What I’m Taking to Norway

Packing Photography Gear for our trip to Iceland and Norway

Backpack with camera gear loaded for trip to Norway.
(Over) packed and ready to rock and roll.

I couldn’t decide on whether or not I’d take one camera body or two. I always prefer fast and light and believe simplicity in equipment leads to richness in experience. Packing for this trip proved to be a little bit more of a challenge because I have specific photography goals in mind, each requiring specialized gear.

Now of course I could have made do and picked a single lens and body that would cover all my bases but after probably too much thought and having shot similar scenes back home before leaving, I decided I would not take one, or two bodies but three 🙂

So here’s the gear list with notes on intended use.

Gear List

Bodies

  • Canon 5DS: Full frame 50.2MP haus of a camera. This will be my main body and definitely the one I use for my landscape work.
  • Canon 7D Mark II: 1.6x crop sensor body that shoots 10fps which makes it great for catching action in the streets and fast moving wildlife.
  • Canon Rebel T2: That’s right, I’m taking a 35mm film camera with me. Why on earth would anyone do that? Well for starters the thing is stupid light. Every single lens I mount on it weighs significantly more than the camera itself so adding it to the pack didn’t seem like much of a burden. Carry 10 canisters of film is a mild hassle but one I’m willing to deal with. The primary reason though is despite the technological gains in digital there is just something special about film. The resolution and detail you can get with HQ film can’t be replicated with digital. Ken Rockwell has a good article about the mega pixel equivalents of film but the short answer is you’d need a roughly 87MP sensor to get the same resolution as 35mm film. 4×5 sheet film like the type that my old Speed Graphic takes? 313MP! So figured that since I’ll be shooting some of the most majestic landscapes I’ve likely ever seen, it would be worth the trouble to shoot them with finest detail reasonably possible. So I’m stowing away the old 35mm that got me excited about mountain photography with this image, captured on Fuji Velvia slide film.  Keep in mind this is not digitally enhanced. Velvia is renowned for its deep color saturation.

    Snowy mountain and bright blue skies.
    Shot with 35mm Fuji Velvia Film as I hiked my way up through the snow pack on Basin Mountain.

Lenses

  • Canon 85mm 1.8: My go to lens for portraiture and the one I’ll likely use for the Faces of Commercial Fishing Project.
  • Canon 100-400mm USM L II 4.5-5.6: A long telephoto that is a beast to lug around but has produced some of my best work. I’ll pack this one into the mountains and shoot it along the road too.
  • Canon 1.4x II extender: This was a last minute purchase because I felt like having the extra reach for wildlife would be handy.
  • Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art: This is my first 35mm focal length lens and I love it! (Thanks for the advice Kelly!) I’ll be shooting this lens a good bit. In the streets I’ll use it on my 7D body because I’m leaving my beloved 50mm 1.8 at home *gasp*. I’ll also likely use it if any astrophotography opportunities present themselves, though with the long daylight hours will be experiencing that may not be realistic.
  • Canon 24-70mm 2.8 L: If I could only take one lens it would probably be this one. Reasonably fast at 2.8, wide enough for landscapes at 24mm on a full frame body, and enough telephoto reach for creating nice bokeh in portraits. This is a workhorse lens and I can’t say enough good things about it but like most L series glass the thing weighs a ton.
  • Canon 14mm 2.8 L: I bought this lens specifically for this trip and will be using it almost exclusively for landscapes, though I may pull it out for some architectural stuff too.

Filters

Breakthrough Photography 10 & 15 stop ND: The world’s sharpest & most color neutral neutral density filters and man do you ever pay for that color neutrality! But I can attest that if you’re serious about creating long exposures then they’re absolutely worth it. I’ve been playing with cheap versions over the last year and always hated the reddish tint they added to the image. Well, $400 later…

Dead tree on the riverfront beach at Arlington Place.
300 sec exposure in the late afternoon with a 15 stop ND filter by Breakthrough Photography. The world’s sharpest and most color neutral ND filters.

 

  • Hoya 25A Red Filter: Red filters can make blue skies look black when shooting in the B&W medium. For digital work I’ve decided that adding the filters in post processing yields results that are just as good if not better than applying the filter for the exposure. Of course I won’t have that luxury when I’m shooting my black and white film!
  • B+W XS Pro Circular Polarizer: Another super high quality piece of glass that renders colors better than any of the cheaper CPs I’ve been using up until now. CPs are indispensable for landscape work or shooting near the water. If you’ve ever worn polarized lenses on a boat or out fishing then you’ll know what I mean.

Lighting

  • Godox VING V860IIC Flash (x2)
  • Wireless transmitter
  • 45″ white satin shoot through umbrella
  • 9 x 12 portable soft box
  • Manfrotto Nanopole light stand

Miscellaneous

  • Extra batteries (x6)
  • A handful of memory cards.
  • Lens clothes.
  • Lens pen for extra cleaning needs.
  • The lighest tripod I already owned.
  • Macbook Pro and LaCie external HD for post processing and primary storage.
  • And of course my iPhone 7+ for driving Julie crazy 🙂

So that’s about it! Now it’s time to get some sleep and prepare for departure at 2:30pm and the redeye to Reykjavik!