Trucking Along – Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas

The human body is not the only thing that the desert is rough on!

Trucking Along

Trucking Along – Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas
Copyright © 2011 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 28mm, f/14 for 1/80th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

Packing for an Industrial Shoot

After my Lighting a Dungeon (Without a Fire Breathing Dragon) post last week I received several emails asking for more information on the gear that I used and how I packed for an industrial shoot. If you remember a few weeks back I posted about the new Subaru Forester I’d purchased to make lugging my gear a bit easier on my back. The Forester is a great little SUV and gets 25 mpg running around town. It holds all my normal on-location gear in the rear compartment and the back seats will fold down perfectly flat to accommodate my nine foot stands and a roll or two of seamless background paper.

Forester Empty

My normal grip kit for an industrial shoot like last week’s consists of my Gitzo 2541 tripod and Really Right Stuff BH-40LR ball head. I always bring three Manfrotto 6′ light stands (3373 or 5001B) with umbrella adapters, an Avenger collapsible reflector holder, and a 60″ Westcott shoot-thru umbrella, three Photoflex water/sand bags, all of which fits perfectly in a Hakuba 37″ tripod case.

Grip Kit

I also carry four essential light modifiers wherever I go; the 24″ Lastolite Ezybox Hot Shoe softbox, the new Grin & Stir FourSquare 30″ QuadRing Softbox (a new acquisition), three 36″ (David Ziser) Shoot-Thru Zumbrellas and a Lastolite 38″ Diffuser/Reflector kit. Between the soft boxes, umbrellas and reflectors, I generally have everything covered for a normal shoot. All this gear plus my Think Tank Airport Security roller with cameras & lenses fits easily into my Subaru Forester and the rear cargo cover hides it from the prying eyes of would-be thieves.

Forester Fully Loaded

And when the job is just too big for small strobes there’s always the Profoto Acute 2R Kit from my friends at Renting gear you don’t use all the time is always a great option, especially when your cash flow (and common sense) won’t allow plunking down $4000 for these big lights. This 1200 watt-second kit (2 strobes, stands, umbrellas & battery pack) can be rented weekly for about $188 plus shipping. Even if the economy does begin to improve this year, renting your lighting and grip gear is something every photographer should consider.

Gear Friday (The Late Edition) – On a Roll

Yes, I missed a few posts last week but in my defense, its been a buzy crazy January so far! So to make up for it, here’s a Gear Friday (the late edition) post on camera bags.

Think Tank Airport SecurityAt some point in your photographic career (or hobby) you’ll have more gear than you can easily carry in a traditional “over the shoulder” bag like the Domke F-2 (my personal favorite for over 30 years). And if you’re like most of us, this will leave you in a serious quandary over what size, style, material and brand bag to buy next.

There are literally hundreds of camera bags on the market today to choose from and thousands of online reviews to sort through before you can make an intelligent decision. The choices available are simply staggering and finding the “perfect” bag can become an obsession.

On a Roll
After laying out all my gear (including camera bodies, lenses, small strobes, battery packs, batteries, Pocket Wizards,  filters, gels, memory cards, snoots, gobos, umbrellas, tripods, and various cleaning stuff) in my office, it became clear that my aching back was never going to be able to lift and carry even half of this stuff without sending me back to the hospital.

So I turned to one of the best camera bag design teams in the world, the folks from Think Tank Photo. Even though I don’t fly much these days, their Airport Security V 2.0 Roller looked like just the thing to hold my gear and help me transport it without breaking my back.

Airport Security Packed

It’s pretty amazing just how much gear this bag will hold and how well balanced it feels when rolling. I’ve been able to pack all my on-location product photography gear (strobes, battery packs, batteries, Pocket Wizards, cords, umbrellas, snoots, etc.) or my usual Texas Landscape Safari kit (two bodies, four lenses, 1.4x extender, 8 different Singh-Ray filters, geo-tagging GPS, 2-way radios, first-aid kit, etc.), all in one very mobile roller.

Rolling Along
Best of all, the Think Tank Airport Security V 2.0 Roller fits perfectly in the rear of my other new roller, the 2010 Subaru Forester.

2010 Subaru Forester

The Forester is my first AWD (all-wheel drive) vehicle and the handling is unlike any other car or truck I’ve ever driven. It corners like a sports car with very stiff suspension but rides as smooth as can be. In fact, it rides better than my previous car, a 2003 Honda Accord.

But what makes the Forester really special is the rear cargo area and fold down rear seats. Unlike most SUV’s the Forester’s rear seat fold down completely flat, extending the space in the cargo area another 2-1/2 feet. For a “Strobist” this means you can store large light stands or even C-stands, booms, reflectors, soft boxes, flash heads and seamless backgrounds (53″) along with all your other photo gear, in a vehicle that gets 25 miles per gallon.

For a landscape photographer this means you can carry all your photo gear as well as a tent, sleeping bag, backpacks and supplies in an all-wheel drive vehicle with excellent ground clearance for those all-out adventures in far west Texas!