The Practicing Photographer
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Going with an ultra-light gear configuration


The Practicing Photographer

with Ben Long

Video: Going with an ultra-light gear configuration

I really love shooting with a full frame camera. I've got my strap to carry the camera, and
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  1. 4m 42s
    1. Evaluating camera-strap options NEW
      4m 42s
  2. 1m 35s
    1. Introducing The Practicing Photographer
      1m 35s
  3. 9h 50m
    1. Choosing a camera
      5m 27s
    2. Looking at light as a subject
      2m 22s
    3. Using a small reflector to add fill light
      5m 45s
    4. Editing photo metadata with PhotosInfo Pro for iPad
      6m 30s
    5. Let your lens reshape you
      7m 26s
    6. Compositing street photography images with Photoshop
      7m 44s
    7. Expand your filter options with step-up and step-down rings
      3m 56s
    8. Shooting without a memory card
      3m 6s
    9. Give yourself a year-long assignment
      5m 28s
    10. Working with reflections
      1m 26s
    11. Exploring mirrorless cameras
      7m 25s
    12. Batch processing photos with the Adobe Image Processor
      7m 30s
    13. Limiting yourself to a fixed-focal-length lens
      2m 13s
    14. Creating tiny worlds: Shooting technique
      4m 15s
    15. Creating tiny worlds: Post-processing techniques
      11m 41s
    16. Shooting macro shots on an iPhone
      3m 18s
    17. Using a tripod
      3m 33s
    18. Wildlife and staying present
      5m 58s
    19. Batch exposure adjustments on raw files
      6m 52s
    20. Why Shoot Polaroid
      11m 12s
    21. Seizing an opportunity
      4m 4s
    22. Four photographers do a light-as-subject exercise
      12m 24s
    23. Shooting macro bug photos with a reversed lens
      4m 54s
    24. Varnishing a photo for a painterly effect
      13m 36s
    25. Shooting wildlife
      7m 24s
    26. Discussion on how to shoot architecture
      12m 27s
    27. Using a lens hood
      4m 48s
    28. Working with themes
      2m 48s
    29. Setting up an HDR time lapse
      7m 55s
    30. Processing an HDR time lapse
      7m 55s
    31. Two perspectives on travel photography
      12m 28s
    32. Scanning Photos
      5m 37s
    33. Photo assignment: shooting an egg
      3m 13s
    34. Reviewing the egg shot images
      6m 47s
    35. Shooting in your own backyard
      4m 38s
    36. Jpeg iPad import process
      3m 17s
    37. Shooting a product shot in open shade
      9m 34s
    38. Reviewing the product shot images
      4m 5s
    39. Warming up
      3m 26s
    40. Taking a panning action shot
      10m 17s
    41. Scanning polaroid negatives and processing in Photoshop
      8m 17s
    42. Shooting a silhouette
      3m 9s
    43. Going with an ultra-light gear configuration
      5m 29s
    44. Working with masks and calculations in Photoshop
      12m 38s
    45. Working with flash for macro photography
      4m 56s
    46. Colorizing a black and white photo in Photoshop
      5m 10s
    47. Using duct tape and zip ties in the field
      4m 14s
    48. When the on camera flash is casting a shadow
      3m 4s
    49. Using Lightroom on the road
      6m 28s
    50. Listening to your camera to get good exposure
      2m 20s
    51. Shooting a successful self portrait with a phone
      7m 18s
    52. Switching to Lightroom from another application
      9m 48s
    53. Photographing animals in wildlife refuges
      6m 41s
    54. Shooting level
      2m 42s
    55. Photoshop and Automator
      8m 54s
    56. Shooting when the light is flat
      3m 23s
    57. Discussing the business of stock photography
      9m 48s
    58. Shooting tethered to a monitor
      3m 21s
    59. Making a 360 degree panorama on the iPhone
      4m 45s
    60. Understanding the three flash setup
      3m 34s
    61. Shooting a three flash portrait
      4m 6s
    62. Understanding the differences with third party lenses
      4m 43s
    63. Understanding why files look different on depending on device
      5m 25s
    64. Working with a geotagging app on the iPhone
      4m 43s
    65. Using high speed flash sync to dim ambient light
      7m 29s
    66. Using your iPad as a second monitor
      5m 46s
    67. Understanding exposure with a leaf shutter camera
      3m 28s
    68. Photography practice through mimicry
      8m 8s
    69. Canon wireless flash with built in radio control
      5m 59s
    70. Posing and shooting pairs of people
      5m 35s
    71. Shooting with a shape in mind
      3m 15s
    72. Shooting tethered to a laptop
      4m 40s
    73. Softboxes vs. umbrellas
      2m 55s
    74. Getting your project out into the world
      6m 25s
    75. Exploring how to think about shooting a new environment
      3m 56s
    76. Discussing the book "The Passionate Photographer" with Steve Simon
      6m 4s
    77. Highlighting iOS 8 updates on the iPhone5S
      10m 46s
    78. Exploring manual controls with iOS 8 and ProCamera
      5m 30s
    79. Understanding how to compose with an empty sky
      4m 54s
    80. Using an iPhone to make a print in the darkroom
      7m 16s
    81. How to use glycerin as a photography tool
      2m 16s
    82. Understanding micro focus adjustment and Lens Align
      11m 19s
    83. Working with hair in post
      3m 28s
    84. Taking a quick portrait and directing a subject
      5m 50s
    85. Getting inspired through the work of others
      11m 22s
    86. Taking a flattering portrait with flash
      4m 21s
    87. Creating an unaligned HDR image
      3m 3s
    88. Exploring how to use Bokeh
      5m 38s
    89. Shooting stills from a drone
      6m 57s
    90. Using a monitor to get a first person view of the aerial camera
      8m 0s
    91. Understanding lens profile correction
      5m 33s
    92. Working with models
      2m 40s
    93. Understanding the labels on SD cards
      10m 32s
    94. Setting up a macro time lapse of a flower
      6m 18s
    95. Taking a portrait that's tightly cropped or slightly obscured
      3m 24s
    96. Tips for shooting panoramas
      7m 16s
    97. Carrying a point-and-shoot camera
      4m 44s
    98. Adjusting the color of shadows in an image
      5m 35s

