I posted this photo on my Instagram Stories and Facebook last week as I was getting on a flight, but I thought I would share it here as well because it sparked good conversation in both places.
A lot of people said things such as “good luck carrying that” – which struck me as odd. Yes the bag has a lot of camera gear in, but there’s also 15 litres of additional space for other items too. What you’re seeing here isn’t even nearly the full capacity of the backpack. I’m not going to pretend it’s not heavy, but when its your job you just deal with it. I try and lighten my load whenever I can but I’ve never been under the impression that as a professional outdoor/wildlife/adventure photographer, I’m going to be travelling with anything but a huge load.
I guess those that can’t handle it need not apply for this job? People’s reaction really just got me thinking; do that many people think being a photographers just means cruising around with a camera in your hand all the time? That’s far from the reality. It’s hard work, you sweat, you climb, you hike, you drive thousands of miles every month, fly even more and drags bags, duffles and cases all over the place. It’s not a job for those that shy away from bloody hard work.
Of course disaster can strike when the airline staff ask to weigh your carry-on luggage…
So What’s In There?
What you’re looking at here is the kit that I’ve tended to gravitate towards in recent months. I can’t carry everything at all times, but I’ve found that this particular kit selection is an excellent all-rounder.
- Canon 11-24mm f/4 L
- Canon 16-35mm f/4 L IS
- Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L II
- Canon 100-400 f/4-5.6 L IS II
- Canon 400mm f/4 DO IS II
- Canon 1.4x Extender
- Canon 2x Extender
- Canon 5D Mark IV
- Canon 7D Mark II
With this set of lenses I have everything from 11-800mm in full frame terms, so I’m well covered for everything from landscape to wildlife photography. The stunning little 400mm f/4 DO IS II takes the extenders incredibly well, so that really adds a great deal to this package. Of course, there’s also the additional reach of the 7D Mark II’s crop sensor, which delivers a FOV equivalent to 1260mm!
Obviously the 11-24mm is there for landscape photos, such as adventures to ice caves, and I also take the 16-35mm just in case I need to use filters, since the bulbous glass of the former lens prevents the usage of screw-on filters. The 24-70mm is a stalwart, and stays on the camera most of the time. I find use for it in most situations, and the f/2.8 aperture just about qualifies it for astrophotography if you’re using a full frame camera like the 5D Mark IV. I usually use the 100-400mm for long lens landscapes in the mountains, but it’s also a killer lens for event photography and action sports. On the long end of the scale, the diminutive 400mm DO lens continues to win me over, primarily because of the small size. The fact that it isn’t even as wide as my bag means that I can pack it in the bottom and just forget about it. Once a lens is long enough that it requires being packed vertically in a bag instead of horizontally, it totally changes the way in which you have to pack your bag.
You might think that the 400mm isn’t necessary with the 100-400mm, but that extra stop of light makes all the difference at dawn and dusk when looking for wildlife. Also, the 100-400mm II lens is famous for actually being about a 100-370mm lens if you actually test it. When that fact is combined with the stellar performance of the 400mm with the 1.4x extender, I really find the two lenses actually compliment each other very nicely.