

Photograph by Michael Ellis.
Birdsville Track, Cooper Creek detour road.
Sheryn standing on top of the ‘Pathy’ – anything to get that ‘shot’

Photograph by Sheryn Ellis.
Taken during a Wrightsair 2 hour scenic flight over Lake Eyre.
Canon 5D MII 24-70mm lens with circular polariser

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