DSLR Camera Bodies
This is my main camera body, that I use for landscapes and portraits. It's an awesome full frame camera, with great low light performance and at 24 MP, I can print as large as I want.
The crop sensor D500 is more than just my backup body. I purchased it for its super fast 10 frames per second and huge buffer, which can hold over 200 RAW photos if you're writing to the XQD card. (If you are using an SD card instead or as well, then you will be limited by the speed of your slowest card). That makes this a fantastic camera for photographing wildlife and birds, as well as for action shots when I'm doing pet photography. The crop factor increases the reach of my longest telephoto lens from 600mm to the equivalent of 900mm, as well, which is another major bonus for photographing animals.
Nikon D7100, Converted to Infrared
Now, this is fun. When I replaced it with the D500, I almost sold my D7100 to offset some of the cost, but then I decided to have it converted to infrared, a decision I haven't regretted at all. The conversion was done by LifePixel, and they were fast, affordable and very helpful. I am fascinated by the otherworldly photos I can create with this camera now, and it has given my inspiration and creativity a huge boost. If you are finding yourself stuck in a rut, I highly recommend exploring photographing light outside of the visible spectrum. If you don't have an extra camera sitting around, waiting to be converted, they sell brand new converted cameras as well. See some of my infrared photos here.
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Not my favourite lens, but probably my most used. It is sharp and versatile, great as a walk around lens, or for portraits in tight quarters.
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S
My favourite portrait lens, for tack sharp subjects with beautiful background blur. I have some primes I like a bit better, but for photographing moving subjects (like dogs), the zoom is essential. I always mean to use this lens more for panoramic landscapes, but I never remember...and as my most expensive lens, I'm often hesitant to bring it along on adventures. See Portrait Example.
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED
Acceptably sharp, good, wide focal length for landscapes, and yet...meh. This lens just doesn't do it for me. I chose it over the 14-24 f/2.8 because the front element doesn't bulge, and you can use filters, which is a pretty valid reason. Unfortunately, the f/4 aperture isn't really wide enough for astrophotography and mine has some funky flare at night, anyway - which my research has shown is a common problem of the lens. I was on the verge of selling it, when I discovered that it does work well with my infrared converted camera, while lenses that I usually prefer have hot spots when stopped down. So...for now, it stays in my bag. Grudgingly. It doesn't suck, but it doesn't impress, either. I include the link because it's not a bad buy, in fact, it is the right lens for certain situations, but tbh, wouldn't buy it again if something happened to mine.
Tamron 150-600mm F/5-6.3
My main lens for photographing birds and wildlife. It weighs a ton and it gave me tennis elbow (or telephoto elbow, as I call it), but I love it. Mine is the older version and the new one apparently kicks this one's a**, but I see no reason to replace it for now. Be forewarned, it is not weather sealed, and there is obvious dust on the inside of mine, but in fairness, I am not especially careful. I am also shooting wide open with this lens 99% of the time, so the shallow depth of field takes care of the dust specks for me. Example Image.
Laowa 15mm f/4 Wide Angle 1:1 Macro Lens with Shift
This is such a cool lens. You can focus on things that are practically touching the front element, which can be difficult, but when it works, the results are amazing. I love it for funny, bobble head pet portraits as well, although manual focus can be challenging with moving subjects. The shift feature is an added bonus that takes this lens over the top. You can shift the lens up and down, to combat wide angle distortion and straighten up vertical lines. This makes it a very affordable solution for anyone interested in photographing architecture or real estate, but not ready to invest the big bucks for a real tilt shift. On a full frame camera, there will be some black vignette when you shift, but on a crop sensor you're golden (although the focal length will be more equivalent to around 23mm). The extreme wide angle of this lens even makes it a contender for night photography, although the f/4 aperture is not ideal. Example of the shift feature and Wide Angle Macro.
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED
I purchased this lens when I realized that my 16-35mm sucked for astrophotography and I wanted something faster than the Laowa 15mm f/4 and wider than the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8. I have only had the opportunity to use the lens for astrophotography a couple of times so far, but I have been quite pleased with the results. See Example.
Lensbaby Velvet 56mm f/1.6 1:2 Macro
Gorgeous, smooth bokeh and dreamy soft focus wide open. 1:2 macro capability, tack sharp when stopped down...I love this lens, but I love the 85mm version even more. See Example.
Helios 44-2 58mm f/2
This is a used, Russian lens. They are common as muck and accordingly priced - everyone should have one of these little babies in their bag. It is a fast, manual focus lens that creates a very pleasing swirly bokeh effect. I ordered mine off eBay, but Amazon has them, too. If you pay more than $50-60 USD, you're getting swindled. Requires an adapter to mount to Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc. Example Image .
Lensbaby Twist 60 f/2.5
Basically, a brand new, modern version of the Helios lens. The swirly blur is a bit more pronounced and the quality more consistent and reliable, but then, you could buy half a dozen Helios duds and still spend less. In other words, it's a little bit better but quite a bit more expensive (though still relatively affordable). Example Image .
Lensbaby Velvet 85 f/1.8
Love, love, love this gorgeous lens. It has pretty much replaced both my Nikon 85mm f/1.8 and the Lensbaby Velvet 56 in my bag. The bokeh is beautiful, the focus is sharp, and the focal length is perfect for portraits. It also has 1:2 macro capability and is an easier focal length to work with than the 56mm. Example Image.
Nikon AF FX 85mm f/1.8G
Another amazing, fast, sharp lens that I never use. I tend to like zooms for pet photography because my subjects are always moving. If I feel like using a prime, I'm usually going to go for one of the Lensbabies that will give a different effect. I'll probably sell this lens someday, and replace it with a longer focal length macro. Great lens, but I've got the focal length covered.
Yongnuo YN-560 IV Flash Speedlite
I have three of these units, that I purchased to upgrade from the YN-560 II's that I had before. The older ones still worked fine, but needed triggers and receivers and I couldn't adjust from the camera. The beauty of the 560 IV's is that they have built in receivers and they work with the 560 TX trigger, which can control and adjust several lights from right on camera. (So I don't have to keep walking across the room to change output). They are super affordable and they do the trick.
YONGNUO YN560-TX Manual Flash Transmitter and Controller
This is the controller for the YN 560 IV speedlights, mentioned above. It doesn't really come with any instructions, which is awkward, but once you figure it out, it's ok. Don't try to figure it out on the day of a shoot, unless you thrive on stress and frustration. Also, don't try to figure it out after a few glasses of wine.
YONGNUO TTL Flash Unit Speedlite YN568EX
I bought this one for the high-speed sync, but I use it rarely and when I do, it's usually just in a cluster, slaved off of the 560 IV's. It does not have a built in receiver for the YN 560 TX controller. High-speed sync probably isn't as useful as you think it is.
Yongnuo YN-14EX TTL Macro Ring Light
I purchased this one for my 15mm macro lens, but guess what? It doesn't work because the lens is so wide and the focal distance so close that the subject ends up right inside the ring, completely shaded and the light all goes behind the subject. I really got to use it for macro while reviewing the Laowa 60mm macro lens, and it was great for that. A ring light can also make for a pleasing effect in portraits and it creates unique, circular catchlights in the eyes.
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