Camera gear

The Perfect Camera Bag

Are you happy with your current camera cases or bags? This week my podcast (Master Your Lens) touched on one of the 10 tools that photographers need to take better pictures.  # 10 on the list is camera bags because you can't concentrate on getting great pictures when you are worried about your camera gear how you will carry it.

The last few weeks I've been traveling all over, from South Carolina to visit my family to Tokyo, Japan to speak and have an exhibit. I've used my Lowepro backpack on all of the recent travel and it has been great on these trips. In the past I've had a problem finding a backpack that allowed me to include my laptop and ipad when I travel, something that is always a must for me. My current backpack, the fastpack BP 250 gives me everything I need to be able to travel and carry my gear. 

The other day, I did a hike up to the top of Tokyo's Mt. Takao with all my gear.  I wanted to get a view of Mt. Fuji, but the sun was too bright and you couldn't see it.  I was hoping to get a decent view before it was too late because you don't want to hike down the mountain in the dark. I was about to give up when I saw a cloud start to move toward the sun and it gave me a brief window that allowed me to photograph Mt. Fuji in a beautiful way. 

Photographed with Nikon 810 and the 35mm 1.4 lens

Photographed with Nikon 810 and the 35mm 1.4 lens

Patience paid off this time and I got my shot. I was still hiking down in the dark, which is another story for another time, but it was worth it to get my first images of Mt. Fuji.

To get the list of 10 tools click here:

Always dream big.



Forget the Nifty Fifty: Two Must-Have Lenses

I have always been a fan of the prime lenses, and the 85mm lens is one of my favorites. The Nikkor 85 1.4 lens is  probably one of the best portrait lens ever. Recently, I have taken to the Nikkor 58mm 1.4 lens  and this week I gave both quite a workout. 


Caption: 58mm lens

Caption: 58mm lens

Caption: 85 mm lens      

Caption: 85 mm lens



Caption: 85 mm lens

Caption: 85 mm lens

Caption: 58mm lens

Caption: 58mm lens

There is just something about prime lenses that I have always loved over zoom lenses. There are amazing zoom lenses, but every photographer needs a few great primes as well. The nifty-fifty lens is a staple for many photographers as a standard lens, but the Nikkor 58mm is quite special in a different way. That little extra makes a big difference in seperating you from the pack.


Always Dream Big

What's Inside The Bag?

It seems everyone is curious to know what camera gear professional photographer's use to create their images. A few weeks ago, a potential client sent an email to see if I would be interested in working with their company. The potential client had visited my website but said "can you tell me the type of camera and lighting equipment you use?" She wanted to make sure I had the "proper equipment" to take portraits.

The question made me think of a friend, who is not a photographer and had never used a camera before. He'd purchased a high-end camera along with Adobe photoshop and wanted to take pictures the next day for his company. The next week he called to say, "something must be wrong with my camera. I purchased an expensive camera and two lenses, but the pictures came out terrible." I smiled and said, the camera doesn't make a great picture, the photographer does. When you go to a restaurant, do you ask the chef what type of pots he uses to make sure the food will taste great?"

Great pictures come from trained photographers who take the time to learn how to master the tools of the trade so they can create stunning images. Each professional photographer uses the best gear possible, to create their images, but  the magic comes only when you learn how to use the gear.

So what's in my camera bag?

Nikon 810 camera

Nikon D4s

Nikkor 85mm 1.4 lens

Nikkor 58mm 1.4 lens

Nikkor 35mm  1.4 lens

Nikkor 24mm 1.4 lens

3- pocket wizards remotes

Sekonic L758dr light meter

Profoto B1 strobe

Profoto air remote

X-rite Color Checker

Macbook air computer 


Macbook air presentation dongle connector

two batteries for Profoto B1 strobe

2 - mini silver/white reflectors

handheld fan

mini iPad loaded with MYLIO software

Tokyo subway map

Map of Tokyo, Japan

Air blower for lenses and camera body

Business card with English on one side and Japanese on the other

Black-out eye mask for the airplane

2 - 3 prong to 2 prong adapters

Old mini iPod (yes I still use one sometimes)

2 - 8 gig pen/memory sticks

remote LAV and receiver

Small mirror with black gaffer tape (special lighting tool)

Japanese facial paper

Collapsible travel chopsticks



Always dream big!