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Watch the Online Video Course The Practicing Photographer
9h 56m Appropriate for all May 16, 2013 Updated Mar 26, 2015

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In The Practicing Photographer, photographer and teacher Ben Long shares a weekly serving of photographic instruction and inspiration. Each installment focuses on a photographic shooting scenario, a piece of gear, or a software technique. Each installment concludes with a call to action designed to inspire you to pick up your camera (or your mouse or smartphone) to try the technique for yourself.

Ben Long

Going with an ultra-light gear configuration

I really love shooting with a full frame camera. For years now, I've been using the Canon 5D series. I really like the extra shallow depth of field I can get with the bigger sensor. I like the huge assortment of lenses that are available. The image quality's spectacular. And, I really like that focal lengths are what I grew up knowing, 50 millimeter means a normal lens, but boy, I don't like carrying the thing around, especially when I add a couple lenses to it. It gets really, really heavy and leads to a lot of neck and shoulder pain, and it makes me sometimes not take my camera.

Hi, I'm Ben Long and this week on the Practicing Photographer we're going to talk about going ultra light with your camera gear. I'm on a motorcycle trip right now. I have very limited storage. I don't have room to carry a lot of things. But also, I'm wanting to do a lot of camping and hiking. I don't want to carry a big camera kit. So I've stripped down to something very, very small, and I started that stripping down process by leaving my beloved 5D Mark Three at home. I switched, instead, to a little Rebel camera. Rebel is Canon's small series of SLRs.

