- We both use the original Canon EOS 7d (Canon EOS 7D Mark II is the current version) as our main camera.
- Some pictures are taken with our iPhones.
- We have a Canon PowerShot SD1100IS (the current version of this camera is the Canon PowerShot SD1200IS) point and shot that we use for in water photos. The cameras on smart phones have gotten so good we would not recommend buying a camera like this unless you have a special use for it like we do with the in water photos. You can certainly take good pictures with one, we just find it hard to justify the cost when the phone camera that you probably already have can do about as good.
- Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom. This lens is our favorite for landscapes. The wide angle allows a lot of the scenery to be included in the picture. Before we bought this lens we were frequently frustrated by being able to see a great image with our eyes, but not being able to fit the picture in the camera lens.
- Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Standard Zoom. This tends to be Paul’s go to lens when we are walking around and don’t have a plan for exactly what we will be shooting. The constant f/4 is nice to have. Many lenses such as our, Canon EF 28-135 and Canon EF 70-300, have a variable aperture. This changes the aperture depending on how much you zoom in. Having a constant aperture removes one thing to worry about when trying to get a good shot. The Canon EF 17-40 also has a constant aperture, but since we usually use it for landscapes, we are usually using a smaller aperture so this doesn’t come into play.
- Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Telephoto Zoom. This lens gets used for wildlife and sports photography most often. Being able to zoom way in lets you “get closer” to the wildlife without scaring off whatever you are trying to get a picture of. With sports, the zoom lets you “get into the action”.
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Fixed Focal Length. This is our favorite for low light and portraits. Fixed focal lengths lenses are less complicated to make then zoom lenses so manufacturers can use wider apertures. The wide aperture allows more light in for lower light photography. In portraits it allows you to really focus in on the persons face and blur the un-important surroundings.
- Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Standard Zoom. This is usually Susan’s go to lens when we are walking around and don’t have a plan for exactly what we will be shooting. The variable aperture doesn’t bother her as bad as it does Paul, and because of this Paul usually hogs the EF 24-105.
- Manfrotto 190 CX PRO 4 Carbon Fibre. Our main reason for choosing this tripod was it’s low weight. We take a lot of our pictures while out hiking and backpacking so weight was important to us. If weight is not important to you I am sure you can find an excellent aluminum tripod for less money (we have not personally used any aluminum tripods so unfortunately we can’t make any recommendations as to a good one).
- Manfrotto 496RC2 Ball Head. As with the tripod, size and weight were important to us and the deciding factor with the tripod head. Luckily in this case that made the head cheaper.
Remote Shutter Release:
- Canon RS-80N3. We use the remote shutter release when the camera is on the tripod. The tripod holds the camera steady and reduces motion blur. Adding the remote shutter release takes it a step further by removing the camera movement with pressing the shutter button on the camera.
- B+W 77mm Clear UV Haze Filter. This filter stays on the EF 17-40mm lens all the time, more for weather proofing than anything else.
- B+W 77mm Kaesemann Circular Polarizer. A polarizing filter really helps to reduce glare for shots of water, and brings out blue skies and clouds.
- Canon 58 PL-C B 58mm Circular Polarizer. Each lens requires a certain size filter so this one works with some our lenses while the B+W filter works with others. As far as function goes, they both work well and we don’t have a preference of one over the other.
- Transcend 64GB Compact Flash Memory Card 400x. In researching memory cards I found that for everyone that loved one there was an equal number of people that hated it. This was true of every brand I looked into. We now have several of these Transcend cards and they have never given us any problems. With the memory card, the more storage and faster speed the better. More storage is for obvious reasons, the more you have the more pictures the card will hold. The speed becomes important with action shots. You don’t want your camera to slow down to wait on the memory card to write while you are taking rapid action shots.
- Canon Speedlite 320EX. While the Canon EOS 7d comes with a built in flash, using this speed flash moves the flash higher up away from the lens reducing the chance of red eye. A flash like this also allows you to adjust the angle of the flash to do things like bounce the flash off the ceiling. This can make for better, less washed out pictures.
Waterproof Case (for in the water shots)
- DiCaPac Waterproof Case WP1. We were a little skeptical about this at first figuring it would leak. We have had it for several years now, and it has never leaked. We have a lot of fun with this case getting interesting underwater shots that we couldn’t get otherwise.
- Adobe Lightroom (Part of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan). We shoot all of our pictures in camera RAW and use Lightroom to “develop” them. Lightroom is also what we use to catalog our pictures. While this may seem difficult, and you can get very advanced if you really want, it doesn’t have to be at all. Lightroom has many “auto” features that work very well so it is possible to get good results with a click of a button most of the time. If you are a Mac user, the built in Photos app will do similar things to Lightroom. While we both use Macs we have not tried the Photos app ourselves, but with it being free it’s worth a shot if you aren’t ready to try something like Lightroom.
- Adobe Photoshop (Part of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan). Susan is a big scrapbooker, and uses Photoshop to make all of her scrapbook pages. For us, that is our main use for Photoshop. For those that aren’t ready to give Photoshop a try GIMP is a free alternative that works on Macs, Windows, and Linux.
With the software, we don’t do any fancy editing to our pictures. We use the software only to get our pictures to how we saw them in real life. With humans being visual creatures, our eyes and brains can do some amazing things that a camera cannot. Our eyes automatically adjust for things like white balance and exposure. With our pictures we always try to get them perfect out of the camera, but often they take some minor tweaks. Our “tweaks” are always related to making the picture look natural, and not fancy Photoshop techniques that you hear about such as making people look skinnier, etc.
- Digital Landscape Photography by John Gerlach and Barbara Gerlach. Paul read this book and it really improved his landscape photography.
- Some of our older pictures were taken with a Canon Rebel T1i (the current version of this camera is the Canon EOS Rebel T6i). We liked this camera a lot, but when we got to where we were shooting in manual mode all of the time we decided it was time for new cameras. Adjusting the aperture and shutter speed in the Rebel T1i was done with the same dial, selecting the setting you wanted to adjust in the menus. The problem with this is aperture and shutter speed are related, so when you adjust one you almost always need to adjust the other also. It’s possible with the Rebel T1i, it was just slow to work with. With that said, if we were only shooting in auto, aperture priority, or shutter priority we were happy with this camera and took a lot of good pictures with it.
- Canon EF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom. This was the kit lens that came with the Rebel T1i. When we bought our Canon EOS 7Ds, we sold the Rebel T1i and this lens together. The lens worked well for many years and we had no complaints with it.