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My Gear

Camera

Nikon Z7

I absolutely love this mirrorless camera. The Nikon Z7 includes a whopping 45.7 megapixel sensor (image resolution is 5504x8256), which gives so much room for cropping in post-production. For most use cases, that many megapixels is overkill, but since I like to print big, the high resolution allows for highly detailed massive prints. In-body stabilization is a huge plus as well. The low light performance is outstanding. It also includes a tilting, touch sensitive LCD screen on the back, which is helpful when taking shots at a long angle. The camera itself is also pretty lightweight and compact, which makes it great for hiking/backpacking. Finally, it has excellent weather sealing, which is crucial for fall/winter shooting in the PNW.

I know I'll be using this camera for a long, long time as it is perfect for what I need. The only downside is the price, but if photography is your main hobby and you can afford the splurge, I guarantee you will not be disappointed. For those of you who want to experience Nikon's mirrorless offerings at a lower price point, look into the Nikon Z6, which is significantly less expensive but is equally well received.


Lenses

Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4

While I mainly prefer to shoot telephoto, I also shoot wide angle a fair amount. I've owned a few different wide angle lenses over the years but this Nikkor 14-30mm is definitely the best one I've had pleasure of using. The image quality produced by this lens is remarkable. Images are sharp corner to corner and there is very little distortion. It is also super light and compact compared to its competition, which is crucial for hiking/backpacking trips.


Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4

This Nikkor 24-70mm lens is offered as part of a kit when you purchase the Nikon Z7. Like the Nikkor 14-30mm, the image quality is spectacular. This is probably my second most used lens and is perfect for most landscape photography situations. I never leave this lens at home when I'm out hiking.


Tamron 70-210mm f/4

This is my most used lens. Image quality is excellent and the ability to use f4 at any focal length is immensely helpful when shooting pre-sunrise or post-sunset in the blue hours. Like the Nikkor 24-70, I never leave my Tamron 70-210mm at home and it is almost always the lens that is attached to my camera when I head out to shoot.


Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 G2

This lens is absolutely massive and I love it. Again, image quality is superb and it is so fun to use when photographing sunrise or sunset from atop a peak. The ability to zoom in on tiny pockets of light, or on the horizon to capture layers upon layers, is a real treat. It is also great for wildlife photography. While the Tamron 150-600mm G2 is not my most used lens due to the size/weight, it is without question my favorite shoot with. I usually find myself planning photography adventures around being able to bring and make full use of this lens.


Nikon FTZ Adapter

This adapter is needed to use any F mount lenses on the Nikon Z series, which has a Z mount. I use this with both of my Tamron telephoto lenses.


Tripods and Ballhead

Manfrotto 055 Carbon Fiber Tripod  - MT055CXPRO4

This is my go-to tripod for most shooting outings. While it is a little bit heavier and takes up more space than the Peak Design Travel Tripod, it is more sturdy so it is my tripod of choice whenever I'm planning on shooting panoramics, or I think it will be a bit windy out and I need the extra support to reduce camera shake. Perhaps my favorite feature is the ability for the Center Column to orient at a 90 degree angle (pictured), which is an invaluable feature when getting low angle shots with your subject inches from the camera.

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT TRIPODS:  if you are just getting into landscape photography and are in the market to purchase a tripod, this is one of the items you do not want to cheap out on. I made that mistake on my first two tripods and spent maybe $70 total on each. They worked OK in perfect conditions, but they did nothing to stop my camera from shaking in the wind or on long exposures, which was detrimental to image quality & sharpness. Save yourself time and energy - save up to purchase a high quality tripod right out of the gate. Besides lenses/camera bodies, high quality tripods are one of the few purchases you can make that will increase the quality/sharpness of your images. As the saying goes, "buy nice or buy twice".....or 3 times in my case.  


Manfrotto XPRO Magnesium Ballhead - MHXPRO-BHQ6

An excellent all-around ballhead. I use this on both tripods and have no plans to upgrade anytime soon. Just like the tripod legs, don't cheap out on your tripod head.  Save up and buy a high quality head (like this one).


Peak Design Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod and Universal Head Adapter 

This is my newest tripod and I've only used it a few times so far. With that said, I'm very impressed with the build quality. It is also lightweight and packs down small so it is my go-to tripod whenever I'm backpacking and need to save weight/space for other items. It isn't quite as sturdy as my Manfrotto tripod, but nonetheless, the weight to sturdiness ratio is excellent. The Universal Head Adapterallows me to use the Manfrotto ballhead with these tripod legs.


