Kit Bag - Canon 17-40 F4 L Wide Angle Lens

Thursday the 15th of September will see what is probably the biggest shoot of my career to date. I'm not wanting to give anything away just yet, but I wanted to take a step back and look at the wider picture ;-) I'm really surprised I haven't seriously looked at this lens sooner. Taking into account that the Canon 17-40mm F4 L Wide Angle Lens is one of the cheaper 'L' glasses around, it certainly packs value for money. Not only do I need this lens for a shoot on Thursday, but with the recent increase in my landscape photography it's going to be a handy addition to my kit bag. Being surprisingly light and quick to focus it's very versatile and easy to use meaning i'm very unlikely to leave the house without it.

Canon aren't best known for their wide angle lenses with many photographers critising them. It's not uncommon to see a Canon body fitted with the Nikon 14-24mm lens via an adaptor plate, but as the saying goes "It's not the equipment, it's how you use it". This lens provides me with the focal length that I require and unlike it's bigger brother (the 16-35 F2.8L) it still allows me to use my current accessories due to size of it's filter thread.

I recently had the pleasure of using a Sigma 17-35mm F2.8 out on holiday in Mallorca. As great as it was with it's monsterous filter thread size of 82mm (much like the 16-35 F2.8) I had no accessories that would fit it?! The Canon 17-40mm has a 77mm filter thread which means all of my exisiting filters slot in or screw on just fine. I'm really looking forward to putting the lens through it's paces and will report back as soon as I have!

Rounding Off 2010...

First of all i'd like to wish all readers a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. It wouldn't be complete without an end of year blog post to round off what's been a fantastic year for myself. This year has seen many opportunities in the photographic industry for me, and has brought about some great prospects for 2011. The blog has been a little bit neglected recently in terms of uploads, but i've been busy behind the scenes with new projects and website launch.

Not only am I super excited about what 2011 has to offer, I'm keen to blog and upload more of my work throughout the year. Hopefully you'll join in with keeping up to date with my work through the various social network sites I use.

Alot of my work is uploaded onto the popular site, FlickR. The ability to display work across an audience of thousands within seconds is a brilliant prospect for any photographer. If you use FlickR please feel free to add me as a contact. Even if you don't have a FlickR account, you can still check out my photostream.

You didn't hear this from me, but i've even come round to thinking Twitter is great. It's proved invaluable this year, and if your bored or fancy getting in touch/keeping up to date, feel free to follow me.

What's a blog post without pictures? Below are a few recent shots taken from my FlickR account. Clicking the individual photographs will take you directly to their page with information about how and why they were shot:

London Eye, Westminster

Smoking Canon

Stonehenge, Salisbury

Thanks for reading. Here's to a fantastic and prosperous 2011!

Kit Bag - Shooting On Location

Product shots are generally shot in an abyss of white space, but like many other aspects of photography I like to work differently. With the help from my brother (a Nikon shooter, ironic huh?) we set up this quick shot to give you an insight to some of the gear I carry about with me on location shoots. It's always important to plan the kit you need for a shoot, as you'll never want to be without that vital piece of equipment which you clumsily forgot to pack.

The lenses cover a focal range of 24-200mm and the 2 speedlites always give me the option to light most scenes should I need, with the ST-E2 transmitter coming in handy by not only controlling the speedlites off-camera but doubling up as an AF Assist.  The above picture shows what I carry most of the time on a day-to-day basis.

Preperation is key, and each shoot is planned carefully. Having  the correct gears means your able to maximise the available time shooting. If your interested in a complete kit list feel free to click here.

Kit Bag - Canon 70-200 F2.8 IS L

The lens that seems to grace every professionals kit bag, but why? Just like the other Canon's L series lenses the 70-200 F2.8 'IS' feels great with its incredible build quality (not mentioning weight?!) and features a very useable focal range. A fast aperture gives excellent image quality meaning it's hailed as one of the great portrait lenses. With its 3-stop image stabilizing, super sharp detail and quick autofocusing I couldn't agree more.

Even a lens this heavy, with a sturdy stance and 'IS' enabled, it can be held for 1/4 of a second and still produce sharp results! The low aperture gives me the chance to shoot in lower light, which will be ideal when shooting weddings. This is fast becoming my favourite lens, and if you haven't had a chance to experience one for yourself I encourage you to do so, especially with Canon's new launch of the MK2 version replacing the MK1 costing around a whopping £2,2k! It's incredible how fast this lens focuses!

Kit Bag - Canon ST-E2 Speedlite Transmitter

Using flash nearly everyday now, it's important I can rely on a successful fire rate. This meant throwing away the old eBay Cactus V2 triggers and moving to something more reliable. First choice may have been the pocketwizards, but now owning 2 speedlites a set would of cost nearly £700! The ST-E2 is cheaper and works on an infra-red beam (and therefore line of sight), but from my trials i'm yet to find any problems with range or triggering abilities for my current needs.

The ST-E2 acts as an AF-Assist beam which is great for shooting in lower light conditions and when I decide to upgrade to the Pocketwizards, the ST-E2 is still a handy addition. Attaching the ST-E2 ontop of the Pocketwizards will allow you to still use the 'ratio' function allowing you greater flexibility with your speedlites.