“The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” ~ Ansel Adams
It’s imaginably true, that the vision is what makes beautiful art. So, even though this list exists, please don’t take it as a requirement towards taking good photographs. Practice, practice, practice, as well as a good bit of patience and perseverance will bring you much better rewards than upgrading your gear.
Now, with that disclaimer in mind, this list exists, in part, because of how often I’m asked what type of gear that I use and this is an easy reference guide. The gear here is reliable, robust, and able to withstand some extreme environments. If you spend more time babying your equipment, you could easily miss out on a great shot.
This little (this is a relative term) guy is a serious powerhouse. I don’t know if I can say it better than Nikon does; “Power to astonish, features to inspire”.
AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR
Discover new perspective with this ultra wide angle lens. My ‘epic-scape’ lens of choice, this lens tops out at nearly 110° angle of view!
AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
What a lens! This is by far one of the best ‘all around’ lenses I’ve ever used. From a nice wide landscape shot to a tight zoom on a distant object, this one lens will do a wonderful job for all your walking around shooting needs. If you had to pick just one, start here.
Rokinon 14mm Ultra Wide-Angle f/2.8 IF ED UMC
The newest addition to my arsenal, this bulbous little fixed angle lens will be my ‘go-to’ for astrophotography. Incredibly wide and nice and fast, it should be a great way to capture all those stars out there!
AF NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D
The ‘nifty fifty’ as it’s been endearingly deemed by it’s many users. There aren’t many lenses out there that can do what this one can at it’s price tag, and you’ll get all sorts of bokeh love when you use it!
Olympus OM-D EM-5
This is a new member of the ‘dream team.’ I’ve acquired quite a soft spot for this camera, and it’s definitely making waves and making a great all around kit. The quality of images that have been coming out of this sensor is unrivaled at it’s size, and it looks cool to boot!
Olympus 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 ED
I would consider this the main companion to the EM-5, with the versatility of a 24-100mm in FF. It also has a pretty neat ‘macro’ feature that takes some breathtaking shallow DOF shots.
Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 G-Series
Put on your pancake and drop this whole kit in your pocket! Well, it would need to be a big pocket, like your jacket, but I would never get the D600 in ANY of my pockets. A perfect ‘all around’ fixed prime at 20mm (40mm in FF) and f1.7 make this combo a low light mega-performer.
FEISOL Elite Tripod CT-3472 Rapid
The newest addition to the support team at Where to Willie, the Feisol CT 3472 is part of my recent collaboration with Feisol USA. With a height that can keep up with all 6’4″ of me, collapsibility that can fit in to a carry-on, and weight that doesn’t slow you down, the CT-3472 makes a great travel companion. Oh, and it’s carbon fiber, so when you’re out photographing lightning, you don’t have to worry about it being conductive I’ve been using it with the Leveling Base LB-7572, which makes it so much easier to set up compositions on strange non-level surfaces that happen so regularly.
I added this little marvel to my kit the same time as the new tripod. They are the first of a revamping of my support team. I wanted a product that had a low profile, but high performance. This one hit the spot, and even added in an extra feature that I hadn’t planned on, a panning clamp.
Sunwayfoto PNL-D600 L Plate
Up until using this for the first time, I’ve kind of been opposed to L plates. Well, lets not say opposed, it’s just I didn’t think they served a purpose enough to justify their costs. After three weeks with this little addition, I take it all back. The ease of switching between portrait and landscape, and not being limited by travel of the balhead is freeing.
One of the most challenging topics of long term travel and photography is the balance of packing.
I have two bags that I carry around regularly, one being my ‘incognito’ style messenger bag, which really gets less incognito when I have a tripod slung over my shoulder… It’s great for the casual wander around the city, or when you only need a portion of your gear. I’ll also always have my journal and iPod with me.
Kata Bumblebee-222 UL
My second bag is the Kata Bumblebe 222 UL, an ultra light bag with some pretty extreme space utilization. Weighing in at only 5 pounds, the quality of the gear protection of this bag is perfect. With quick and easy access to compartments, as well as the quality construction, I have no complaints about this bag. Well, I guess I have one complaint. It holds so much gear that a lot of times I don’t need most of it. It’s not really a complaint about the backpack, more of an observation.
Every digital artist needs a few basic items in their back pocket.
HP DV7t – 17in
An i7 driven powerhouse, with a 1920×1080 backlit LED HD screen that is perfect for getting into the details of a shot.
Western Digital 2TB My Passport USB 3.0 External Hard Drives
One of the most challenging, but most important things about being on the road is having a solid backup plan. Your gear is always moving, and always more vulnerable than if it were locked up at home somewhere. With that, you need a backup solution that matches the risk. I’ve chosen to create a threefold backup system, the internal HD that I work from in my laptop, and two backups on two external HDs (preferably in different locations when possible).
If you want to make sure all the colors you are seeing are what everyone will see when you get your shots printed, color calibrating your monitors is a must. This system is easy to follow, and reminds you when it’s time for a refresh.
Wacom Bamboo Tablet
Drawing with a pen and paper seems to come natural, more so than with a mouse. If you agree, these are fun to learn and ‘draw’ on your pictures with.
Check out my Product Reviews page HERE.
I whole heartily recommend all the products that I use, for I think they are the best you can get for the money, and will continue to update this page as changes happen.
Sponsors and Affiliates
Thank you to all who have helped make Where to Willie along the way, from my friends and family, to experiential companies. And, if you’re interested in collaborating, please contact me via the Contact Page or drop and email to william (at) wheretowillie (dot) com.
I am a proud member of Feisol’s Pro team, and love my Feisol gear. Click below for a direct link to their products.
Sunwayfoto makes excellent support products. Check out their page for the most recent products, or check out some of my product reviews for some true field tests.
Check out my Ethics page to read more about Sponsors and Affiliates