We're back with our second installment of our popular "What in My bag" (WIMB) series! (You can read our first installment, featuring wedding photographer Jared Gant, here). With each WIMB feature, we're going to take a deep dive into the tools that our CG Ambassadors rely on to capture the perfect shot. What lenses do they love? What are their essential accessories for on-site sessions? We hope each photographer's bag provides some inspiration for your own gear as you continue to build your photography tool kit.
This month, join us in taking a peek into the bag of Oregon-based photographer Alex Miller. As a landscape photographer, Alex needs to have all the essentials at hand-there’s no time to run back to the car for spare batteries when you’ve got the perfect shot lined up! Keep reading to learn more about the gear in Alex's bag and the reasons he chose each product.
Having the correct gear can be make or break when it comes to capturing the specific shot you have envisioned. As a landscape photographer and traveler, when I'm out trying new compositions, I like to pack as light as possible so I can maneuver and explore more easily. But this is where the dilemma lies; do I pack light to have more freedom or pack more gear to ensure I'm always prepared?
This is is why planning and packing accordingly is so important. My workflow usually varies from shot to shot. Sometimes I'll have a photograph totally envisioned for a while, sometimes even years. Then I will plan to shoot it based on the ideal conditions to my best judgment. By this time I usually know exactly what I need to bring for lenses, filters etc. This is not always the case though, often times I'll plan shots in a spur of the moment. Keeping this in mind, my bag usually looks the same everywhere I go, but the lenses are what I am always switching up.
The staple lens of landscape photography is the 16-35mm lens. If I am out photographing nature or hiking, I almost always take this lens. Most of my landscape shots are taken with this lens. If you are getting into landscape photography, a wide angle lens is a must have (of course, I didn't have it at the moment to include in my gear shot).
Another essential lens that I always like to have is the 24-70mm lens because of its versatility. This lens goes pretty much everywhere with me. I love it because it can shoot wide, mid range, zoomed, it has macro and image stabilization for videos. It is really just a great overall lens. This lens can take the place of having several lenses, so the weight of my pack is significantly reduced.
Other lenses that I have are a 50mm which is a great all around lens. If I'm traveling with friends or people that I like to photograph, then I will pack this lens. It's a great lens for portraits, and photographing people in nature because of the very shallow depth of field. Also, the 50mm is very fast and can capture details well in low lighting without a tripod because of the low f-stop.
The last lens I have is an 85mm. I use this one since I do not have a 70-200mm at the moment. If I happen to be going for a shot that is farther away than what I normally shoot, I bring this lens because it has a bit more focal length than my 24-70mm. I would recommend getting a 70-200mm though, since it's a quite versatile for getting long range shots like mountains, distant structures or even wildlife.
- Spare batteries
- Memory cards
- Shutter trigger
- Lens cleaners
The rest of the gear is pretty self explanatory. Such as spare batteries, memory cards, shutter trigger, lens cleaners, flashlights, tripod and backpacks. I always take my tripod with me, even though it's probably the heaviest item in my pack. It's just good to always have one because trust me, it's a terrible feeling when you miss a great shot because you can't set your camera up.
The bag pictured below is what I use for day trips. It's a small and lightweight and holds all of my lenses and equipment well.
The other, larger, Osprey pack (below) is the bag I use for backpacking and traveling long distances. This bag is excellent for longer trips! I can fit all of my photography gear inside, along with my tent, sleeping bag, clothes, hammock, and cooking utensils. It does get pretty heavy, but it has an awesome support structure designed into the pack.
In the flat-lay gear picture above, I also included my GoPro and a 35mm film camera which I use for fun or let my friends use. I like to use 35mm to shoot behind-the-scenes style photos, as well.
About Alex Miller
Alex is a 23-year-old landscape and commercial photographer living in Salem, Oregon. Alex's passion for nature and traveling has led him to photograph many incredible locations throughout the Pacific Northwest, California, and Iceland, with his favorite subject being waterfalls. In 2015, he started his business, Alex Vision, to establish a direction for his visual arts passions which has allowed him to collaborate with many brands and companies. Along with nature and travel, his passion for music has allowed him to photograph artists in Portland and Seattle such as Tame Impala, G-Eazy, Logic and Porter Robinson. Alex now works full time as a freelance photographer and is constantly seeking new adventures and creative ways to share the world, while also taking on commercial and real estate projects.