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 Alex Evers.
Who are you, Alex?
Hey guys, I’m Alex Evers and I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California.
What do you shoot?
I shoot a lot of sports, but horse racing is my favorite. It’s what made me interested in photography. Shooting the races can get monotonous, so I began experimenting with remote photography. It really makes each race a challenge, because I’m always trying to push the envelope with what I can do.
Over the years I built a collection of cameras. At the Kentucky Derby this year I had 10 remote cameras going on one hardwired line. Having that many cameras insures you get the shot, but also allows you to be creative with some as well. When I am shooting a race without an assistant, I rely on the remotes to get me different angles from a finish, which helps sell more pictures because you aren’t just confined to a horizontal crop.
It also covers me in case I miss the shot with my hand held if its an tight finish and they are spaced apart. On a successful day I will come away with four completely different photos from one race. In a climate now where there are so many photographers, going the extra mile and setting up remotes, or pushing yourself to be creative will separate you from the herd.
What's in your bag?
Below is my setup for an event. Everything fits into two bags and is neatly organized and doesn’t weigh me down too badly.
Cameras: Canon 1d Mark III, Canon 1ds Mark II (x2), 1d Mark II. I shoot Canon because when I first decided to try photography I used my Mom’s AE1 Program from the year I was born. When I got my first digitial (10D and a 80-200mm f/2.8) I went with Canon because I was familiar, and the price was right. I have also shot extensively with the Nikon D3, and it’s a great camera too. What I highly recommend, if at all possible, is to be familiar with both systems. You never know what job you may get and they might have gear for you. Always good to be prepared.
580EX flash. Nothing special, although I dropped it down three flights of stairs and it's stuck and vignettes terribly, but I like it and have adopted it into my style.
Old film snap bag with PocketWizard and remote cables. I build all my own cables and use add-a-taps and male prong to miniphone cables to hook multiple cameras onto one line for remotes.
Hip pouches. One fits a 70-200mm and various other things, the other is The Think Tank Everything Else for my Pocket Wizards, Card Wallet and other remote needs. It also stays in my bag.
Lowepro top-loader bag. I use it for my 300mm f/2.8. Great for travel, and stores my minipods and some extra batteries.
Pelican King case. Stores a lot of gear. I’ll use it for larger shoots or for shipping gear before an event to minimize what I carry on a plane.
Manfrotto 650B monopod. I really like this monopod. It easily holds my 400mm 2.8. I like the snaps better for speed than using the twist ones. It’s really light too, and fits nicely with my Think Tank Airport Security bag.
Think Tank Airport Security bag. This is easily one of the best purchases I have ever made. It holds almost everything (see leading bag picture). It has a TSA approved lock built in, and a lock that allows you to lock the whole bag to something. It's designed specifically to fit the maximum size a carry-on can be. In addition I can slide my laptop in the front pocket and carry my 300 in the Lowepro bag and get away with three carry-ons. Oh, and it rolls really smoothly, and Think Tank lifetime guarantees everything too.
Think Tank Artificial Intelligence bag. Keeps my laptop and all my computer supplies organized and slides into the roller.
Canon EF 400mm f/2.8 II. It’s my go-to lens. I love it. The 400 is really heavy and its bulky to lug around but it produces such amazing images that its worth the work. My photo, “Battle of the Sexes” was shot with it. It allows you to shoot tight but also in low light with the 2.8. I have a digi-camo lens coat on it to protect it from the synthetic race tracks. They are sand-based with wax and it sticks to everything.
Canon EF 300mm f/2.8. Sometimes the 400 is too long, and that’s when I go to the 300mm. It’s much lighter and still maintains f/2.8. It’s a great portrait lens, and my first really nice prime lens. I like the prime lenses over zooms because they are sharper. This is a great lens for portraits too, with the shallow depth of field and compression. The portrait of “Zenyatta” was shot with this.
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8. It’s the industry standard lens. Incredibly versatile.
Nikkor ED 400mm f/3.5. It’s all manual and has an adaptor to fit on Canon bodies. I use it for remotes. It's tack sharp and produces beautiful images. It’s just one more tool that allows me to come up with different angles.
Canon EF 17-40 f/4.0. It’s not the f/2.8 version, but it's sharp almost all the way to the edge of the frame. I use this lens all the time, for both handheld and remotes. The remote shot of "Street Sense" and "Grasshopper" was with this lens.
Zip wire. 18 gauge wire used for hardwiring remote cameras or strobes.
Super Clamp with ball head. Great mounting tool for flashes or remotes.
Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye. One of my favorite lenses. I pair it with my Canon EOS 1DS Mark II, which is a full frame body to make the most of the distortion. “Winning in the Rain” was shot with this combo. It’s a nice lens to get really wide but also to create an interesting perspective.
PocketWizards. I have one transmitter and two receivers. Both receivers have the soft side of Velcro all over them and then I keep a Velcro strap wrapped around them. This is so I can attach them to higher locations. I find that PocketWizards work much better with elevation. With custom built cables I can make them longer allowing for greater elevation from the camera.
Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rocket. CF and business card holder.
Nikkor ED 50mm f/1.4. I have an adaptor on it so that I can throw it on Canon cameras. It’s a great lens for remotes. It has a wide aperture and all my remotes are manually focused so I’m not worried about its lack of auto focus.
Manfrotto Mini-Pods. Great for low angle remote cameras. Light and easy to keep in a hip pouch.
For more of Alex's photography, check out his 500px page
and his website