I’ve been asked by some, how do I get my shots. Well, mostly it’s a random thing, many times I enjoy grabbing my camera bag, through some basic equipment in, and go out. No planned direction, no planned time, no planned destination. I will literally flip a coin, heads= North, tails = South. Then I head that way. I usually take the Coast Hiway, so there is usually the Pacific shore on one side and woods and forests on the other. I let my “travel spirit” guide me. Sometimes it will pull me east and go inland, where I find many natural treasures. Other times I get pulled to a beach or shore area and ramble along the beach, looking not so much for grandiose large views, but looking down a lot and seeing little treasures.
I love being outdoors and when you live in the PNW (Pacific NorthWest) you learn to enjoy all weather. PNW seems to have it’s own outdoor culture that is all about enjoying the outdoors no matter what. My vehicle always has “extra” equipment in it. Hats, an extra coat, rain jackets, and pants, boots, change of socks etc. I like to be ready. I also keep a change of clothes, as I never know if I’m going to do a sleepover, either in my car with mummy bag, or a small motel.
The weather and road conditions can change rapidly here in the PNW. My current vehicle has all-wheel drive, although it’s not considered an “off-roader” it can handle most road conditions as well can take me down less traveled unpaved roads to search for some image treasures. Having no real destination, I’m never in a hurry. I may stop every other mile if I’m in a particularly visually beautiful area, or if I see wildlife in an area. Many times I may only make it 5-10 miles away from home, but there are so many side roads, streams, trailheads, beaches, rivers and parks no matter where you travel in the PNW that you really don’t have to go far. But, sometimes my travels take me the interstate 5 which those of you living on the West Coast know, travels North and South through California, Oregon, and Washington. Going North on 5 in Oregon, you can grab 84 East and travel along the Rogue River which I’ve done, or South and east and, well I’ll save those trips for another post 🙂
When I do go exploring I usually have 2 tripods with me. One is a very inexpensive light-weight just like this one
My main camera is a Nikon D7100 which I’ve had about 2 years and works great. I also have a D3100 and D3200 cameras I use as backups. I use them with lenses so If I’m in the middle of shooting and don’t have to change lenses if the wildlife is moving fast, or scene changes I just grab the other camera.
My go-to lens is a Tamron 18-200. They make good quality mid-range lenses, that won’t break your budget. Gives me a wide range of focal lengths so I can grab pretty much any shot.
- Tamron 150-600mm – This is a great lens for shooting wildlife at a distance. I usually use it on a tripod, as it’s sorta heavy. Comes with the tripod mount on the lens. It is very sharp and sweet spot is about f8
- Sigma 10 20mm This is a great lens for wide angle shots. at 10mm you still get a great landscape, with little distortion which you can adjust in Lightroom.
- Nikkor (Nikon) 40 mm Micro or Macro lens that I use for an extreme closeup of bugs, flowers, plans, raindrops and the like.
- Nikkor (Nikon) 50mm prime lens that I use for low light scenes.
This is a very light tripod, and I love the one hand operation of it, it has kind of a pistol grip and thumb wheel where you can move and lock it with one hand. It’s great for shooting moving wildlife on a day where there is not any heavy wind. It’s easy to add to your pack for hiking up into the woods. Then I carry a big heavy old tripod which I use with longer lenses and on windy days. This old thing would stand up in a hurricane! I usually use only a few 100 yards or so from the car as it’s heavy but it is very stable for long lenses.
Anyway, I didn’t start this post as an equipment list, it just seemed to move that way as I was writing.. and funny thing is, that’s what happens when I travel, I’ll kinda start in a direction determined by the flip that something pulls me the other way lol
Below are some images from some of my travels. If you click on each image it will take you to a larger view. Also sign up to follow this blog, at the end of January I’m putting all the emails in electronic sorter and will pick one to win a free canvas image of mine, your choice. (USA ONLY) Also if you like this post, please comment, even if you don’t 😉