What’s in a Wildlife Photographer’s Bag

hey I’m a wildlife photographer in Stoney artisan and this is what’s in my gear bag when I’m out there shooting wildlife photography around the globe now the first camera that I typically have in my bag anytime I leave the house to go to a wildlife assignment is the Sony a mine now this is a 24 megapixel camera that is capable of shooting 20 frames per second and true silent mode so it will make any sound when you’re out there photographing different types of animals what you really don’t get in any other camera out there in the market I remember the first time that I took this camera to East Africa when I was out there photographing some Wildlife safaris and I was working with a new game driver we went out we’re seeing these beautiful animals or some cheetahs and lions and the game driver kept looking back at me and looking like I was crazy cat give me a little bit of checks here and there and the reality was is that I was shooting the entire time but he didn’t think.

I was taking a single photograph because it was truly silent I think that you don’t really realize how important silent shooting is for wildlife photography until you’re in a vehicle safari vehicle or not with other wildlife photographers when their shutters are going off and it makes a lot of noise so silent shooting with the a9 being able to maintain 20 frames per second is truly a game changer and this also has some of the best autofocus and autofocus tracking itself in the industry so there’s pretty much no time that I leave the house from out there photographing wildlife or I don’t bring my Sony a9 now the next camera I take with me is the new Sony a7r Mark 4 now this is the 62 megapixel camera that is pretty amazing when it comes to both dynamic range as well as your autofocus capabilities now the a9 still has a little bit faster autofocus tracking capabilities but because this is such a high resolution sensor I can actually crop into my images quite significantly being able to use the same lenses but give me the illusion of getting closer to my subjects so when I use aps-c crop mode with this camera.

I get a 26 megapixel image which is pretty much unheard of when you compare it to any other wildlife camera out there so this camera is really good for photographing not only moving subjects but also stationary larger subjects such as mammals big cats bears things like that anytime I want to maximize resolution I always reach for my Sony a7r Mark 4 now what some people might not think of the ace of and our mark 4 as wildlife camera it truly is impressible to what it’s capable of doing not only do you have a great autofocus system and high dynamic range as I mentioned the ability to crop into your images is pretty amazing if you think of most wildlife cameras out there they’re topping out at 18 to 24 megapixels so having 62 megapixels that your ability to crop in as you need is awesome especially when you’re photographing a lot of predators out there we don’t really want to get too close I was actually photographing Alaska coastal brown bears up in Alaska and I had a couple different bears or fighting towards each other and of course I don’t want to get close to that because it’s just not safe so being able to use the same lenses that I have on my camera crop into that 26 megapixel aps-c crop sensor mode and be able to get a full frame proper version of that shot is awesome to be able to do that on the fly I simply customized one of the buttons on the back of my camera so I can jump into that setting anytime.

I want now the next camera that I like to bring with me when I go out in photograph wildlife is actually the sony RX 0 mark 2 now you might ask yourself why am i talking about this camera for a wildlife and gear situation but the reality is that you can’t control how close animals get to you I’ve been in many situations around the world photographing silverback gorillas or even you know birds all sorts of things where they happen to land right next to you and you have this long telephoto lens you can’t actually photograph that image because your lens can’t focus close enough so oftentimes I like having the small rx0 mark to in my pocket for those situations where I can’t control what’s happening but I still want to come away with a beautiful image high image quality and a raw file that I can do something with once I get back home now the first lens I want to talk about is the new Sony 200 to 600 F 5.6 to 6.3 G variable aperture lens now this new lens is pretty amazing both in image quality as well as general portability and part of that is because of all the zoom focusing happens internally inside the lens itself unlike most telephoto lenses that will extend out way past the end of the lens when you start zooming in this actually doesn’t have any of that so as you can see here it is completely confined within the lens itself in addition what’s really nice about this lens is that the zoom ring is actually quite small in the distance you actually have to move in order to go from 200 to 600 so if you’re photographing animal that’s quite close and then all of a sudden.

