Wednesday, March 17, 2021

The Gear...

The purpose of this trip is two-fold, of course.

On the one hand, I want to drive the entire length of the longest road in America. I just think that'd be a cool thing to do. It's like when the mountain climber was asked "Why do you want to climb that mountain?" he responded with "Because it's there." I want to drive the longest road in America because it's there, just waiting for me to drive it.

The second purpose of the trip, as you could probably guess, is photography. 

Initially, I surmised that I would load pretty much everything I have into a rented Ford Explorer. We're talking two Pelican cases full of gear, some assorted bags with assorted ancillary gear, maybe even some strobe set-ups, etc.  As it is, though, I'll be driving the Malibu, so available space is now a bit more of a concern, so I'll have to be a bit more discerning in what equipment I pack.

I figure it'll break down like this:

  • Fujifilm X100F - This has become my main "go to" camera when I don't want to carry more bulk. It's proven itself to be a worthy choice.
  • Canon 5D MKIV - This is my newest rig and, frankly, I haven't used it a great deal since I got it. It'll be nice to throw this thing on the tripod for landscape shots when I'm out in the middle of nowhere.
  • Canon 6D MKII - This camera's pretty much a workhorse. I like the fact that it's got an articulating LCD panel, too.
  • Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS MKII L - It's always nice to have the reach of a long lens like a 400mm, although I'm not completely certain how much use I'll get out of this during the trip. I'm thinking I don't want to be left short if I happen upon some wildlife out there on the plains somewhere. Like they say, though, it's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
  • Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L - A medium zoom with a fast aperture is always good to have on hand. I'm planning on trying to do some tattoo shoots along the way during this trip, and this is a great lens for portraits.
  • Canon 24-70MM f/2.8L - This short zoom is great as a "walk-around" lens, and the f/2.8 aperture will also allow me to do interior shooting with only a modest bump in the ISO.
  • Canon 17-40mm f/4L - This is the widest lens I've got, and it's great for landscapes and shooting interiors, as well.
  • Canon 580EX II - This flash unit should do everything I need it to. Even though it's not absolutely ideal for a tattoo shoot, it can easily help bridge the gap between acceptable and "Hey, nice shot!"

That should just about do the trick...

With the exception of the X100F, which will always be within arm's reach, everything listed above should be able to fit into my Lowepro backpack. I may even try to throw the Canon 85mm f/1.8 and the Canon 50mm f/1.4 in there, too.

One of the things I want to try to do more of, and most certainly will if my daughter joins me on the return leg, is video. Now, I recently purchased the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The camera on it is pretty great, although certainly not up to the level of the 5D MKIV. Where the iPhone really excels, though, is in video. Switched to 4K, it's almost cinematic. The video on the 5D MKIV is also fantastic, but the iPhone gets the edge when it comes to being compact and its portability.

Between the iPhone and my Fugetek bluetooth enable tripod/selfie stick, I hope to produce some really nice results:


I guess it's for when I take my "professional" selfies...


If you like doing selfies/videos and want something sturdy and hands free, this is definitely the way to go. I bought mine on Amazon before I went to Italy. I paid $19.99 back then. It's even cheaper now:


Just for fun I just ordered a second one.

Speaking or tripods, for travel photography a good, sturdy one is a must. After all, you'll need one for all of the "Welcome to __________" selfies you're likely to take:


Taken during my Portland, Oregon to Poyntelle, Pennsylvania cross country road trip in 2013...


My Manfrotto is plenty stout enough to handle anything I'm likely to throw at it on a road trip.

I'll probably also throw my Canon shoulder bag in the car for when I'm doing day trips somewhere. After all, if I'm going to see the world's biggest popcorn ball in Sac City IA, or the Salem Witch Trials house, I won't be needing the 100-400mm. With another, smaller camera bag I can pack only that gear which I'll need for a particular day of shooting.

So, that's what I'll have, photographically speaking. I can't think of anything I won't be able to photograph with the gear I'm bringing...

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