Many of you have asked me over the years as to what gear I use and what other gear I would recommend. I do not want to get into the Canon vs. Nikon (or other camera manufacturers) debate as I believe that most photo gear is extremely capable in the right hands! For all my cameras and lenses I go to Hunt’s Photo & Video: http://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/ because not only do they have great prices, they also have outstanding customer service! Make sure you speak with Gary Farber and say I sent you to him! I also have a link to the store by clicking on their blogroll on the right.
I want to talk about some of the other gear that I can’t live without! I want to stress that I did not receive any products to test for free or even a discounted price. I paid for them and have used them extensively on every trip I do. I want my gear recommendations to you to be un-biased and come from use in the field…..not because someone is giving me a free sample or is paying me. I will only discuss gear that I believe in and trust to make your lives a bit easier and your photographic excursions a bit more fun! The first piece I want to talk about, Hunt’s doesn’t carry (sorry Gary!), but I love to use any time I am near the water! It is the Singh Ray Vari-Neutral Density Filter. I recommend you get this filter in the thin mount, 77mm size, and get a step down ring to 72mm to fit your other lenses. I bought this filter a few years back and use it when photographing waterfalls, streams, or anytime I find myself near the ocean. The beauty of this filter is that it allows you to slow the shutter speed from 3 to 9 stops. I am now able to slow my shutter speed during the day to get the silky look of the water on the crashing waves. The image below of Nubble lighthouse was done using the filter as I was able to slow my shutter speed to 20 seconds, even though it was a sunny afternoon.
The filter allows me to explore some creative scenes like in the “Swirling Leaves” image below. I was able to lower my shutter speed to 30 seconds and capture the leaves swirling around in an eddy on the small creek in Hedden Park, Morris County, NJ.
Without the filter on the image below, I had a shutter speed of about 1 second when I was photographing this lighthouse on the coast of California. By using the Vari-ND filter, I was able to get the shutter speed down to 30 seconds and capture the silky look of the waves crashing around the rocks.
This filter isn’t cheap ($420 for the 77mm thin mount) and now comes in Vari-N-Duo ($440) which is the one I would get today as it has a polarizer built in to help reduce glare! Expensive? Yes. But this quality glass should last you a lifetime and opens up a whole new world of photographic possibilities! I don’t leave home without it!
I am currently working on a discount for Singh Ray filters with a special promo code through me so that you all can get a 10% discount when ordering your own. Stay tuned as I work out the details or e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org any questions that you may have!