Bags

Atlas Athlete Camera Pack

This is my go-to hiking backpack. I spent an unhealthy amount of time researching camera bags for hiking, and this one checked the most boxes.  The Atlas Athlete is lightweight, holds a ridiculous amount of gear, and most importantly, it is very comfortable.  If you're in the market for a hiking backpack and the Atlas Athlete doesn't seem right for you, I recommend also checking out the Shimoda Explorer 40 as it is around the same size and is a good alternative. 


Shimoda Action X70

Full review TBD. I recently purchased this backpack and haven't had the chance to use it yet. This will likely be the backpack I use on 1-3 night backpacking trips as it can hold more gear than my Atlas Athlete. 


Photography Accessories:

Gobe 82mm Neutral Density (ND) Filter - 10 Stop

Neutral Density filters reduce the amount of light that reaches your camera's sensor.  There is a huge range of strengths, starting at 1 stop and going all the way up to 15 stops. I use this 10 stop filter whenever I'm going for super long exposures (e.g. 30+ seconds) in the middle of the day. 


Gobe 82mm Circular Polarizing Filter

If a landscape photographer was only allowed to use one filter, I would recommend that it be a circular polarizer. A polarizing filter is able to significantly reduce glare on bodies of water, but also has the added benefit of boosting contrast and increasing saturation.


Sensei Pro Step-Up Filter Rings (67mm-82mm and 72mm-82mm)

Since my filters are all 82mm but not all of my lenses are that wide, these step-up rings allow me to use the same 82mm filter on all of my lenses.


Tycka Filter Pouch

I purchased this filter pouch when I first got into landscape photography, and I haven't felt the need to upgrade since. 


Really Right Stuff L-Plate Set for Nikon Z7 (or Z6) Camera

If you haven't purchased an L-Bracket for your camera yet, you are missing out. When you finally pull the trigger, it is one of those items you'll wonder how you ever lived without. Really Right Stuff makes some of the best camera gear in the industry and this L-Bracket is no exception. It even comes with a magnetized hex key wrench.


Peak Design Capture Camera Clip V3

The Peak Design Capture Clip is an accessory that I cannot live without. As shown in the pictures, this allows you to carry your camera on your shoulder in lieu of carrying it with a camera strap around your neck. I used to use a camera strap while hiking and inevitably my neck would start to hurt or chafe so I started looking for another solution. Eventually I discovered this product and it completely solved that problem. I consider this item a must-have for any hiker that is into landscape photography. Buy it. Seriously. You won't regret it.


Nikon Remote Shutter Release

This allows you to trigger the shutter without touching the camera, which is critical whenever you want to minimize camera shake.  I don't always use this, but it is always in my bag when I leave for a shoot. If you don't have one, I would highly recommend prioritizing the purchase of a Remote Shutter Release as it will improve your image quality/sharpness in windy conditions. 


Sony XQD 120GB Memory Card and Sony XQD 32GB Memory Card

The file sizes produced by the Nikon Z7 are massive (about 55MB each), so having a large memory card is crucial. I use the 120GB on a daily basis and the 32GB sits in my bag as a backup in the off-chance the 120GB card fills up or has a failure while out shooting.


Nikon Rechargeable Li-ion Battery (EN-EL15b)

Self explanatory. I have two of these batteries and I keep a fully charged spare in my bag at all times.


Shimoda Explore Accessory Case

I use this to organize all of my accessories (spare SD cards, batteries, remote shutter release, etc.). I bought this one because of the color (seriously) and one side has a see-through panel so you can easily tell where everything is without opening it up. I purchased the medium size because it meets my needs, but they also have a small and large. 


Post-Production & Photo Editing

Sony XQD/SD Card Reader (USB 3.0)

Dual SD and XQD reader. This thing exports the hefty RAW files from the Nikon Z7 with tremendous speed, which ends up saving me a ton of time. You can definitely get away with a less expensive card reader, but you get what you pay for in terms of speed with this thing. 


