Equipment for the wildlife photographer

What equipment do I need?

One of the most common questions that I am asked is – “I would like to get more serious with my photography, what equipment should I buy to get better pictures?”

Well it is not an easy question to answer as a lot depends on the type of photography that you want to do.  I will address this post from the nature / wildlife photographers area.

Camera

A DSLR camera, one that will take interchangeable lenses. Yes you can use other cameras and I know some great photographers that do. A DSLR allows you to switch out lenses and do upgrades using the same camera body. Also a camera that is at least 8 megapixels is a good place.  If your camera meets the above specifications then I would upgrade other equipment first.

Lenses

A good wide angle lens for landscape and a good telephoto lens for wildlife is a must. You do not need to go with the $14000.00 lens but small improvements in your lens quality and range will help you to properly frame your pictures better. I have a amazing Sigma 150-600 that I LOVE for my wildlife. Well worth every penny!!!

Flash

For nature and wildlife I would stay away from spending on any flashes.  In my opinion more important areas should be updated first.

Tripod / Monopod

If you do not have a good tripod this is an area that you should look at. The cheaper tripods are fine as a platform to hold your camera in bright light but nothing less. A good tripod will hold your camera still and allow you to pan with your lens.  You can use your tripod for long night exposures and also to hold your larger lenses. Monopods are a great option if you like to hike or just need some extra support for a big lens in bright light.  They are cheaper than a tripod and a lot lighter. These are designed to add some additional support when hand holding.

Carrying bag

A good carrying bag is a must to keep things organized and safe.  If you do a lot of hiking get a good backpack and you will never regret it.

Equipment Paterson Photography Lethbridge Eye cup
I bought a larger eye piece for shooting wildlife so it is easier to see through the viewfinder in bright sun

Batteries

Extra batteries are relatively cheap and a great idea.  Nothing is worse than getting out to a location and running out of power.  A in-vehicle charger is also a good idea to charge your batteries if you are going to be on location for a number of days.

Accessories

Other items like filters, remotes, etc can also help improve your photography. My way of telling if I need something or not is if I have needed it at least a couple times I will put it on my list to buy. I NEVER buy something if I don’t need it for some type of shooting.

Image Stabilized Lenses – Gimic or Need

Image stabilized – yes or no??

I get asked a lot about the need for image stabilized lenses. Many people also want to know if a point and shoot camera should have image stabilization.  People want to know if it is needed to get good pictures or just a gimmick and if it is worth the money?

If you would have asked me years ago I would have said outright don’t waste your money. But as I get older and I push my photography limits I have to say that I do like it.

First a little background

Read moreImage Stabilized Lenses – Gimic or Need

Winter Boot Update

WindRiver Outfitting winter boot update

Winter Boot update

Well it has been a while since I got my new boots. So I thought it would be time for an update. I did not want to test them in really cold weather, I would have enjoyed a warmer winter, but that is why I bought them so they did get tested.

If I was to rate them on a scale of 1 – 10 I would have to give them 10.

Once they got through the break-in period, or should I say once my feet got through the break-in, they fit really well. They have AMAZING traction. In fact now that I wear them out for a walks the shoes that I usually wear feel very slippery. On snow and ice they have amazing traction.

-22C, stiff wind and warm feet!!!

As for warmth. In -35C I can stand in one place and my feet stay perfectly warm. I do not need to moving my toes or shift around my feet are warm. As warm as at home with the heat on and wearing slippers. When walking they are also perfectly toasty warm. This is great if you are a photographer and you need stand for a while shooting. With warm feet you will not be rushing to get the shot and get back inside.

Cool feature

One thing that I really like is that there is a pull strap on the back of the boots to help pull on. It is not needed but sure is nice to have. Makes pulling on very simple.

Worth the cost?

So are the boots worth the money that they cost? YES and more. I do not mind paying more money for something that does what it says. These boots do that and more.

Now my issue is that I need to make sure that I carry them with me. I went shooting the other day and forgot them at home. WHAT a difference trying to shoot with cold feet! These are also great to carry if traveling. If you had any car troubles and had these boots with you your feet would be warm till you got rescued. I would also take these if you were camping in cold weather as part of an emergency kit.

Read up on cold weather clothes.

Scanning slides, negatives & prints

I have been scanning slides, negatives & prints for customers for years. When I look back at the original scanners that were available and compare it to today’s scanners I cannot believe how far technology has come. All scans done on state-of-art scanners at the highest resolution. All work done safety in Lethbridge!

A scan from a old 35mm slide, printed and framed with gallery glass.

Read moreScanning slides, negatives & prints

Printing – to custom profile or not, that is the question!

Printing

After reading many posts on various forums about printing and using color profiles (canned VS custom) it got me thinking. I decided to do some tests to see the difference between provided profiles from Epson and paper manufacturers and the profiles that I make.

Equipment:

  • Epson 3880 (x2)
  • Epson P7000
  • Colormunki Photo running the new I1 Studio software

Read morePrinting – to custom profile or not, that is the question!