We’ve had some questions about our photos and what kind of camera we’re using. Hopefully this post will answer those questions! If not, we can dive into more detail…
About eight years ago, I took a trip to Africa. Before the trip, I decided I wanted a great camera. I did some research, and ended up with Canon Digital Rebel. I was able to take some amazing photos of Mt. Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti when I was in Africa, and my collection of lenses and equipment grew over the years.
When I thought about traveling the Americas and all that I was going to see, I wanted to upgrade. I decided to sell the old camera body and all the lenses, and with the money I made, I purchased a new kit. So, what did I end up with?
Canon 5D Mark III Camera with EF 24-105mm Lens – this is the camera that the majority of our pictures are taken on. I shoot to two separate memory cards, one in RAW and one in low resolution JPG. We do very little post-processing on our photos (sometimes we lighten the shadows, but that’s usually about it) — I’ve tried to learn to make the camera take the right shot; that way I can spend more time taking pictures vs. tweaking things in Lightroom or Photoshop. The lens included in this kit has great range and is a good walk-around lens; I wish it was f/2.8!
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens – I used a similar lens without the IS when in Africa, and it took the best photos. This lens is a monster – to get the IS and f/2.8 it required a lot more glass than the version of this lens I used to own (f/4 and no IS). I’ve used this lens only on a couple occasions so far, but as we get into the jungle of Central America where we’re watching more wildlife, I’m sure I’ll be using it more.
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens – the majority of the photos to date on our blog have been taken with this lens. It just makes things look epic. Great for wide open spaces and panoramas. As we move towards the jungles of Central America, it may see less frequent use.
Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver – when seeking a new camera, GPS was a requirement. I wanted every photo I took to be geotagged. This hasn’t left the hood of my camera since we started.
Canon 270EX II Speedlite Flash – a cheap little flash that I haven’t even used on this trip yet, probably because I go to sleep when the sun sets! I’m sure this will get some more use as we make more outings at night.
National Geographic Expedition MagFiber Tripod – one of few the pieces left over from my original camera kit. Erica bought this for me for my birthday several years ago. I know nothing about tripods, but this one is pretty light weight and has never given me any trouble.
National Geographic Expedition Hydrostatic Head – again, I’m not very knowledgeable about tripods and the heads, but this one has worked great. Easy to lock, extremely stable.
We wanted a camera for video and time-lapse work that was rugged. For Erica’s birthday, she received a GoPro HERO3: Black Edition.
This is a great camera with all sorts of mounts that will allow you to put it anywhere. We’ve made some cool time-lapse videos with it (coming soon), and we also have no trouble taking it out if it’s raining due to the waterproof case. Only downside is that this thing eats batteries. For time lapse in the vehicle, I had to rig a case so I can leave a USB cable plugged in to charge it (I can go into detail about how you can do this if there is interest).
Point & Shoot
Finally, we wanted a low-profile camera that we could take anywhere with us. GoPro could work, but it doesn’t have a way to preview photos (I know, I know — there is an LCD screen you can buy for it, but the camera already eats batteries) or a flash. So, a couple days before we crossed the border, Erica picked up a point and shoot at Costco: Nikon COOLPIX AW110.
UPDATE. THIS CAMERA ONLY LASTED ONE YEAR, WATER LEAKED IN AND CORRODED THE INTERIOR. THE SEAL WAS NOT TOALLY WATERTIGHT. I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND THIS CAMER. This has been a pretty great little camera. It is completely waterproof, has a flash, and can fit into your pocket. We’ve been taking it out more and more when I don’t feel like lugging the giant DSLR around. We’ve also taken out snorkeling with us.
We’ve accumulated many accessories over the last few months. Here are some that we find most useful:
EyeFi X2 Memory Card – a great little memory card that will transfer photos directly to your computer or iPad. I shoot the low resolution JPG to this card (on the DSLR), then we transfer them to iPad to select those for the blog. Absolutely love this and would highly recommend it.
Pelican 1500 Waterproof Case – mainly a storage area for the lenses I’m not currently using. These cases are bulky, but they are waterproof and very rugged.
GoPro Suction Mount – used to mount our GoPro camera to our windshield.
I also have UV filters on all my camera lenses, more in order to protect the lenses than for anything else. I have a couple polarizing lens filters as well that we have used on some of the ocean/sky shots. We also have an IR remote (for extended exposures on the DSLR), an intervalometer, and a battery grip.
Questions? Comments? Fire away..