Gear List 2013

“Chalten”
Fitz Roy Massif, Argentina

As pointless as I think this is, people still want to know what gear I’m using on a day to day basis. I do understand why folks ask and I always try to answer patiently and politely. Still I desperately want to explain – if time allows – that if you want to become a better photographer and artist and you believe the answer lies in what camera brand or lenses other photographers are using, you are looking for answers in all the wrong places, my friend.

I’ll give an inspired presentation on personal vision, light, and composition to a group of photographers and all anyone wants to know afterward is “what camera I used to takes those pretty pictures.” I always oblige (with or without the requisite lecture), they thank me, smile, and walk away. They beleive I just helped them in some way. but I know I did no such thing.

So without further delay, here’s more unhelpful information, by popular request.

EQUIPMENT LIST as of 01/11/13

Canon EOS 5D MarkIII camera body

Canon EOS 5D MarkII camera body

Canon EOS 7D camera body

Canon 16-35 f/2.8L lens

Canon 24-105 f/4L lens

Canon 70-200 f/4L lens

Canon 100-400 f/4.5 – 5.6L lens

Canon 500mm f/4 USM lens

Canon 24mm TSEII lens

Canon 90mm TSE lens

Sigma 105mm Macro lens

Canon 580EXII Speedlight (2)

I own at least a dozen tripods of various brands and vintages but my primary tripod at the time is a Really Right Stuff TVC-24L

Really Right Stuff BH-40 ball head (2)

F-Stop Tilopa and Sartori camera backpacks with small and large ICUs

Singh Ray 77mm and 82mm circular polarizers

B&W 77mm 3-stop, 6-stop, and 10-stop neutral density filters. Singh Ray 82mm 5-stop neutral density filter.

Canon RS-80N3 and TC-80N3 remote release cables

Really Right Stuff camera and lens plates

Dozens  of Sandisk Extreme Pro CF cards (16GB and 32GB sizes)

Gepe Card Safe waterproof and shockproof CF cases

MacBook Pro computers (2), 23″ Apple Cinema Display, iPad, Photoshop CS6, Lightroom 4, InDesign, Dreamweaver, PhotoMatix, Helicon, various plugins….

Drobo Hardrive enclosure with 4TB capacity

Several Lacie portable drives in various sizes

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15 Comments

  1. Posted January 11, 2013 at 6:35 am by Trevor | Permalink

    I can sympathise with you fully – I get asked this all the time at weddings as well, along with “so, which camera do you recommend I buy?”. Like you, I try to be helpful but it does get wearing after a while :-)

  2. Posted January 11, 2013 at 6:49 am by Lea Gallardo | Permalink

    I took this all a step further recently with myself as guinea pig. With an upcoming 120 mile walk in Spain, I agonized over whether to carry my D700 with 28-300 lens and SB900 flash or to go with a point and shoot. After trying two point and shoots with RAW capability, I settled on a Nikon Coolpix 510 which did not shoot RAW. This scenario forced me to be a better photographer. Yes, there were times in cathedrals where I wished I had my D700 but all in all, I have an incredible set of photos of Spain and feel better about my own abilities as a photographer.

    • Posted January 11, 2013 at 8:11 am by Menno Herstel | Permalink

      Lea, I think this was a great idea! Less is more. Quality is a problem tho. When in dark or less ligth situations most point and shoot camera’s are giving up.

  3. Posted January 11, 2013 at 7:26 am by Gen Vagula | Permalink

    You should also add footnote to people that you don´t guarantee that owning this specific equipment will give users the same results.

  4. Posted January 11, 2013 at 8:06 am by Menno Herstel | Permalink

    You are absolutly right. I allways reply: the picture is made by the photografer, but not by his camera. Mostly they understand, or, act as if they do ;-) If not, I ask: if I give you this camera, do you think you will get the same results? Then they do understand. (mostly ;-)

  5. Posted January 11, 2013 at 8:18 am by Robert White | Permalink

    I agree with you completely Richard, yet I was thrilled to read this. What I love about your shots is that you also include your settings… as an amateur and learner that’s a big help to me.