Nikon has their own series. If you shoot with a, a Micro Four Thirds camera, you're already into a small or any mirror-less camera, you're already into a small camera format. What I like about this Rebel is it's tiny, but it has the, mostly the same control layout that I'm used to on my normal full frame camera. So making the switch to it feels very natural. It really works the way I expect it to, and it works with all the lenses that I already have. I bought some lenses specifically designed for the crop sensor camera, but I can also use my macro lens and my tilt shift lens and all that other stuff.

I'm not traveling with those though. I have stripped down to just two lenses. I have a 17 to 55 millimeter, which is roughly equivalent to a 24 to 70 on a full frame camera. Great walkaround lens. It's two eight all the way across. I could possibly get by wha, and look at this, I'm holding this in my hand like this, I could never do this with my 5D. I could possibly get by with only this lens. It happens that I've got enough space that I decided to pack another lens. I brought a 10 to 22 millimeter, which gets me the ultra-wide angles that I often like. Now, I didn't bring a camera bag. Camera bag is bulky sometimes, and it can be hard to pack.

Instead what I did is, I got just a neoprene case for my camera. It almost fits. It's not perfect, but it's enough, takes a struggle sometimes, it's enough that I can get the camera in here and get it some protection, and now I can just stuff this in any bag that I want. So, all of my luggage is now my camera bag. But you might be thinking, yeah, but what about when you go stomping around, how do you carry it? Well, I take it out of this thing. I've got my strap to carry the camera, and I have my extra lens, just, in a lens pouch. What's cool about this is it's padded.

It's very easy to get into. Here's my 10 to 22. So, it protects the lens when it's in one of my other bags, but it's got a belt loop on it. So, I can actually just wear it on my hip and carry my second lens that way. When I swap lenses, this lens can just go in there. It's big enough to hold both. When you're packing in a tight space, it's often very nice to have all of, or have different components, discrete, because I can stuff this into one corner and the camera and its case into another corner. I couldn't do that if I had a big camera bag. Now, I like when I get out here doing some low light shooting.

I like being out at night. It's really hard to do that without a tripod, but a tripod, even my lightweight, carbon fiber, really nice tripod is still pretty big, especially if I want to go hiking. So, I got this thing. Now this looks really, I don't know, like a toy tripod. This is a Tamrac ZipShot and I really like it. What it is, is it's a tiny, little ball-head mount on what are basically tent poles. They're shock-corded aluminum poles that just snap together, and it stands up to be a tripod.

Now, I have very little control here. I cannot raise it. I can't change the length of the legs. This is all that it is. But it can hold about seven pounds, I think. You want to double-check that. I know it's capable of holding far more than my nice, lightweight camera weighs. So, this is a great alternative. It weighs less than a pound. It's very easy to set up and strike. It straps on anywhere. I don't care if it gets in the rain. They're not that expensive, so even if it gets bent up and messed up, I'm not losing out on a great piece of gear. It's not super sturdy. It's not going to do great in wind.

I can't do really refined motions. The head has a lot of give to it, when I set the camera. Still, it's better than not having a tripod, and it's better than carrying a heavier tripod. Finally, for post production, I'm bringing a 7 inch tablet. This is an iPad mini. I have a camera connection kit, so I can just pour right in here. It is in no way a substitute for a full-on computer running my normal photo workflow, but it's going to be great for getting me through what I need now. I can start doing rating and keywording using my favorite software on here. I can do some image editing.

I can use it as in internet terminal to get images out. So, this is my whole rig here. It doesn't weigh very much, and in fact, I can actually kind of just hold the entire thing in one hand. This is my entire two lens, SLR, tripod ready, image editing suite, all here in one hand. Doesn't weigh very much. I, I can't even really get exercise out of this. Much, much lighter than carrying my full frame camera. So, if you already have a camera that you really like and a lens system that you really like, you're feeling like it's kind of heavy, start looking into some alternatives that will work with the system you have.

If you're looking to go lighter, do a little research. See what bodies might work with your lenses and try to get a sense of what the weight and size difference might be from what you're used to carrying.

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A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.
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