My Equipment

Cameras...


Over the past two and a half decades I have come to trust and love Nikon's line of both film and digital camera models. Today, I primarily use the Nikon D300S and D3x Digital SLRs (their photos below) for my photography work. Nikon has a very rich history of high quality engineering. Very few other corporations can match their quality control standards, wide range of product, and the performance they offer to their customers. I am particularly happy with Nikon's design with their camera controls. They really do make everything so intuitive from the onboard menu controls, toggles, and even down to the switches on the lenses.


The Nikon D300s and D3x Digital SLR cameras give me the high resolution I need and are loaded with great professional features. The last thing I would mention is that Nikon D-SLRs have very rugged durability. Many years ago I was using my Nikon D70 DSLR and it accidentally fell off the back of my truck and down the side of a cliff. I thought it was smashed into a thousand pieces. I was able to retrieve the camera in one piece and still have it today. After over 350,000 exposures the D70 still works, taking great photos.



* Nikon® Nikkor® camera and lens images are registered trademarks of Nikon Inc.



Lenses...


During my many years as a photographer I have had the ability to use a large variety of medium and large format lenses. Not all lenses are created equal...this statement is so very true! The price of a lens is also not necessarily a reflection of the quality of the glass. When I evaluate a lens before I purchase it, I rent it from a local camera store and shoot known subjects. After I test shoot with the lens, I inspect the shots under a high magnification factor afterwards. I test each lens under all its capable aperture settings. Most reviews of the lenses out there are purely subjective. What is of critical importance is that when a lens is evaluated, it is validated in the field taking photos of real world images. Whether you are a keen amateur or a professional, you must use a high quality lens; otherwise, everything else in your work flow will suffer. Trying to find the right digital SLR lens for your camera is tough as the number of options is overwhelming. I choose to only shoot with Nikon Nikkor lenses with my Nikon cameras. Nikon is the world leader when it comes to compatibility of cameras and lenses in different time periods across decades of production.

The following lenses are the ones I own and use on a regular basis. With each lens I tell you what type of photography I use the lens with.

1. Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED

    Grade: A

    Uses: Portraits, Fashion, Beauty, Landscape and Wildlife photography
2. Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G

    Grade: A+

    Uses: Portraits, Fashion and Beauty photography
3. Nikon AF Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D

    Grade: A-

    Uses: Extreme Close Ups: Wildlife, Portraits and Flora photography
4. Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II

    Grade: A

    Uses: Portraits, Sports, Wildlife and Landscape photography
5. Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D

    Grade: A-

    Uses: Portrait photography
6. Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II

    Grade: A

    Uses: Travel, Portrait and Beauty photography
7. Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G

    Grade: B+

    Uses: Landscape photography
8. Nikon AF-S VR Zoom Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED

    Grade: B-

    Uses: Travel and Landscape photography
9. Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR

    Grade: B+

    Uses: Travel, Portraits, Beauty and Landscape photography
10. Nikon AF-S DX Zoom Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED

      Grade: B-

      Uses: Travel, Portraits and Landscape photography

Lighting Equipment & Accessories


As a photographer who works in many of the different categories of the discipline, I have never been partial to just one type of lighting. I rely on many different pieces of equipment and light sources. In fact, it is not unusual for me to mix multiple different light sources to match the complex needs of the image. My choices in lighting depend on the many factors that influence the results I want or need to achieve. I also do not just choose one manufacture of products to fill my equipment bag. The factors that most directly affect my lighting choices are ranked in order of importance:

  1. Location
  2. Intensity of light
  3. Exposure
  4. Number of light sources
  5. Cost

Speed Lights


Probably no other single piece of lighting equipment goes with me with me to as many of my remote location shoots than my Nikon SB speed light(s). The Nikon Speedlight on camera Creative Lighting System, when used with your digital SLR, significantly increases your possibilities in photography. It also affords you the most mobile and portable solution in lighting you can find. It can be used both on and off camera with a convenient stand that is supplied. The flash exposure features on these lights, when used correctly, will help you take your photography to the next level. I use and highly recommend these various speed lights from Nikon:

SB-900

      Grade: A-

SB-800

      Grade: A

SB-600

      Grade: B+


Reflectors


The Westcott 40 inch 5-in-1 reflector kit is the most incredible and affordable accessory that you will need to have in your equipment accessory bag. It grants you the mobility and control for your lighting needs. It is collapsible with a convenient zipper bag for carrying. Another single piece that I use is the Westcott 20 inch illuminator reflector. It is superb for simple lightening purposes and can be used in conjunction with other lighting sources.



Strobes


While I am primarily an outdoor photographer, I do quite a bit of indoor and studio work. I own and use a JTL Studio Lighting System that comprises both the JTL Mobile Light 300 and Versa Light strobes with umbrellas. These strobes work just fine on DC power supplies. There are far more advanced studio systems you can buy, but for the price, JTLs are suitable.

JTL Versa Light E

      Grade: A-

JTL Mobile Light 300

      Grade: B-


Hot Lights


For my hot light needs with my indoor and studio work I go with Omni and Photoflex products. Photoflex makes a great series of stands for any lighting demands. I also use Omni mono lights with barn doors for continuous directional light in studio. These hot lights are traditional tungsten or Metal Halide Iodide (HMI) lights that burn continuously. Some photographers only swear by strobe light usage in studio; however, I find great uses for both hot lights and strobes inside my studio.

Photoflex Starlight QLs (1000 Watt) + Half Dome (Soft Boxes)

      Grade: A-

Omni Light E (500 Watt) + Barn Doors

      Grade: B+


Flash Trigger


For indoor studio work if you decide to use a strobe or number of strobe lights you will need to have a radio flash trigger. I have been using the Smith Victor Radio Flash Trigger Kit with good results. There is only one minor issue I have had with it in regards to fitting on my cameras hot shoe but I easily work around that issue. The whole flash trigger kit is very easy to use. I find it to be rugged and dependable. With a range of 25 meters/80 feet it gives any photographer the studio coverage required.

Smith Victor Radio Flash Trigger Kit (RT-01K-4C)

      Grade: A-