What is inside photographer's bag is usually a well kept secret. Some photographers are happy to share it, some keep it to themselves, but on average we almost all use the same tools and the final result depends more on the creativity of the photographer, technical knowledge, eye for composition & small details, luck and of course post-processing.
'In My Photography Bag' series of articles we aim to collect and look at the work of established & upcoming skateboard photographers of past and present, as well as riders turned photographers and show what can be achieved with both simple & sophisticated tools available on the market.
We continue the series with photographer Maksim Kalanep - London based freelance photographer.
Maksim Kalanep: What I currently own and use are mostly Nikon cameras, lenses and accessories. My very first camera that I owned was a digital SLR Nikon D200. Up to that moment I've already tried Zenit E film camera from my grandad, as well as Nikon D70 digital, Nikon FM2 & FM3 film cameras at the university. Since then I've been through Nikon D700, lots of Nikon 50mm lenses variations, Nikon D750 & Nikon D800 which I lost in the accident, and several film cameras. I've stopped for now on Nikon D810 digital body and Nikon F100 film camera. As for my lighting setup I'm using 4x Nikon Speedlights with Pocket Wizard Plus II radio triggers. The full range of my past and present equipment with photo examples is listed below.
This is my main camera body. It's a great all around camera with more than enough resolution and dynamic range for almost any situation. Not ideal for low light, but acceptable.
Nikon 16mm f/2.8 D
Great for any skateboard photography situation when space is limited or traditional skateboard angle of view is required. I'm not so good with fisheye, I do get acceptable results from time to time, but it's more luck than consistency. Shooting Eric Koston below was a lot of pressure, but I think we got a fine result in the end.
Nikon 24mm f/1.8 G ED
I haven't yet had a chance to properly shoot with this lens, since I just bought it to replace both Nikon 20mm f/1.8 ED G & Nikon 28mm f/1.8 G lenses that I owned before.
Nikon 35mm f/1.8 G ED
My second favourite lens after Nikon 85mm f/1.8 G lens. I can shoot almost anything with these two lenses. Both are plasticky, but light and compact. Optically both are supreme on Nikon D810 body when stopped down a bit.
Nikon 60mm f/2.8 G ED
I only use 60mm lens to digitise my B&W film. Sometimes for extreme close ups. But it is still great to own one in case you need it.
Nikon 85mm f/1.8 G
My favourite lens since I got my very first 85mm - original Nikon 85mm f/1.8 D version. The modern G version has more resolving power on D800/D810 bodies, so once I upgraded from D700 that was a natural move as well. If you happen to shoot on D700 then D is a solid metal lens and performs as well. I'm mostly shooting at f/2.8 during day and open it up all the way to f/1.8 during low light situations. It's small, light and always delivers for a quarter of the price of its f/1.4 version - Nikon 85mm f/1.4 G ED.
Probably the best film camera available second hand for a very reasonable price. Packs everything you need in a robust body including support for all the modern Nikon G lenses. Want to shoot fully manual - you can, fully automatic - you can, auto focus - you can. Have old Nikon lenses - no worries, have modern Nikon lenses with no aperture ring - not a problem at all.
Olympus MJU II
Great little pocket film camera with a fast 35mm 2.8 lens. Fully automatic, weather sealed and very reliable. Misses focus from time to time, though, which is to be expected.
Pocket Wizard Plus II Transceivers
I own 4 of these radio transmitters & triggers to accommodate my 3 flashes - one on camera body and 3 go with the flashes. They work flawlessly. There are cheaper alternatives these days, but I bought these a long time ago and see no reason to swap these for anything else at the moment.
Manfrotto Nano Stands
Very light, compact & affordable stands. Maybe not as sturdy as a classic stand, but more than enough for standard speedlights. I own 3 of these.
Peak Design Leash neck strap - very compact, strong and easy to put and take the camera off it.
Computer & Backup
I use 2013 MacBook Pro Retina 13' in basic configuration for quick edits on the spot, I carry it with me most of the time, fits nicely in both LowePro & Billingham bags. As for the backup I use Lacie Rugged 1TB.
Used To Own
Digital cameras: Nikon D750, Nikon D800, Nikon D700, Nikon D200, Fuji X100.
Lenses: Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8 G ED, Nikon 20mm f/1.8 G ED, Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4 D, Nikon 28mm f/2.8 D, Nikon 28mm f/1.8 G, Nikon 35mm f/2 D, Nikon 50mm f/1.4 G, Nikon 50mm f/1.4 D, Nikon 50mm f/1.8 D, Nikon 50mm f/1.8 E, Nikon 50mm f/1.8 G, Nikon 85mm f/1.8 D, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 G ED VR II.
Film cameras: Hasselblad Xpan + 45mm f/4, Polaroid 636, Pentax 67II + 105mm f/2.4, Nikon FE2, Nikon EM, Nikon Nikonos V, Hasselblad 500CM + 80mm f/2.8, Leica CL + 40mm f/2, Lubitel 166, Zenza Bronica ETRSi, Yashica Flex 635, Nishika 3D, Zenit E.