I consider the following items important. You can learn more about them at the workshop, but I made this checklist as a reminder to bring them if you already own them. Items essential to this workshop are in bold. You might also consider renting lenses, cameras or other gear from Lens Pro To Go or other rental companies.
Contact Mark Bowie at email@example.com
or 413-442-9125 with questions.
Camera – DSLR or mirrorless, full frame or cropped sensor. Also, bring the camera manual should you need to consult it.
Lenses – There will likely be photo opportunities for your full range of lenses, from extreme wide angle to telephoto and macro. I use lenses ranging from 14-400mm at night, including a macro lens. When buying lenses, I recommend getting the best quality you can afford, with maximum apertures of f/2.8 or wider for landscape work (especially useful for night photography).
Non-abrasive Lens Cleaning Cloth and Wipes.
Tripod – Sunrise, sunset, twilight and nighttime light levels are too low to photograph properly without a sturdy tripod. I recommend buying a lightweight carbon fiber tripod with a ball head (I like Induro and Gitzo brands). Expect to pay $300-$400 for the set. Watch Hunt’s Photo for sales. A quality set should last many years.
Lots of Memory Card Storage – I use fast 64GB cards, good for stills & video.
Camera Battery Charger and Extra Batteries.
Sensor Cleaning Tools — To remove dust and debris from the sensor. I use Eclipse solution and Sensor Swabs Ultra from Photographic Solutions.
Neutral Density Filters, Graduated Neutral Density Filters – Often used during daytime shooting, but not often at night. I use Tiffen 3- and 6-stop IR-ND neutral density filters, and the Singh-Ray 8-stop Vari-ND filter. They have minimal color casting. I can also recommend a set of 3 Haida round screw-in ND filters (with 3-, 6-, and 10-stop filters) for about $120. I also use Singh-Ray 2-stop soft- and 3-stop hard-edge graduated filters.
Shutter Release – You can use a locking cable release, a wireless remote, or the camera’s self-timer (except in BULB). Shutter releases are available for specific camera models, from simple units that only trip the shutter, to more advanced units with intervalometers that allow the photographer to program exposure time, count down the exposure, shoot multiple exposures and timed intervals. These are available from Hunt’s Photo and B&H Photo-Video. I use the hahnel Giga T Pro II wireless remote shutter release, which features intervalometer settings, about $99.
Intervalometer – For time-lapse photography. Many Nikons, and the latest Canons, have a built-in intervalometer. Often these don’t last long enough. I prefer an external intervalometer. The Nikon MC-36A Multi-Function Remote Cord is about $190. The hahnel Giga T Pro II has the same features for about half the price.
Canon shooters can consider the Canon TC-80N3 Remote timer, or an equivalent. The Cowboy Studio Timer-Remote-Control Shutter is much less expensive, but identical in structure and function.
Flashlight &/or Headlamp – preferably with a red light, or cover with a red filter, to limit distracting others during night photography sessions. Bring larger lights for light painting if you’d like. LED flashlights are particularly powerful & small. I use the Coast HP7R. Fenix also makes quality LED flashlights.
ThermaCare or similar brand heat wraps/hand or foot warmers – to prevent condensation on lenses at night, especially during long time-lapses. I use those with a Velcro strap to easily wrap around the lens barrel. Available at Walmart and drug stores. A box of 3 costs about $6. Hand or foot warmers can be secured to the lens with rubber bands.
Eyepiece Cover/Small Towel/Gaffer’s Tape – to cover the viewfinder and prevent stray light from impacting the sensor.
Rain/Snow Cover – For camera and lens protection. An inexpensive plastic shower cap works well in many instances. I also use Op-Tech plastic rain sleeves that have a drawstring at one end and that slide over camera & lenses. A set of 2 costs about $6.
Battery-powered Alarm Clock/Watch – In case cell phone service isn’t available. It’s better to bring your own alarm than miss a morning shoot!
Cell Phone and night photography apps such as Star Walk, Sky Guide, and PhotoPills.
Laptop Computer – I highly recommend bringing your own laptop computer for downloading, processing and viewing your images.
Processing Software – Good choices include Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, or Elements. I use Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography Plan, which includes Lightroom & Photoshop, for about $10/month. Free 30-day trials of these programs are available.
StarStax – free star trail merging software – for both Mac & PC
Starry Landscape Stacker – This software takes a series of images of the same composition, re-aligns the stars to keep them as points of light, while keeping the landscape static, and reduces the noise. Available for Mac only on the App Store for $20.
Sequator – similar to Starry Landscape Stacker – for PC – free; donations welcome
To create time-lapse movies you may also want the following software:
1. Lightroom. A free trial version is available at http://www.adobe.com/downloads.html
2. LRTimelapse: The free download will allow you to load up to 400 images: https://lrtimelapse.com/download/. This software is particularly good at reducing flicker in daytime time-lapses.
3. iMovie or VLC Media Player for the Mac, or Windows Movie Maker to output the movie.
Back-up device – Such as an external hard drive.
Flash Drive – For sharing images.
Clothing & Outdoor Gear
Historical average temperatures for Inlet, NY in July vary from a low of 54 to a high of 75 degrees. It’s preferable to dress in several warm layers as temperatures can change significantly and quickly at night.
Warm Jacket and Pants
Fleece Under Layer – Can be added or removed as the temperature changes.
Rain Jacket & Rain Pants – For rain and wind protection.
Warm Gloves, Hat
Hiking Boots – preferably waterproof
Wading boots or sandals – For photographing in the waters.
Dress for the indoor sessions will be casual.
Energy bars or other snacks.