For those of you who want to gain a little more insight in what gear I use and how I work here is a fun piece for you. Found this blogpost with 10 questions to ask a photographer. Thought that it would be a great idea to interview myself using these questions. It’s meant as an informal interview just for fun. So for those of you who want to get to know me a little more, here it is.
What kind of gear do you use?
This is a rather long section.
Camera and lenses
My main camera brand has been since 2003, Nikon, and for lenses I use Tamron’s SP-range. The basic kit I use is as follows:
– Nikon body (currently the Nikon D800)
– Tamron’s SP 28-75 f2.8 and SP 70-200mm f2.8.
– Nikon AF 50mm f1.8D
– Nikon AI 28mm f3.5.
I also carry a Sigma 2x teleconverter for wildlife work.
In my bag also goes a Nikon SB-28 speedlight. I trigger the flash with the help of a radio trigger on my camera. The flash is exclusively set to manual mode. For lightmodifier I also carry a Lumiquest Softbox III. Sometimes I also carry a 5 way reflector to bounce light back into my subject.
To control exposure and add effects I use Kenko Circular Polarizer, and Formatt Hitech resin filters. My kit is:
– Formatt Hitech 85 Series modular filter holder
– Formatt HiTech ND-Grads
– Formatt HiTech ND StandardND-grad filters
I mainly handhold them (see this post). This is quicker and easier when one needs to work with speed in the field. If I need to slow down the exposure I use ND-standard.
For support I use Redged tripod-legs and Giottos MH-5001 3-way head. I’ve tried working with a ball head. Have used and own a Redged RNB-1, but for me and my type of work I prefer the 3-Way head. It’s also more precise in the movement compared to the RNB-1 ballhead. The 3-way head also spots a quick release plate that’s easier to use. Tend to find the Acra Swiss lock of the RNB-1 more cumbersome.
Bags and backpacks
To carry my gear I use different bags and a backpack depending on what type of shooting I’ll be doing. For easy location work like a portrait or a concert I prefer the Lowepro Nova 5. An discontinoued bag which was the first large bag I bought back in 2003.
For hiking to landscapes, this bag is way too cumbersome. Here I use the Lowepro Vertex 300AW (discontinoued) for my main backpack. When I work in moist environments the Lowepro DryZone Rover (discontinoued) is my backpack of choice. I also use it for shorter trips when I need to bag some extra personal gear. The DryZone Rover also come set-up for a hydration system which I like. The included hydration bladder it’s not a CamelBak, but you can change it if you want.
Which is your favourite lens? Why?
My favourite lens has to be my Tamron SP 28-75mm f2.8. As I mostly do landscapes, this lens covers most of my bases. It has the wideangle, the normal and the short tele. It’s also a sharp lens with little distortion or chromatic aberration. The lens is not the most up to date. No vibration reduction, esoteric nanocoatings or other markings like you’ll find on newer lenses. But it does the job which is important. The closest focus is narrow, around 33 cm. So I can also do close-up work with it without the need to change lenses if an opportunity arises.
When you go on one of your travels, what do you take with you? Why?
When I travel longer than just a day trip I bring with me alot. I pack my main bag, which is the Lowepro Vertex 300 AW with two camera bodies. Both a Nikon D800 which is my main body and a D200 with MB-D200 as my back-up. I also pack with me the Tamron SP 28-75mm f2.8, Tamron SP 70-200mm f2.8, Nikon 50mm, and Nikon 28 mm AI. Along goes the Tamron SP 17-50mm f2.8 for the Nikon D200, as the D200 is not a full frame body.
Also in the bag are my filters, a Nikon SB-28 speedlight, Lumiquest Softbox III, and different accessories and cables. Along with this I also bring my Samsung 13.3″ laptop, a Lacie Mini-rugged external hard drive and a Wacom Bamboo Fun tablet.
I also take with me the Nova 5 with gear that don’t fit in the Vertex. Such as extra speedlights and chargers for batteries. I also use the Nova 5 when the backpack will not be easy to use. Besides those bags I also take with me the DryZone Rover. I use it when I’m hiking and don’t need to haul the extra equipment, but I need personal items.
Other than the obvious camera gear, I also bring hiking gear. Tent so I can camp where I want if I’m not sleeping in the car or renting a cabin.
When I travel I tend to work out of my car, so that will become my base.
Among the gadgets that you own, is there something that you wish you hadn’t bought? Why?
I’m not sure. I don’t try to buy things I don’t need. So I can’t say I have bought any gear or gadget that I regret buying. But I was there where I did buy stuff I didn’t need, only not when it comes to photography. And the reason for it is based on the experience I had with other stuff. So now I go through many mental processes to see if I need a gadget or gear. If it has no use it’s just gonna be a dead weight in my bag.
In the field, what are your settings?
When I start out shooting I normally start with these setting as a starting point:
f16 @ ISO 100 with the white balance set to auto, auto-focus on, and I nearly always shoot RAW. Then I work from there as to what I wish to capture.
How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
I read, view, read and listen to other photographers. When I’m done I’ll do it all over again and again. Reading photographic magazines, I tend to focus on the interviews with the photographers. Viewing webinars on the internet related to what I want to learn. Also look at photos in books and magazines to inspire myself. I like to know the philosophy behind what my favourite artist employs when they create their works. See if I can pick up things from them that I can translate to my own work. I also work, work and work on my images. Don’t just shoot a location one time. As long as I have a chance, I like to return to the same location at different times. See if I can get the image I want and have visualised in my head.
I also like to check out different styles and subjects as to what my main discipline is. So both food, wildlife, macro, concert and portrait photography is something I like to check out.
Among your works, which one is your favourite? Why?
This one is hard, because I have many favourites and I know I haven’t done my best yet. But if I should pick what are my favourite three images, I think it must be my series called “Ridderpranget”.
The image titeled “Ridderspranget #3” must be the favourite of the series. Since I “fought” both with workshop holder Morten Krogvold and my own inner voice to keep this picture in the series. By the end when I showed the entire series as a whole, Morten Krogvold agreed with me in my choice.
Whose work has influenced you most?
The two photographers whose pictures have influenced me the most, I must say Joe Cornish and Ansel Adams. For workflow and the ideology behind my works I must say first of all Moose Peterson and to some extent Art Wolfe is those who inspired me the most. So for all you out there looking for a guy out there to really spark your interest, I highly recommend Moose Peterson and his blog. Check out his blog, which is often updated with stuff and look at YouTube and Vimeo for what you can find there. He also has classes at Kelby Training which I highly recommend.
Since I’m based in Europe, I also find that I draw upon influence from Joe Cornish and his work. He’s a famous British landscape photographer for those of you who haven’t heard of him. Famous for his large format works of colour landscapes. Lately he’s been working with medium format cameras and large format view cameras with a Phase One digital back. He mainly shoot landscapes from the British isles. His landscapes often have wonderful light and really shows the romance which one often associated with the british landscape. Since the landscape and the weather of Norway is somewhat similar to the British I feel a strong connection to the images he captures.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
Exposure and hyperfocal focusing is what I think must be the answer here.
The starting point for this blog post is this article. Read more: http://digital-photography-school.com/10-questions-you-should-be-asking-every-photographer#ixzz267yRIlWn
Gear mentioned in this interview (I am by no means endorsed by any of these companies)
– Formatt HiTech
– Redged (defunct company as of 2023)
– Giottos (defunct company as of 2023)