Tools of the Trade
A lot of photographers say that it's not about the gear. Not me. I love to geek out on gear. Creative people need good tools to make their best work. This is what I use...
I shot with Canon cameras for almost 30 years before switching to Sony three years ago. I love the image quality and utility of the Sony gear. The a7R3 is my main workhorse, but I also employ a Fuji X100F and two drones to create images that I am proud of. The link below will take you to an external website, kit.com, where I have a very detailed list of everything I use to make photos. Click below to open.
I don't geek out as much over computers, but I do love my Apple gear. I have used Apple computers and portables for decades now and they embody my preference for simple elegance. You can argue all you want that other computers are just as good and I'll just nod. Do what you do and I'll keep doing what I do. If you are curious about my computer kit, the button below will open my kit.com page for it.
Clothing & Footwear
You could go out naked and make photos, if that floats your boat. Me, I prefer to don comfortable and useful clothing and footwear so I don't freeze to death. I am probably just as geeky about this stuff as the camera gear. I love outdoor clothing technology and I enjoy exploring the latest gear in search of the perfect protection from the elements. I have no desire to suffer for my art. Click below to check my kit.
Brands I Trust & Some Deals for You
Having spent three decades making photos, I have formed some pretty strong opinions on gear. I have also forged some strong allegiances to a select bunch of companies that have proven to me personally that thoughtful design, impeccable construction, and respectful customer service are still to be found in the age of cheap crap. The companies listed below make products I rely on and believe in. To make this list these companies have to have their craft dialed and their culture curated. They need to respect their employees, customers and as much as possible, the environment. If the companies I have grown to trust have affiliate programs, I will mention it in the description. By clicking through on the links below you may be using my affiliate deals, which I will only pass on if they don't cost you anything extra. By purchasing products and services through these links, you help me earn small commissions on the sales. One thing you can count on with me is this... I will never endorse a product I don't believe it and stand behind. These folks are the real deal!
Patagonia - I began wearing Patagonia clothing in 1990 when I bought a fleece pullover and a rain jacket. Both pieces were very spendy items for a guy just wrapping up college, but I figured they would last a long time. They both served me well for years and I passed them on to friends who may be using them still. I have owned many Patagonia items over the years and chances are on any given day I am wearing something from the company. The gear is always well designed and made, and the company invests a lot in environmental efforts to mitigate their impact on our collective health. If the price tag of Patagonia gear gives you pause, (as it does for me), I would urge you to cruise their online web specials where you can routinely score 50% discounts. If you live near a Patagonia store, they will have a used rack in the back of the shop where you can find returned and used items at a huge discount.
Peak Design - I have a problem with camera bags. I love them, but I hate them. I have purchased so many over the years and no single bag has been the perfect match for every occasion. What I have learned by owning so many bags, pouches, cases and straps is I need different bags for different occasions. Sometimes I need a big backpack that will hold camera gear and some extra food and clothing. Sometimes I just need a little sling to slip a drone and my little Fuji into. Sometimes I prefer shoulder bags, other times I really want the load on my back. No matter what, I need that bag to be simple and elegant. I need it to not look like a camera bag. I need it to be made of materials that hold up to bad weather and rough surfaces. I need zippers, pockets, buckles, straps and flaps that have very clear purposes. That may sound silly, but most camera bags have things that exist only to make them seem more "photo-ey". When it comes to bags and straps that meet my incredibly high standards, I turn to Peak Design. This little company out of San Francisco is dedicated, and I do mean dedicated, to making the best carry solutions. Their line of messenger bags, slings, and packs are impeccable. I own almost everything they make, and I use them often. Their Everyday Backpack is the only bag they make that I have not fallen in love with. I just don't like how it holds my gear. But that bag is just fine, I think my style of packing is just not in line with the functionality of that particular bag. I do use it as a daypack, though, so it's not useless to me. I use their Everyday Messenger bags (both of them) to carry my laptop (15 inch bag) and cameras (13 inch bag). Their slings are amazing. Both (10 Liter and 5 Liter) find use often hauling my Mavic Pro drone and Fuji camera. Their straps are the very best, (I use the leash and cuff straps all the time), and their pouches are incredibly useful for organizing small items I always need to carry. Check out their products here.
Really Right Stuff - Tripods are not items a lot of photographers geek out about. I have found that when I encounter a photographer who hates tripods, they almost always consider the problem that tripods in and of themselves are a pain in the ass. When I meet photographers who use Really Right Stuff tripods and ballheads, they never complain. Instead, they are off shooting amazingly sharp images in unforgiving conditions. RRS gear is designed and built here in the U.S., and each piece is a silky smooth piece of art. I have a RRS tripod, two large bullheads, (one lives on my monstrous Gitzo tripod), their travel clamp, table top tripod, panoramic gimbal, and two L-brackets. Each of my RRS tools are absolutely dependable. I enjoy long exposure and panoramic photography, and I find their support gear is easy to use and always gives me great results. Is it expensive? Yup. Crazy expensive. They embody the phrase, "Buy Once, Cry Once", which is a lesson many photographers learn far too late. I purchased many tripods and gnashed my teeth at their shortcomings before finally discovering RRS. Had I just invested in their gear early on, I would have saved myself some money and a lot of grief. Check out their products here.
Fujifilm - I only own one Fuji camera, (the lovely little X100F), but they are the camera maker I recommend the most. I was introduced to Fujifilm several years ago when I bought the marvelous X100S. It was my first mirrorless camera and I fell in love with its image quality and incredibly friendly design. After moving into the X-T1 lineup and buying a lot of Fuji lenses, I sold off all of my Fuji gear when I switched my main camera kit from Canon to Sony. I still rely on my Sony cameras with their amazing image quality and mountains of pixels, but I found myself missing the ethos of the Fuji cameras. I missed the lovely film simulation JPEG modes and the easy menu system. I have picked up a Fuji X100F that I adore and use often as my walking around camera. I appreciate the company's dedication to their customers and I wish Sony and the other camera makers would copy them. If you are looking for a great, durable and friendly camera system, you really can't go wrong with Fuji. If I didn't shoot Sony, I'd be exclusively a Fuji guy. Check out their products here.