The second most frequent question people ask about my photography is some variation of "what gear do you use?," so I decided I should say something about it.
I'm not really a "gear head," and I don't keep up with the latest and greatest. I'm glad for the range of options available in photo gear, but so much of the "improvement" seems to have everything to do with marketing and little to do with making better images. I certainly appreciate improvements in efficiency, ergonomics, durability, and workflow, but I'm generally not inclined to upgrade something that works for me just because there's another shiny bobble available. I will even admit that I have made fun of people who make very respectable images but think they're crap because the fact that there's a "new and improved" camera on the market is proof that their current camera can't produce anything worthwhile. Honestly, if you could make amazing images with it last year but you can't this year then the problem isn't your equipment.
I also don't buy into the debates and posturing about mediums and brands. A thoughtful photographer should be able to make a thoughtful image with a variety of tools. If the image they make is good then I don't care whether it's film or digital, whether it was made with the latest and greatest DSLR or a cell phone, whether it was shot with a Hasselblad or a Kodak Brownie or a shoebox pinhole camera. If the image is good, none of that makes it worse, and if the image is bad, none of that makes it better. So don't expect me to take a position on digital vs. film or Canon vs. Nikon or any other such silliness. I use what works for me, and I encourage you to use what works for you. I do have my preferences, but I will make thoughtful, intentional images with what ever equipment I have at hand, and if you're a respectable photographer you will do the same.
So, with that little rant out of the way, here is some of the gear behind my images.
I have 5 cameras that I shoot with regularly: a Svedovsky 8x10 field camera, a VDS ultralight 5x7 field camera, a Mamiya 6 MF, a 1950's Mamiya 6 folder, and a Canon 5D (not Mark anything, just 5D). I also shoot with various "vintage" cameras from time to time, and I like to play with novelties like my Lego digital camera and a Gowland 2x3 Pocket view that I've since sold.
It's also worth mentioning some cameras I've used in the past and still have some affection for: A Sinar P 8x10, a Burke & James Orbit 4x5, a Burke & James 5x7 field camera, a Mamiya 645 1000s, a Horseman 985, and a Canon EOS 1 (one of the few 35mm cameras I still own). If you get a chance to shoot with any of those, it will be worth wile.
It's difficult to discuss lenses in a general sense. For my Mamiya 6 MF, there are only 3 Mamiya G series lenses available, but they are some of the most amazing lenses ever made. The Mamiya 6 folder has a fixed D. Zuico 7.5cm lens that's a really incredible piece of glass. For the Canon 5D, the whole range of EOS lense is available, but I shoot 99% of my work with a cheap 50mm, an 85L, and a 100 USM. I also have a 200L that I rarely use and should probably sell.
Things get more interesting for large format. I've tried a variety of lenses over the years, and currently have settled on the list below to get the range of effects I want with 8x10 and 5x7 formats:
|Brand||Model||Focal length||max aperture||Shutter||Covers||Approx. 35mm|
equiv. on 8x10
equiv. on 5x7
|Rodenstock||Sironar N||240||5.6||Copal 3||8x10||35mm||51mm|
|Schneider Kreuznach||Xenar||300||5.6||Copal 3||8x10||44mm||64mm|
|Kodak||Anastigmat No. 33||7.5 in (190mm)||6.3||Barrel||5x7||-||40mm|
I almost always use filters when shooting black and white film. Yellow is my go-to default, but I sometimes use a yellow-green or an orange filter for differen effects. I also frequently use a polaring filter in conjuntion with colored filters. I like Cokin's filter system and use primarily that on my large format equipment, but I use Hoya and Tiffen screw-on filters for my Mamiya G lenses because I can leave them on with the lens cover and bring the camera into action more quickly. I sometimes shoot infrared-sensitive film, and for that I use a Hoya R72 filter.
Processing & PrintingThis list could go on forever, especially since I often experiment with various things. However the following items are staples in my processing and printing workflow: