I like to travel as light as possible so I don’t bring anything I’m not going to get plenty of use from. Three bodies, each of different resolution, five lenses, strobe, rain gear, bags to carry lenses, belt and suspenders to carry the bags and support my monopod. That’s it!
Nikon D4, the current top pro model from Nikon and a great camera body, if a bit (a lot) heavy.
Nikon D700, my workhorse and just a beautiful camera body. The low light quality is still fantastic even though the D700 is getting a bit long in the tooth. With the battery pack it does 8fps when needed, and without the battery pack is something like a manageable DSLR for travel and casual shoots.
Nikon D3x, also getting old like the D700, but still amazing quality with near-medium format resolution.
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 wide angle zoom. On the D700 this is WIDE and offers fantastic performance throughout the zoom range with a constant 2.8 aperture. Great in the pit lane and for landscape work.
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens. My walk-around lens, this beauty is great for every-day work, portraits and landscape images. I don’t use it much at the track, but when I’m away from the races it gets more use than any other lens I own.
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom lens. When I’m at the track, no single lens gets more use than this one, which is what I shoot 95% of pit lane images with and a good portion of trackside stuff, too. I also use it for landscape work, often rotating the camera body to shoot in portrait mode so I can stitch panoramas into hi-res files.
Nikon 500mm f/4 telephoto lens. When I decided to stop renting long lenses to suit a given track’s requirements, I went with the 500 for several reasons. The 400mm f/2.8 and the 600 f/4 are both monsters compared to the relatively light and compact 500. Given the travel and my preference to carry my gear on flights instead of check it, the 500 is very portable while delivering excellent sharpness and contrast. The 500 fits inside my ThinkTank roller, though the carbon fiber lens hood does not and must be checked. The 500 is also light enough that it doesn’t feel like a ton of bricks after a long weekend.
Nikon SB-900 flash. Some really nice advances in the controls over the SB-800, now so easy even I can use it!
Acratech GV2 Ballhead This crazy-looking ball head clamps like a vice and works like a champ at the track and in the wilderness. See my review here.
Manfrotto 680B Monopod No frills, solid piece of kit. Not as light as carbon fiber, but not as fragile, either. Can’t tell you how many carbon fiber monopods I’ve seen with busted bits in the media center.
NIKON MC30 Remote Cable Release I used to use a cheap knockoff until I went to the Southwest and the thing wouldn’t work in the cold temperatures. I’ve never had the Nikon cable fail. Easily worth the extra cost if you ever work outside temperate conditions.
ThinkTank Airport International rolling carry-on suitcase. I’ve been all over the world with this champ of a roller and never had it fail to pass the carry-on test, even in the dreaded Frankfurt Airport. There are some sections of overhead bin space, especially on the smaller commuter planes, that are too small for the Airport Security but any good-sized airliner should handle the International, no problem.
Think Tank Photo belt, harness and bags. I’m a huge fan of Think Tank Photo gear, and this system allows me to carry everything I need around the track. All the bags have rain covers in case it starts to pour, and the zippers etc are great quality.
Think Tank Hydrophobia 300-600 and 70-200 Raincovers Crucial elements of my rain gear, these keep the 500 dry on one body and the 70-200 dry on the other.
Tamrac Adventure 9 and Tamrac Expedition 8 backpacks. They say photographers are suckers for backpacks but I’ve landed on a choice of two. The smaller Adventure 9 is how I carry my laptop, cables etc on planes with the Think Tank roller. The Expedition will carry the 500mm lens with most everything else I need on landscape/adventure shoots where I need the big lens and must carry my gear instead of roll it.
I carry two filters: a B+W 77MM Circular Polarizer Slim Mount Multi Coated Filter and a Singh-Ray Vari-ND Slim.
Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod. Again, no frills, could be lighter, could be heavier (both are desireable in certain situations) but this is a proper, solid, aluminum-leg tripod that is a bit heavy especially for air travel, but which does a tripod’s job of being steady as a rock beneath a camera.
15″ Macbook Pro with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 and Adobe Photoshop CS6 as most often used apps.
I clean my camera sensors (actually the low pass filter that sits on top of the sensor itself) first with a Visible Dust Hurricane Blower and then with Visible Dust Plus Formula Cleaning Solution and Visible Dust 1.0x Sensor Cleaning Swabs.