My Gear - ImagesByBeaulin


Infrared view of Two Step Falls at Tettegouche State Park, Minnesota.

Infrared view of Two Step Falls at Tettegouche State Park, Minnesota.

It's not the gear, but how you use it that matters. However, gear has its place. Under most circumstances you don't need the most sophisticated or expensive camera & lens to take good photos, but your camera support system is something you should never compromise on. I’ve learned the hard way that uncompromising, rock-solid supports are a must, especially for landscape and telephoto work.


I shoot with Canon's EOS 5D Mark IV, EOS 5D Mark III, EOS 7D Mark II, EOS 7D, and EF L-series glass, except that I use Samyang, Rokinon, and Zeiss wide-angle lenses for low light landscapes and star photography. I have numerous lenses, but occasionally will borrow glass from LensRentals.com. For infrared work I use a Canon 50D super color IR conversion by Life Pixel, and recently started shooting the stars with a full astro-conversion 5D Mark IV sensor by Spencer Camera.


My favorite lenses are Rokinon's SP 14mm f/2.4, Rokinon's 24mm f/1.4 ED AS IF UMC, Zeiss' Otus 28mm f/1.4, Tamron's SP 15-30mm f/2.8 USD Di, and Canon's 24-70 f/2.8L II USM, 24-105 f/4.0L IS USM, 70-200 f/2.8L IS II USM, and 300 f/2.8L IS II USM. For in-studio macro work requiring 1x or greater life-size reproduction, I use Canon's MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro lens, and when afield use the EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM, or EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM depending on the bokeh I require. For long lens work I tend to use my 300mm f/2.8L with 1.4x and 2x tele-extenders, especially when I’m unable to borrow bigger glass. Much lighter than carrying around a 600 f/4L!


My base support is the excellent Gitzo GT5542LS Systematic Tripod. The finishing touches are obtained with Really Right Stuff's leveling bases and Really Right Stuff BH-55 full-sized ballhead, matched with Really Right Stuff’s PCL-1 Panning Clamp and other accessories for panoramic work; and ProMedia Gear's Tomahawk Ballhead Gimball Attachment for telephoto work when I don’t want to carry around a dedicated gimbal head. When using focal lengths beyond 600mm, I will deploy my Really Right Stuff Long Lens Support Package with the BH-55 ballhead or the impeccably good Really Right Stuff PG-02 Full Gimbal Head. When more portability and lighter weight is needed for short- to medium-telephoto work, I use the discontinued Manfrotto 680B monopod outfitted with the RSS MH-02 Monopod Head.


I occasionally use a mobile device known as CamRanger to assist shooting unique situations and for maco & close-up focus stacking.  My favorite mobile photography apps include PhotoPills and VellaClock for planning star photo shoots; and OptimumCSP, TrueDOF-Pro and FocusStacker for iOS devices developed by George Douvos.


I do my own post-processing using predominantly Photoshop Lightroom (basic exposure adjustments) and Photoshop CC (exposure blending, luminosity masking, panorama stitching, and depth-of-field stacking), but also use Helicon Focus (depth-of-field stacking) and PTgui (panorama stitching) when needed. My hardware platform is Apple’s Mac Pro (in studio) and a 2009 17" Macbook Pro (while traveling) with external and portable high-capacity storage solutions by G-Technology.  I use Lexar Professional UDMA 7 CF Cards for recording imagery in camera.  For simple and quick on-the-fly backup in the field, I use a NEXTO portable, battery-powered device.  When requiring remote backup & editing capability without a laptop in the field, my GNARBOX is an indispensable tool.


To carry my gear I've used several different backpacks & bags over the years, but my most frequently used all-around, go to pack is F-stop's Tilopa Mountaineering Camera Backpack.....it's almost perfection for what and how I shoot. If I don't need much additional gear when packing a long lens, I use my Tamrac Super TelePhoto Lens Pack. These two packs are comfortable, even when packed to the hilt. If I need ultra-rugged protection for my gear when traveling, I use various Pelican protector cases.

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