Canon EOS Camera Equipment (current setup)
- Canon EOS 7D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera
- Canon EOS 50D 15.1 Megapixel Camera w/ 28-135mm IS Kit Lens
- Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
- Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens
- Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS SLR Lens
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens
Previous Equipment (old setup)
- Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO DG OS HSM Telephoto Zoom Lens
- Olympus Evolt E420 10MP Digital SLR Camera w/ Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens
- Olympus Zuiko 40-150mm f/3.5-4.5 Lens
- Olympus Zuiko 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Lens
- Olympus Zuiko EC-20 2x Teleconverter
Back in 2009, I picked up my first digital SLR camera. I did not come from a photography background, but my love for the outdoors and wildlife fueled my interest in learning. I thought I would share the history of the camera equipment that I own and previously owned to give you a sense of how I’ve gotten to where I am today.
Circuit City announced that it was going bankrupt back in 2008, less than two months after I got back from a stay in Bar Harbor, Maine. It was that vacation that made me decide to take up wildlife photography. On the final days of our local store coming to an end, I picked up a floor model of:
- Olympus Evolt E420 10MP Digital SLR Camera with 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko Lens
- Olympus 40-150mm f/3.5-4.5 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens
I got both for a heck of a price, but I had no idea if I made the right choice. I didn’t do any prior research on cameras other than hoping to get one, and now, I had one. My first SLR and short zoom telephoto lens! I was so excited! I did have one minor problem though, where do I go?
At the time, I didn’t know a fraction of what I know today, but I did know of the mansion grounds (Vanderbilt, FDR & Locust Grove). That was where I started taking my first photos. I remember the first wildlife photo I had taken was of a mallard at the Vanderbilt Mansion. It was a terrible photo, but I was so proud of it when I got it. I took mostly landscape photos that day, which was February 2009.
For following month, I went to Locust Grove in Poughkeepsie. It was there that I really began learning how to shoot wildlife photos. I still remember like it was yesterday. I saw virtually nothing but a black-capped chickadee. The photo looked great on the camera, but when I uploaded it to my computer, I saw just how out of focus it was. I was so upset at the sight, I went back the next morning to try again.
I fared much better the following day, capturing shots like the one you see here of the snakes. It was this exact day that I decided I wanted to go full steam ahead with this little venture, so I began looking for a longer telephoto lens.
In less than two weeks, I had ordered my next lens. It would be this lens that I used for nearly a year developing my skills as a wildlife photographer. I still knew virtually nothing at identifying birds or their songs, but being out in the field so frequently accelerated my learning. The lens I picked up was:
That wasn’t the only thing I picked up over the course of the year. I began picking up books, like the National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Birds of North America and The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America. I also picked up a pair of inexpensive Bushnell Binoculars to help me locate those elusive species.
I also found websites online such as the Ralph T. Waterman Bird Club. That led to field trips where I learned a wealth of knowledge on bird watching, which prompted me to become a member. They gave me a ‘Places to Bird’ pamphlet too, which I still reference today.
After using this camera setup for a year, I realized it probably wouldn’t be enough for my own personal preference. I wanted to really make a statement with my nature photography. I was still learning with the Olympus rig, but I had already began looking for bigger and better things. When the timing was just right, I ordered my next digital SLR:
- Canon EOS 50D 15.1 Megapixel Camera w/ a 28-135mm IS Kit Lens
- Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO DG OS HSM Telephoto Zoom Lens (for Canon cameras)
The moment I got this camera out in the field, I knew great things would happen. It wasn’t the most professional camera and lens combination you can buy, but it is a great budget choice for an outdoor enthusiast such as myself. After a few months of use, I had to share to find a unique way to share the photographs I was taking. In June of 2010, Local Exploration was born. Everything you have seen has been taken with this camera. 99% of the bird photographs are taken with the above mentioned lens. The other 1% would be from a lens I picked up later on:
Macro lenses are great for getting a beautiful amount of detail with small objects and animals. This became my go to lens when I would visit any local gardens to get stunning shots of butterflies, insects and flowers.
In 2013, I stepped it up further with the Canon EOS 7D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera and Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens. I lost a little bit of distance, but I made up for it in photo quality.
And there you have it, my main equipment from beginning to present!