Photography Equipment - gordonsmith

Introduction

There is a technical side to photography which goes hand in hand with the artistic. Vision without the "know-how" results in a photo that does not fulfill its' potential.  With that in mind, I've included a bit of information on my equipment and techniques. Lenses, tripods and cameras are tools that can do great things if used with skill.

Camera Body

 I now shoot with two Canon bodies: the 1Ds Mark III and the new 5D Mark IV. These are both professional camera bodies built for use and abuse.  They both have:
     1) enough pixels to allow enlargement beyond 24 x 36 inches;
     2) full frame for greater wide-angle shots;
     3) strong build for use in all conditions;
     4) an RGB histogram allows for accurate exposure in all color channels.

The build is phenomenal but not indestructible. I’ve taken these expensive tools, sealed them in a waterproof backpack and thrown it in the ocean to swim ashore. It’s my traveling companion in the dry desert. Nothing is better than having a quality product deliver the goods!  The 5D has some new "bells and whistles" with GPS, WiFi, high ISO, remote control and more.  It's a fun gadget!

I’ve shot with Canon SLR cameras since I got one for a High School graduation present from my father. My first digital camera was a Canon 20dI also use the Canon PowerShot G11 occasionally. I call it my "Disneyland camera" because I can take it to the park easily and use  for family shots. 

Canon EOS 1Ds Mark 3
Lots of Canon Lenses

Lenses

I wish I had every lens in the photo on the left. Wouldn't that be heavy to carry around?!!!  Instead, I have about 12 lenses, each with its' own strengths and weaknesses.  These are listed to the right.

* Denotes my favorite lenses. It's all too easy to fall prey to the disease of "lens-envy" and want every lens available. There's a trade-off between what I need a lens to do and how big of kit I want to haul around. This is my current lineup of lenses and has served me well for years.

 ---Zoom---

16-35 mm/2.8L II
24-70mm/2.8 II
24-105mm/4 L IS
70-200mm/4 L

---Prime---

17mm/4.0 L tilt shift
24mm/3.5 L tilt-shift
35mm/1.4 L *
50mm/1.4 *
85mm/1.2 L II*
90mm/2.8 tilt-shift
100mm/2.8 macro
135mm/2.0 L *
300mm/2.8 L IS *


Lens Choices

For landscape  photography, I primarily shoot with the 17mm/4.0 L tilt-shift, 16-35mm/2.8 L and 24mm/3.5 tilt-shift lenses. These are all for wide-angle photography. I also find telephoto shots to be strong with the 300mm/2.8 L IS and 70-200mm/4 L. The 70-200mm/4 L is light and small enough to pack around.

For people  shots, the the highly-coveted 85mm/1.2 L wins hands down. It’s awesome. The 35mm/1.4 L and 300mm/2.8 L IS also get stunning results. The bokeh with these fast prime lenses makes everything in the background just turn to butter (a really nice blur effect). The 50mm/1.4 is compact, fun but not as quick to focus as the others.  The 135mm/2 L allows one to shoot from a distance but get intimate shots..

Macro  shots are best with the 100mm/2.8 macro or the 90mm/2.8 tilt-shift. The 24-105/4 L also has a macro feature. That makes it a great all-around lens.

Casual  shots at home are best done with the 35mm/1.4 L or 50mm/1.4.

Wildlife  shots are fabulous with the 300mm/2.8 L IS. I often add the 1.4x teleconverter. The 2x teleconverter is also helpful, but I lose some sharpness with it so I only use it when shooting very small and distant objects.

Portrait Photography
Miscellaneous Equipment

Miscellaneous Equipment

Gitzo Traveler Tripod + Markins Q10 ballhead (my "small" tripod)

Gitzo Series 3 Systematic Tripod + Markins Q20 ballhead (my "big" tripod)

Lee filter system and filters

Pearstone Timer Remote

Alien Bee 800 W strobe flash with medium octabox

Toyota 4x4 and a full tank of gas

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