What’s in Art’s Bag?

Art Wolfe on location, North Cascades, Washington, USA

This is a question I get asked all the time, “What sort of equipment do you use?” The answer is usually less than you would expect. Digital technology has far surpassed what film was ever capable of and has completely changed the game for what one can shoot in the field. Where ISO 50 was the norm with film, I am shooting into the 1000s without reservations now. The ability to confirm “you got it” immediately after the shot, zooming in to ensure critical focus, evaluating the histogram for exposure, means that today I shoot far less than I would have in the past. I can shoot half a dozen frames, know I got what I wanted and move on. With slides I may have shot a couple of roles of a single subject before I was satisfied that at least one of the images in the batch would satisfy me later – and later could be several months before I knew what I had. Here is a list of equipment I use:

  • Canon’s 5DS R and 1D X
  • Leica S
  • Canon 16-35 f/2.8 L II
  • Canon 70-200 f/4 L IS
  • Canon 1/4x extender

(The above are my workhorse lenses and they are always in my bag regardless of where I’m headed.)

  • Canon 24-105 f/4 L IS
  • Canon 200-400 1/4 L IS USM Extender 1/4x
  • Canon 15mm f2.8
  • Gitzo’s GT3542XLS Carbon Fiber Tripod
  • Kirk BH-1 ballhead mounted to a flat plate (no center column)

Here is an important tip about tripods – purchase a tripod that is just a little too heavy and you won’t use it. Purchase one with a wobbly center column and you’re better off without it. So spend a little more money up front and you won’t have to do it again for many years. Mirror lock up and a cable release are also a part of the stabilization equation.

Then there are the miscellaneous bits and pieces. An intervelometer for shooting long exposures and stars, circular polarizers for all lenses, a couple of 2-stop, hard step graduated neutral density filters, extra batteries for the camera and intervelometer, hex wrenches, lens cleaning cloths, and of course, a couple of portable hard drives, extra memory cards, and a MacBook Pro. I pack all of this in a Tamrac Anvil 27 bag- simple, lightweight, and effective for me to travel the world.

Here’s a handy page from B&H that includes most of these items in one place!