you see something that’s far away all you have to do is slightly turn this a little bit over an inch and a half maybe even two inches and all of a sudden you’re all the way at 600 millimeters that’s gonna save you time when you’re out there photographing wildlife every second counts now my next favorite lens for wildlife photography is the Sony 400 F 2.8 G master lens now this lens is a work of art if you ask me to be quite honest and it’s actually a technical aaja chol feat when it comes to how this lens was actually designed if you think of most super telephoto fast prime lenses all of the guts of the lens all the mechanics that make it work in a heavy glass is usually distributed throughout the lens what happens is that as you’re holding the ones out there it begins to drop forward because a lot of the weight is forward heavy so this lens was designed when the first lenses designed specifically for mirrorless cameras where all the weight is in the back part of the lens itself this allows you to handhold or have the ability to potentially handhold these super telephoto prime lenses because the lens itself is a couple pounds lighter than all the competition out there this lens a super sharp and being able to shoot at 400 at F 2.8 is truly an amazing experience when you’re photographing you know Lions at two point eight or leopards that background vocals just so buttery smooth it’s truly an amazing wildlife lens to use if you have the ability to pick one up now the final lens that I typically find in my bag any time.

I’m out there photographing wildlife is the Sony 24 to 70 F 2.8 G master lens now the reason I use this lens is similar to why I also have an Rx 0 mark – but it’s for those opportunities where the wildlife gets much closer than I’m initially anticipating most the time I’m out there photographing beyond the 200 millimeter range anywhere between two hundred to a thousand millimeter but every once in a while you have those opportunities where a male silverback gorilla comes in and you know a bird a squirrel something lands way too close for you to be able to photograph and in those situations when I have the ability I’ll throw one of these lenses on one of my extra bodies and just have it just in case those opportunities present itself so that I can still come away with a 62 megapixel image with my Sony a7r Mark 4 but I’m working in a situation where it’s much closer a photograph the next pair of accessories I actually want to talk about is actually the Sony teleconverters now here I have a Sony 1.4 TC as well as the 2 x now what these dudes they allow you to optically increase the range of what you’re able to photograph so these teleconverters can work with certain Sony lenses out there and the 1.4 gives you one stop glass of light so if you’re shooting at F 2.8 you’re now minimum aperture is now f/4 or the two x is a doubling so you take essentially two aperture drops anytime.

you want to use it but giving you the ability to double your millimeter range is quite phenomenal when I’m photographing with let’s say the 402 a tour the 200 600 we just talked about throwing one of these bad boys on gives me the ability to traffic aliy increase that millimeter range I can cover while still being able to maintain beautiful image quality in the process now I also want to talk to you guys about the SD cards that I use out there in the field now as you can see here these are sony tough cards and 128 gigabyte space this is 12 of them in a Pelican case and this is essentially what I use out there in the field and the reason for that is not only because it has incredible performance they have fast transfer rates and read and write speeds but also because they can take a beating I don’t have to worry about these cards working in the environments that I typically find myself out there such as being in Antarctica or above the Arctic Circle up in the north and the Sahara and the humidity in Hawaii these cards could take the beating I don’t have to worry about them now next I want to talk to you guys about a gimbal head now this is essentially a gimbal that sits on top of your tripod or your monopod giving you the ability to stay stabilized while you move throughout a scene where you have a wildlife subject that is moving erratically such as birds in flight essentially what happens that sits on top of your tripod or your monopod and you have a couple different points of control here on the bottom you’re controlling kind of moving around a swiveling around your tripod or at the very top.

you also have the ability to control the tension to move up and down when you mix that with attaching this specific gimbal to the lens collar for the different lenses that you’re using you can essentially move throughout your scene and stay stabilized the entire time which is pretty phenomenal for those situations where again subjects are moving right now next up I want to talk to you guys about this little device called a garment in reach now this is essentially a satellite connected device that connects the satellites up there working around our planet on the Radian network that allows me to send emergency information SOS calling for help if something happens but also just to send messages out to loved ones such as my wife when I’m working in remote climates now it’s important to understand that you need to do your research and know the places you’re going at to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into but for those situations where things kind of go sideways things then go as plan as you envision it it’s always great to have one of these inside your pocket so the last accessory.

I want to talk to you guys about is this little bag from Kinesis now this is essentially a very important product when you’re going on a safari drive or going and working on projects and places like Africa where you’re working in these Safari type vehicles now what it is there’s this empty bag that’s made of resistant nylon as well as you know has rubber on one side so it doesn’t slip and what you do is once you get to a location you fill it with sand or dirt or rice or beans whatever you can get your hands on and if you fill it full enough you can use it to essentially stabilize your camera as they’re shooting out a window so this is really great like I mentioned for different safari type vehicles you can even use it on places like Brazil where you’re photographing jaguar from boats but anywhere you want to use the vehicle as an additional stabilizing opportunity something like this is mandatory to have out there it only cost a couple bucks and I highly recommend.

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