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Home : About the Photographers : Our Equipment

Okay, you are here because you are either a gear nut, and have to know what sort of equipment I used to take the pictures that you have seen on this web site. Or you are here because you are interested in knowing what sort of computer equipment that I use. Or what sort of image processing software I use.

If that's you, then you came to the right place.

Or maybe you just clicked on the wrong thing accidentally.

Either way, I have to say that just because you don't have the same equipment that I do doesn't mean that you can't take the same sort of pictures. If you have a reasonable camera, a tripod, and an interest in learning and experimenting, then you too can do this! We have written up some techniques for you to perhaps learn from, and some of our favorite places to go as well.

Photo Equipment

  • Nikon Cameras

    Nikon N-70 and Nikon FG
    Sometimes you want the fast action of an automatic camera. Sometimes you want the slow methodical pace of a manual camera. Both of these are solid. The N-70 is a middle model in the "pro-sumer" product line for Nikon. Not quite professional, perhaps, but more than the average consumer. I like this camera a lot.

    The advantage of the FG is that batteries last a long time. Since the only use of the batteries is for the metering system, you can operate the camera for longer exposures (like star trails) without draining the batteries. This is an older model Nikon that is no longer manufactured.

    Update: February, 2005: Nikon no longer makes either of these cameras. We still have the FG but do not use it as much. I have picked up a D-70 to complement the N-70. The "D", of course, stands for digital. More on that in another article to come.

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  • Nikon Lenses

    Nikon 50mm (it came with the camera)
    Nikon 200mm Micro (for those close up close-ups!)
    Nikon 600mm F4 (it wasn't cheap, but ooooh what a lens)

    It's hard to go wrong with Nikon glass. However, they are more expensive.

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  • Sigma lenses

    Sigma 18-35mm (by far, my favorite Landscape lens)
    Sigma 28-70mm 2.8 (a nice middle range lens, and fast)
    Sigma 70-300mm 4-5.6 (my first "other" lens)
    Sigma 170-500mm (an inexpensive way to get close to wildlife)

    Because of the expense of Nikon lenses, we started out expanding our collection of lenses by purchasing Sigma equipment. The quality seems to be good, and the cost is certainly lower than their Nikon equivalent. The superwide 18-35mm lens is a lens that I never go without.

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  • Tamrac Camera Bags

    We have one medium sized camera bag that – if packed carefully – can hold two camera bodies and most of the smaller lenses that we travel with. The Nikon 600mm F4 comes with its own hard case. Other equipment generally travels in a backpack padded with clothes or other similar arrangement.

    We do not currently own a photography backpack. Generally they are good only for carrying photo equipment, and I can generally arrange to carry the photo equipment along with camping gear in a more efficient fashion with a regular hiking-style backpack.

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  • Manfrotto (Bogen and Gitzo)

    Bogen 3001 Tripod
    Bogen 3221W Tripod
    Gitzo 1329 Mk 2 Carbon Fiber Tripod
    Bogen 3030 Quick Release Head
    Bogen 3047 Quick Release Head

    When I got the "big glass" (Nikon 600) I needed a better tripod. The Bogen 3021 was fine for everything else, but would not safely support the heavier lens. But I also wanted to stay within a weight limit as far as what I would need to carry. Where to go? Gitzo!

    Gitzo makes some of the world's best and lightest tripods. Their carbon fiber units support more pound for pound than any other that I have experimented with. The unit that I have is more than enough to support my heaviest lenses and other equipment. We have an article (with pictures) showing all three of these tripods in our tech tips area if you would like to know more.

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  • Arca Swiss B1

    The support from a tripod is one thing. The tripod head also needs to be able to handle the weight of the larger lenses. The Arca Swiss B1 is the top line ball head, recognized by photographers around the world as best in class. So we got one.

    Update, 2004:: And we no longer have it. We hated it. We really hated it. It's not that it wasn't a quality piece of equipment, far from it. It is everything as advertised. Really excellent piece of work. So why don't we carry it any more? Because we have decided that we hate ball heads and have purchased something else that works much better. Details in the next item description below.

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  • Wimberly

    If you have a really big lens, there really is no substitute for a Wimberly tripod head. After playing around with the Arca Swiss mentioned above we got this piece of equipment. We will never go back. You have to try it to believe just how good this thing is.

    We'll have an article comparing the three different styles of tripod heads that we have experimented with on our techniques page soon.

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Computer Configuration
  • Workstation

    It really doesn't matter which brand of personal computer you work with any more. It just has to have lots of memory and a fast hard drive. A fast internet connection is nice too. We quit putting our hardware specifications on this page because they change almost every year. Suffice it to say that faster is better, more memory is better still, and you can never have enough storage options.

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  • Nikon Super Coolscan II

    This scanner works for both slide or negatives from 35 mm cameras. For what it's worth, I don't recommend it; it tends to pick up a lot of dust and/or dirt. The newer models of the scanner apparently have the same problem, but the software had been enhanced to help correct this issue. I say, fix the scanner so it doesn't get dirty!

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  • Paint Shop Pro

    Shareware at work; this program is fast, easy to learn, and inexpensive! Try it, if you like it, you buy it. And if you like it and use it, you should buy it. We are a registered user of all of the shareware applications used to create this website. Paint Shop Pro contains the most frequently used features of Adobe Photoshop, and even uses most of the same shortcut keys to make it easy to switch back and forth. I highly recommend this product.

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