I started photography in 2001 when I was on top of the World Trade Center in New York exactly three weeks before it came down. A landscape image that I took then was of New Jersey across the Hudson. It was the first photograph I envisioned before I took the shot. When 9/11 happened, I knew that I could no longer go back there to take that shot again. New York (and America) is no longer the same.
My first film camera, the one that I took that landscape shot with, was the Nikon F-401, my father’s 35mm SLR. Later, when I went to college, I got the FE2 and that stayed as my favourite camera. I quickly fell in love with portrait photography. I could not afford photography school so I’m self-taught, which, perhaps, isn’t really a bad thing.
Although my commercial work is in digital these days, I still shoot portraits on film. I currently use a Mamiya RB67 Pro S with a 90mm f/3.5 lens with FujiFilm 160NS and Kodak Portra films. I use a Sekonic L-358 lightmeter because I still use strobes for some of my portrait work. Otherwise, I would pack a L-398, which is so much smaller. If I can, I try to shoot wide open, and, on bright days, this is only possible if I have an ND filter, which I got from Hoya. Another filter I use is a recent addition: Tiffen Black Pro Mist 1/4 filter (not shown in pic). I pack a second film back in case I need a different speed film. I made my own film tabs to size because the tabs that come with the film boxes don’t quite fit right on the RB67.
Also in the bag: cable release, shoulder strap from Peak Design, a lens brush, a pencil, and a Moleskine “field notebook” and some fun film-themed stickers. I try my best to keep my kit to the minimum, and this is the best I can do, sorry! Okay, maybe I’ll drop the stickers.
My bag is from Wotancraft, a very special Taiwanese company that makes classic shoulder bags with wax canvas. It took me a long time to find a bag that would fit all that kit in. The Wotancraft is super spacious and comes with dividers and a 15″ laptop sleeve, though I never bring a laptop together with the camera (too heavy). The design of the bag makes it super durable and I hope it’s one of those that will look better with age. I carry my tripod separately or I can strap it onto the outside of the bag flap. The awesomest part about this bag is when you attempt to squeeze in a lot of gear, it doesn’t look out of shape. It always looks right!