  6. Posted January 11, 2013 at 8:21 am by Theresa | Permalink

    Those questions are annoying, aren’t they? I don’t mind so much when they ask because they’re shopping for gear and aren’t sure what to buy. But the, “I love your photos! What camera do you use?” questions are borderline insulting. I know they don’t mean to be, but would you ever say to an artist, “That’s a beautiful painting! What paintbrush did you use?” Of course not, because we all know a paintbrush is just a tool and the artist is responsible for putting it to good use. The same goes for cameras and photography, but for some reason people just don’t see it that way.

  7. Posted January 11, 2013 at 10:04 am by Ryan Tischer | Permalink

    I make a living selling my photography at art festivals, and totally agree with you. It’s one of the most common questions that I get, along with the comment, “You must have a REALLY nice camera!” That comment always irks me, as they seem to be giving more credit to the equipment than the photographer, but I try to be polite when explaining that the equipment means nothing if you don’t know how to use it. I do enjoy a technical discussion with other pros in regard to their equipment from time to time, as sometimes you really can learn something, but when it comes to amateurs or the general public asking it just gets annoying.

  8. Posted January 11, 2013 at 10:12 am by Jane Lurie | Permalink

    Richard– I always think of the analogy to “your camera takes great photos” — “your typewriter writes great stories”…
    I am wondering how you lug your equipment around! I had to really pare down my stuff when we hiked in Patagonia. I know you can’t carry it all, so what are your top lenses you take when you’re hiking?
    Enjoy your blog, thank you!

  9. Posted January 11, 2013 at 10:40 am by Kate Silvia | Permalink

    I always reply with “it’s not the violin…it’s the violinist!” which I heard through NYIP. Happy Travels as always Richard!

  10. Posted January 11, 2013 at 7:06 pm by Richard Siggins | Permalink

    One of my favorite quotes –
    “Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase.”
    – Percy W. Harris

    I tell people the best investment they can make is to pay for a workshop or private lessons where they can learn the skills they need to practice. And the best way to practice is to go out with other photographers.

  11. Posted January 12, 2013 at 8:19 am by Terry Alexander | Permalink

    It’s an interesting attitude I think every photographer goes thru – we always desire the biggest and best equipment without realizing how it negatively impacts on the creative side of the equation. As I progressed from film to digital I started out with a simple little point and shoot, but always envied the functionality and megapixels of the big SLRs. So I moved up to a Rebel and saw a dip in the creative side as I learned the mechanics of the camera. After a couple years I stepped up to a 7D and saw a similar reaction. Now my desire is a jump to the 5D but at least I know the challenge ahead, and all the while I think back to how simple it was to just point and click while concentrating on the image I wanted to capture. Well anyway, what I really wanted to say was wow – great image of the mountains!

  12. Posted January 15, 2013 at 6:09 am by John | Permalink

    with respect to the comments I’m seeing: I’m way too humble to get offended by people that ask what kind of camera I have

    with respect to the post: it’s funny how people that most often tell me gear doesn’t matter are the ones w/multiple full frame bodies and $1000 tripods ;)

  13. Posted January 19, 2013 at 1:26 pm by Cody | Permalink

    Do you ever use graduated filters? I’ve been looking at them and I’m just curious whether the price tag is worth it. Most forums just say to use photoshop, but I talked to a photographer who works with National Geographic and he says exposure blends or HDRs, in any capacity, are not allowed. So I was thinking it might be a good idea to start working with the same mentality.

  14. Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:40 am by Janet Hilton | Permalink

    Love your work, your eye and your thoughts. As a very amateur photographer, I am learning the beauty is in the shot that we “see” in our head. I’ve learned to look at things in a whole different light. Taking photo’s sweeps me away to a different place and I am so loving it!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and work!

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