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Mic Check, 1,2,3. Are these things on? (Equipment & Bag sitrep).

I get asked a lot what camera I use to take photos with. The bluntest answer I can give for that is cheapest DSLR I could afford to buy new when I was a broke-ass bitch. However, for the point of this blog I won't be that blunt. I'm also not going to list the compact cameras I toyed with before I got my first paid work (mostly because I can't remember the model names, and paying £30 for a camera is stupid). OK, so the first camera I used was the Fujifilm FinePix S9900W (I think). It was a bridge camera BUT it let me play with aperture and shutter speeds, the UI was clunky and poorly optimised, but I did a set of food photography with it and the results were actually pretty legit. They weren't super crisp but the food looked appetising and with the help of a £20 Argos value tripod, it was a hell of a learning curve. Next up: Sony A380L. My first DSLR, I bought this little guy second hand on Amazon, it was dirrrrty (extra r's necessary) but it got me hooked, nice and tidy UI, easy to look after, super crisp shots and crazy affordable lenses (Pro tip for any new guys reading this, older Sony cameras like the A380 can rock the older Minolta lenses, which were way cheaper than the newer ones at the time I was using this camera). I abused the Hell out of this camera, it got dangled off cliffs, soaked by waves, splashed with mud and thoroughly steamed. To go with this camera, I also invested in a few lenses.

I think this is the first time I really tested my A380, this is in Malta, outside the Silent City

I used the stock 18-55 until I upgraded to a 28mm-70mm Minolta lens, and then I got into surf photography and played with a 55-300mm Minolta lens as well. Looking back, I don't even think this camera could take video, but it had a pivoting screen and it got me well and truly hooked. Now: The mighty Nikon D3300. Damn well used by everybody getting into the pro scene for the first time, I love this camera. No pivoting screen to my eternal chagrin, but unbelievably sharp photos, wonderful UI, and super intuitive, it cost me a bomb when I bought it but it's easily made that money back. Every photo you have seen me upload to this site (as of the 10/2/2017) has been taken with that camera. It really helped shape me as a photographer, it taught me to be versatile, make the most of light, how to play with sunbeams to frame an object. I'm actually looking at upgrading now, but I don't think I'll be trading in this body. The sentimental value is HUGE.

OK, lenses, this camera really let me experiment as a photographer, I got much more into landscape photography because of it, for that reason, I like to use the following lenses. First up, the stock 18-55 super nice lens with a weird twist to unlock design, I use this lens way more than I woudl normally use a stock lens because it just works so well. 55-300mm Nikkor AF-S lens, mostly for surf photography and the occasional time I see a pretty animal on the horizon, this guy gets the job done, the photos are always to the point, and the depth of field is awesome! 35mm Prime Nikkor Af-s, my go to lens for when I want to get artsy, super fresh shots, incredible bokeh and a really nice weight to it. If I can use this lens I bloody well will. My final lens is an 11mm-16mm Tokina DXII, this mother is hefty compared to rest of my euipment, but damn, it'll do astrophotography like nothing else, and for the inside of buildings you can fit the entire room in one photo with it. My main issues with this lens is heavy vignetting, huge distortion at wider angles, and a tempermental autofocus. The Rest of the stuff.

See, this is why photography is a never ending pit of hyperbole and empty wallets. I thought I'd be done by now with this blog, but it doesn't end yet! Basically, assume that for every lens I own I have the following filters, a 10 stop, for when I get artsy, a Polariser (obviously), and a Graduated Neutral Density lens, which I rarely ever use, because I always forget them. Until recently I carried all my equipment on me all the time, but then I realised the thought of lugging around all that, plus wipes, intervalometers, remotes, tripods, gopros and elastic bands was actually putting me off going out. So now rather than bring my Lowepro backpack with me, I keep a nice single strap caden with tripod attachment on me. Really comfy, super subtle, plus surprisingly secure. One last note, if you're a photographer, and you're reading this, do yourself a favour, keep an elastic band in your bag. God knows when you'll need the extra grip, or to bundle your filters together, but get one in there. Also, a spare memory card, I use the Sandisk SDXC range, and I keep a 32gb in the camera and a 16gb spare. If you've made it this far, congratulations, you're a hell of a trooper. Let me know what you think of my picks, or if you have any suggestions of equipment to use. I think I'll be upgrading soon to a D7200 or a D610 soon, whichever one is lighter basically and then I'll review that or whatever if there's enough interest. Right, cheers!

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