Cinematography & travel requires specialized equipment. I'm often asked about the equipment I use, so here's some information along with links to all the stuff I schlep around! I'll be updating this page, so keep an eye on it, and if you've any questions, feel free to contact me.
I’ve been traveling a lot, in cars & trucks, on planes, ships, and boats, and have purchased a lot of gear that has stood the test of time and continues to travel with me. I’ve handpicked of the items listed and only recommend those I personally use and love. There is a buy button located within each product (and sometimes discount codes too!). Those buy buttons are affiliate links from Amazon and other awesome companies (always noted). An affiliate link simply means that if you click through and purchase (costs you nothing extra) I get a few pennies too. If you enjoy what I do here, shopping through these links are a great way to help me continue creating and sharing.
POWER: All the equipment I need for filming requires batteries! I've discovered the best system to charge everything while I'm on the road...and now there's a new system that will allow me to bring power with me when I travel. Ecoflow Tech makes a portable lithium ion battery that stores enough power for me to charge my camera batteries, phone, laptop, drone batteries, etc! The RIVER device has USB outlets, 12V outlets, 120 outlets...the device is amazing and is one of the most important pieces of kit I use! I even have a 50W solar panel to recharge it, if need be (into which I can also plug my USM devices to charge directly). Usually, I plug RIVER into the 12v plug in the vehicle to charge it up. It lasts a long time! EcoFlow Tech now has the RIVER Bank, a super-cool, modular portable power supply that has many features, not least of which is being able to carry it on a plane!
RED EPIC DIGITAL CINEMA CAMERA: I film with the RED digital cinema system, filming in 8K ultra high definition. RED cameras are used for many Hollywood films and changed the industry in a major way. The camera is basically a computer with accessories attached: lenses; solid state hard drives on which media is recorded; a monitor (so you can see what you are filming); battery; and cables. The quality of the footage is so good that still image frames can be taken right off the motion material. When I film at 30 frames per second, it means I have 30 still images from which to choose!
PANSONIC LUMIX GH5: There are times when I don't need or want a large camera, like the RED. Perhaps I'm doing an interview, or going for a hike. The Panasonic Lumix GH5 is a perfect micro four thirds (MFT) system that films in 4K, shoots stills at 20.3 megapixels, has lenses made with Leica glass (supporting dual-image stabilization), and has more features than I'll ever use!
BATTERIES: I rely on PAG batteries to power my EPIC camera. These batteries are the industry's smallest & lightest, with the highest density, allowing me plenty of power for my filming needs. I carry 4 with me into the field, even on long hikes.
SMARTPHONE: I hate to admit it, but my years of of being a Nikon Pro are gone (though there are times I dearly miss the SLR and 600mm lens!) Most of my still photography is done with a Smartphone! Why? Because it's always at hand and I'm no longer selling still images professionally. I chose my phone based upon the camera quality & ease of use in remote locations. So really, I have a computer, with a camera, that is also a phone! I use the Samsung Galaxy Edge 7 because it has a removable microSD card, a must when taking loads of photos & video when I might go many days between downloads & transferring to my Apple MacBook Pro!
AERIAL FILMING: I love flying & filming from above! While I’d love to have a larger drone, flying back & forth with already heavy baggage makes it too challenging. So I travel with DJI's compact Mavic Platinum Pro. The Mavic is amazing, with its long flight time and for those times when I want to be less obtrusive or have a drone in my backpack.
TRIPOD: I am a firm believer in using a tripod. I have to, with the heavy RED set-up. When using the Leica 100-400 lens on my Lumix, a tripod is critical for steady video - motion footage requires rock-solid steadiness. There's nothing worse than watching a film with the image jiggling & jittery from too much motion - I get seasick! I rely on Cartoni tripods & fluid heads. Because I often pack my gear for miles at a time across hill & dale, and ship it as excess baggage, I have to consider stability with weight. A full-size video tripod, with fluid head, is too large to put on my back. Cartoni's Stabilo tripod, which I can lower almost to ground level to film subjects eye-to-eye, weighs only 6.6 lbs. With the Focus HD fluid head, weighing in at 4.4 lbs, I have a perfect system that is rock-steady, lightweight, and compact enough for traveling, hiking, and filming.
CAR-MOUNTED SUPPORT: One of my favorite pieces of kit is the Groofwin (ground-roof-window) mount, by L.L.Rue Enterprises. I've had the Groofwin for decades and can't imagine photography without it! This versatile support allows me to mount a tripod head to my truck window so I can photograph/ film from my vehicle. Supported by three large rubber pads, it can be used in the flat position at ground level, or placed on the vehicle hood, or roof. A threaded knob secures the two sections tightly together whether in the flat position or mounted in the car window. With the Panasonic Lumix GH5 and Leica 100-400 lens atop a ball head secured to the Groofwin, I can easily film out my window and not disturb wildlife!
PACKS & LUGGAGE
Camera Backpack: There are times when I need to carry my gear long distances. It is not easy fitting my large EPIC with a telephoto lens, 4 big Li-Ion batteries, spare SSD media, at least one wide angle lens, filters, food, water, extra clothing for the elements, and other little odd-n-ends into one pack. Being only 5 feet tall makes it more challenging. I count on my f-Stop Sukha backpack to easily carry the load. I can attach my tripod to the pack or carry it in a free hand.
Travel Case: When I want my camera gear to be well protected in a case that can take airline abuse, my ThinkTank Logistics Manager rolling case is the perfect choice. This high-capacity, lightweight case is customizable so I'm able to change the interior around easily depending upon what I'm carrying on a particular film shoot. I couldn't be more pleased with this innovative case! ThinkTank makes all sorts of clever, well-thought-out, and useful packs & cases.
Communications: When I'm far away, in remote locations, I like to stay in touch with my family. Mom always appreciates knowing I am OK! My Garmin inReach Explorer is critical to my kit and I won't go on any adventure without it. I love that I can select a plan, change plans, and turn my plan on & off as needed. I can use it to stay in touch with friends, and post to social media as long as I have satellite coverage, which is pretty much all of the time! Whether I’m camping among muskox on the Arctic tundra or on a boat diving a remote area of Papua New Guinea, my inReach Explorer keeps me connected. And I know, should an emergency arise, I have my inReach Explorer on hand.
CLOTHING & STUFF
Boots: I love my Lowa Renegade GTX boots!! Comfy right out of the box, supportive & cushioning, these boots easily help me carry a 40 pound pack over hill and dale.
Hiking Pants: My go-to pants for hiking, or everyday wear, are pRana's Halle Pants. They are super comfortable, fit great, and look good on the trail or in a meeting. I have at least half a dozen pair in different colors! If I have to sit behind the wheel, driving for hours on end, I want to be comfy and these are perfect!