I thought that might get your attention. If you follow my online ramblings, you are sure to know that I am trying to get into equine photography. I recently completely shooting my 4th event for the local AERC club, and my gear lineup is getting fairly solid. I figured I’d log it here for anyone else who may be interested in such things.
For this event, I am working from my 2008 Jeep Liberty, which seems to be perfect for such things. I am typically out on unimproved roads or breaking trail to keep ahead of the horses. So far, I’ve not gotten stuck, but I did rip a tire in the Valles Grande Caldera a few months back. The Jeep has this great set of features for mobile shooting: an AC outlet built in; the passenger seat folds flat and can be used from the back seat like a small desk; the windows are dark tinted so I can edit images with little glare; lots of room in the back for gear.
What gear, you ask?
Well, I’m still shooting a Nikon D100. This is an old (in digital terms) body that I bought used about 6 years ago. It’s still working, but is showing its age. I’m right on the edge of being able to outshoot it, so it’s about time for a new model. I carry three 8G CF cards: 133x Lexar Professionals. I also have four spare batteries, all charged and ready to go. Overkill, yes, but they are getting old, too, so don’t hold as much charge as they did when brand new.
For carrying, I’m working with an improvised ‘rapid strap’ sling fashioned from a Dell laptop strap, a couple of carabiners, and some Kevlar string attached to the strap lugs on the D100. This is set up in such a way that I can still use the quick release mounting plate just by disconnecting one ‘biner. I’m also using a Slik monopod with a Manfrotto trigger grip. The sling is attached to both the camera and the monopod, so I’ve got double protection, and can let it lean away from me if I need both hands.
For mobile editing, I’ve brought my 15″ Macbook Pro, a Wacom Intuos 4, and a Seagate 500G portable drive. I also have a 3Dconnexion Space Navigator for use with Google Earth. The MBP is loaded with Bridge and Photoshop, and I upload images through a no-name CF card reader and USB cable.
I’ve loaded up the cache in Google Earth with the local maps for offline use while I’m on the trail. This is very handy when scouting locations. Often, I don’t get a final map of the trail until I’m on site, so I get an overview of the satellite images stored locally, which lets me pick and choose my shooting points more easily. It’s a lot better than driving all over Hell’s half-acre hoping for a ‘better’ spot!
For these events, I also bring a portable Epson 4×6 photo printer for selling on site. I’m still undecided as to whether this particular event is a good match for such a service, but I think it would be perfect for other kinds of events with more attendance.
Also loaded into the Jeep are a 4′ ladder, some sun shades that double as photo reflectors, my cooler for lunch and water, and the usual desert survival stuff: thermos of coffee; small butane stove and fuel; emergency blanket; dehydrated meals; extra water. Cell phones don’t always work out there, and it’s not out of the question to get stranded due to vehicle problems.
So that’s about it. During down times, I try to upload images and back them up before reformatting the cards, and then it’s a quick edit in Camera Raw before printing. If I do this a few more times, it should be really polished, but I’m still tinkering with asset management and work flow.
What would you do differently?