Do you have a favorite piece of gear? Or maybe you have five favorite bits of kit? Are you interested to know what professional photographers can’t do without in their camera bags? If so, we have a treat for you! Here’s professional photographer Gabriel Biderman on what he can’t shoot without!
As a night photographer I need very specific tools to make sure that I can stay productive and creative without the gear holding me back. Long exposures and continual shooting for three to five hours can push our devices to their limits. Below are my essential tools for night photography.
1. Power ONsite Relay C camera power system bundle
The final piece to the puzzle is power. Most mirrorless cameras have significantly less power than DSLRs and if we are committing to multi-hour time-lapse or star trails we are going to eat through batteries quick. I always travel with my ONsite 100W battery pack to ensure I have power in the field for not only my camera (when hooked into the ONsite Relay C) but my phone, dew heater and computer if I’m doing editing while I’m camping.
2. Tripod Gitzo GT2545T Series 2 Traveler carbon fiber tripod
My go-to tripod is the Gitzo Series 2 2545 carbon fiber Traveler tripod. This is compact enough for me to easily fit in any bag without weighing me down. It can hold 26lbs (12kg) and has a maximum working height of 60.8” (154.5cm).
3. Ballhead Acratech GXP-SS ballhead
A perfect match to the Gitzo tripod is the Acratech GP-SS ballhead with the lever lock. The GP-SS weighs under 1lb, yet it can support 25lbs. The lever lock is key to securing my camera to the head as it doesn’t feel like another adjustment knob in the dark.
(Note: the GP-SS ballhead has been updated to the GXP-SS ballhead.)
4. Leveling Base Acratech leveling base
I photograph astro-landscape images in our National Parks which means setting up on uneven terrain. When you add a leveling base, like the one by Acratech, you can easily make adjustments from the base of the tripod instead of adjusting each of the legs. A leveling base also ensures seamless stitching of panoramas.
My final build to the ultimate tripod kit is an L-Bracket. These are a much more secure way to attach your camera to your tripod head. Quick releases loosen quick. L-Brackets are incredibly secure and allow you to easily switch from shooting horizontal to vertical without making adjustments to your tripod head.
A parting quote
We asked Gabriel to finish with a quote that summarizes his thoughts about photography. This is what he had to say:
“I love the magic that happens when we extend our shutter speeds and truly play with time. I find these long exposures tap into endless ways we can bring out the essence of a place – whether they are the dark skies of our National Parks or car trails blazing through the city – seize the night!”
About Gabriel Biderman
Gabriel Biderman is a professional photographer based in New York City in the USA. He especially loves night photography, long exposures, and time-lapse photography, as well as the study of decay, or ruinism. He is co-founder of and an instructor with National Parks at Night.