Color Calibration: X-Rite ColorMunki Display

This is an absolutely critical component of photo editing if you ever plan on printing your photos. The colors you see on your monitor screen are often incorrect, especially if you've never calibrated your monitor in the past. Before I learned about the importance of color calibration, all of my prints came out with deeply saturated pinks that looked nothing like the edited photo on my monitor. Turns out my monitor was uncalibrated and was desaturating pinks so I was increasing pink saturation significantly during the editing process to make it look correct on my screen. I didn't realize I had this problem until I calibrated my monitor. Highly recommend purchasing one of these if you have any aspirations of printing your own photos.


Adobe Lightroom

My go-to photo organizer and editor. There are a few other similar programs out there but I enjoy the Adobe ecosystem.


Adobe Photoshop

I use photoshop maybe 5% of the time. It is a powerful tool, but admittedly, I haven't spent that much effort getting to know it since I find that Lightroom tends to be the perfect solution for my needs.


Outdoor Clothing

Tops

Outer Layer - Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket

I've owned many down jackets over the years and this is the best one yet. It is very lightweight and comes with a stuff sack, which packs down quite small. In winter shooting conditions, I usually layer this with a Patagonia Capilene base-layer shirt and the Arc'teryx Atom LT and I'm toasty warm. I've worn this combination down to about 20 degrees Fahrenheit without any issues. The Rab Microlight Alpine also works well as a casual around the town jacket, which I value highly.


Mid Layer - Arc'teryx Atom LT

Definitely my favorite jacket. In fact, I own two of them - one with a hood, and one without. During spring/fall hikes, this tends to be my outermost layer and in winter, this tends to be my mid-layer. While not waterproof, it has excellent water repellent properties and is my go-to jacket around the town on typical PNW winter days (mid/upper 40s, light drizzle). Arc'teryx knocked it out of the park with this design, which explains its popularity.


Rain Shell - Marmot PreCip Eco Jacket 

The Marmot PreCip Eco is lightweight, packs down small, and isn't super expensive. I usually bring this with me whenever I'm shooting, unless the weather forecast calls for perfect sunny weather. The weather in the mountains can change fast so it doesn't hurt to always be prepared.


Hiking Shirt / Base Layer - Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Hoodie


This is my hiking shirt / base layer on almost every hike I go on. The hood is a nice touch as it helps protect the back of your neck on those sunny days. It does an excellent job wicking sweat/moisture off my body.


Bottoms

         

Cold Weather Hiking Pants - REI Activator V2 Soft-Shell Pants 

My go-to hiking pants for fall, winter, early spring, and for most sunrise/sunset adventures. They are very warm, especially when paired with long underwear. They have good flexibility and don't restrict movement. These pants also have a water resistant fabric with durable water repellent, which does a great job of keeping me dry in typical fall PNW weather/drizzle. 


Warm Weather Hiking Pants - Prana Stretch Zion Convertible Hiking Pants 

I use these hiking pants for most summer backpacking trips and I convert them to shorts on hot day hikes. 


Footwear

Hiking Boots - Arc'teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX

I'm a huge fan of these hiking boots. They are incredibly lightweight, waterproof, and breathable. 


Hiking Socks - Darn Tough Merino Wool Boot Sock

I've tried many hiking socks/brands over the years before finally buying a pair of Darn Tough. There is no doubt they are fairly expensive for a pair of socks, but in my opinion, they are the best hiking socks on the market and are worth the money.  As mentioned earlier,  buy nice or buy twice. 


Accessories

Cold Weather Gloves - Vallerret Markhof 

These gloves are insanely warm, so I typically use these in the winter or in the shoulder seasons when I know I'm going to be exposed (e.g. shooting atop a peak). The removable finger tips on the thumb and pointer fingers are a necessity to control your camera. 


Cold Weather Hat - Smartwool Merino Sport 250 Cuffed Wool Hat

This beanie is extremely comfortable and keeps my head warm during cold weather shooting. What else can you ask for?


Outdoor Items/Accessories

Garmin Fenix 5s Plus

I always have this watch on me while hiking. It has maps built into it with GPS so I can see exactly where I am. In my opinion, it also looks good so I wear this frequently to work and around town. 

Garmin in Reach Explorer+

Fairly expensive, but a small price to pay to have peace of mind when adventuring. Everyone should have some form of GPS with the ability to reach the outside world, especially if you are backpacking/shooting solo. You never know when you'll need it, but you'll be glad you do if you ever find yourself in an emergency. 

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