What makes a great photographer? Besides a good pair of eyes, great intuition, some technical know-how, and sometimes sheer luck, no great photog can do what they do without their gear. And the contents of a gear bag can say a little, or a lot about a person.
The What's in Your Bag series features remarkable photographers from the 500px community and gives us a peek into what they consider their essential tools on the go. This week's feature is Alisdair Miller.
Who are you, Alisdair?
I am a semi pro photographer working in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. My background is in advertising so visuals/digital darkroom/photo shoots/tv commercials are a part of my everyday life. It was six years ago I thought I would give photography a go and bought my first camera, a Canon 350D. I have never looked back and cannot go anywhere without my kit. Photography for me is escapism and the adventure of looking for the next shot. Being all excited about processing it later in the digital darkroom really gets me excited. I love to try and create drama within my images, whether it be the location, the angle or various creative processing techniques.
What do you shoot?
I love to shoot architecture, landscape and industrial settings. I also like venturing out into the world of creative digital manipulation.
What's in your bag?
A lot of the time I don’t have all of my gear with me, but I do make sure I have a variety of lenses as I hate finding a location and not having the right lens. If I'm doing any commercial work, I will have the two cameras in my bag.
Lowepro Pro Trekker 300. I use this bag if I’m out all day, especially if I’m in the desert, as it has a great hydration system built in as well as being really comfortable.
Lee Filters wide-angle filter hood. This is a great piece of kit as it reduces the amount of lens flare on the filters when using a wide-angle lens.
Benro tripod with a Manfrotto ball head. This is a rock solid tripod and ball head. I much prefer stability than lightness.
Marlboro Ultra Lights. Not the best thing in my bag, but they are in there. ;-)
Canon 24-70mm, f/2.8 L. This is my workhorse lens. Solid, fast and sharp.
Canon 17mm TSE f/4 L. This is the best lens I have ever bought—expensive but worth every cent. I use this lens for most of my architectural shots due to the tilt and shift mechanism (correcting the verticals). This lens opens up a whole new world of creativity.
Stranded 3 by Alisdair Miller
This image was three shots merged together. Using the shift mechanism, I was able to cover three areas of the scene: bottom, middle and top. So you end up with a super wide shot.
Pocket Wizard Mini TT & Flex. Intelligent little things! I use these with my Canon Speedlights as well as my Bowens studio lights.
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L. This is not on my camera a lot, but it’s a magical lens. Great for portraits, landscapes, and sports.
Energizer Ultimate batteries. I always carry these as back-ups for my Speedlights.
Hama CF card holder. Got this as I keep losing my CF cards.
Canon 24mm TSE f/3.5 L. Another great lens for architectural photography. Endless creativity with these TSE lenses. This shot was taken using this lens:
Arrival by Alisdair Miller
Canon Speedlights 580EX II. Compact and powerful and great to have in the bag for when you need them.
Canon 1Ds Mark III. Built like a tank. I have dropped this body in the sea and it is still going strong.
Canon 15mm fisheye. This is a wild lens and has to be used carefully due to the massive distortion it creates. But when you have the right location it does wonders, like this shot taken from the top of the Burj Khalifa:
Vertigo Dubai by Alisdair Miller
Canon remote release TC-80N3. This remote has four primary functions: self timer, interval timer, long exposure, and exposure count setting. So it is great for time lapse photography, low light, and long exposure photography.
Canon 14mm f/2.8 II L. A super wide-angle lens that is tack sharp. I used this lens for this lightning strike in Dubai:
Desert Storm by Alisdair Miller
Canon 17-40mm f/4. Not as expensive as the Canon16-35mm but just as sharp. I use this lens for a lot of my landscape shots.
Canon 85mm f/1.2L II. This is a lens sent from the gods. Super sharp and creates dreamlike bokeh. I photographed my daughter with this lens:
Glow by Alisdair Miller
Canon 5D Mark II (with battery pack). I use this camera as a back-up and for any footage I want to capture. Sometimes If I need to take shots and not get that much attention from any security guards, I will use this without the battery pack and pretend I am a tourist.
For more of Alisdair's photography, check out his 500px page