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Workflow/Before The Shoot

Before The Shoot
During The Shoot
After The Shoot
What's in the bag?
Lowepro Backpack Flipside 300 AW II Camo Pixel
Lowepro Backpack Flipside 300 AW II Camo Pixel

Preparation

There is no doubt that good preparation is half the work before going out into the wild. Nothing is more frustrating than having a spectacular view in front of your camera and missing that perfect shot because you forgot a crucial piece of equipment.

It all starts with a good bag or backpack, just enough space and not too heavy. I'm using the Lowepro Backpack Flipside 300 AW II Camo Pixel. It's a medium-sized backpack printed with camo motive. Below you see a collage of all the equipment that goes into my bag (except the monopod attached to the outside).

Hover over the white dots for more information (Best viewed on large screens).

Workflow - Before The Shoot
Western Digital My Passport Wireless SSD 1Tb
2x SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-II Cards
Sirui P-424SR Carbon Fiber Monopod
Novoflex VR-System Slim
Lenspen
Fujinon XF 1.4X TC WR Teleconverter
Giottos Rocket Blower
Sirui L-10 Monopod Tilt Head
Fujinon XF 10-24mm F4 R OIS
Fujinon XF 80mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro
Fujifilm X-T3 with Battery Grip
Fujinon XF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR
Godox TTL Li-ion Round Head Camera Flash V1F
Polar Pro ND Filters (Shutter Collection)
Nikon Monarch HG 10x42
6x Li-ion NP-W126S Batteries
Mentos
Lee Big Stopper (10-stops ND Filter)
B+W Slim Circular Polarisation Filter
Hoya Variable ND Filter
DJI Osmo Pocket
X-Rite Colorchecker Passport
Do you need all that equipment?

The answer is: No!

A camera, a lens, a battery and a memory card are enough, but you will find out soon that to cover specific situations you need specific equipment:

Every item in my bag has it's function!

  • Can I create a macro photo?
    Fujinon XF 80mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro
  • Can I create a wide-angle landscape photo?
    Fujinon XF 10-24mm F4 R OIS
  • The subject is far away?
    Fujinon XF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR
  • My telelens has not enough reach?
    Fujinon XF 1.4X TC WR Teleconverter
  • There is not enough light?
    Godox TTL Li-ion Round Head Camera Flash V1F
  • Can I make a perfect 360° panorama photo?
    Novoflex VR-System Slim
  • Do I have enough memory cards?
    2x SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-II Cards
  • Can I create a backup during the shoot?
    Western Digital My Passport Wireless SSD 1Tb

  • Do I have enough power?
    6x Li-ion NP-W126S Batteries
  • My camera or lens is dirty, can I clean it?
    Giottos Rocket Blower+Lenspen+Tissues
  • I want to minimize the reflection of the water surface?
    B+W Slim Circular Polarisation Filter
  • Can I create long exposure photos?
    Lee Big Stopper (10-stops ND Filter)+Hoya Variable ND Filter
  • Remote controlled video/photo camera to avoid disturbing of wildlife?
    DJI Osmo Pocket+Polar Pro ND Filters (Shutter Collection)
  • I want to be sure that the colours are correct!
    X-Rite Colorchecker Passport
  • Can I observe the surroundings without moving the camera?
    Nikon Monarch HG 10x42

With all this equipment listed above in my bag, I can cover every situation!

Weight is a problem!

As Small As Possible

The disadvantage of having all that equipment is the weight. Doing wildlife and nature photography usually means that you need to walk long distances, and the less weight you carry, the more fun you have.

So I needed a solution without compromising image quality. My goal was A.S.A.P. (not an abbreviation for "As Soon As Possible" but for "As Small As Possible").

No big Nikon or Canon 600mm lenses or heavy DSLR cameras that together can be 5Kg, a burden to carry while hiking unless you want a power gym session. Instead, I chose the Fujifilm X-Series camera system. This is smaller than a regular DSLR.

Tripods with a big gimbal head are also a no go for me, and they are too heavy and time-consuming to set-up. Instead, I prefer a good monopod; it's a real time-saver.

In fact, all the equipment that I own is characterized by its size or weight.

Weight is a problem!
Weight is a problem!
Equipment check-up
Camera settings
Camera settings

Check your camera equipment & settings!

Before the shoot, I always do a check-up of my camera equipment. Is everything working like expected? On longer trips, I always take a second camera-body with me. You never know.

Power is crucial, so multiple batteries are a must! If that's not enough, an external power bank can save you. Memory cards are cheap these days, but I prefer a good backup system instead.

Digital cameras have hundreds of settings that you can change, and they must be all set the way you want them for a particular shot. Fujifilm has a handy software tool to backup all those settings, and then you can load them on the fly with Fujifilm X Acquire (free to download). I love this tool because you don't want to dig into the menus while on location and miss some action.

Location & weather

Be prepared for the worst conditions!

When doing a long trip or vacation abroad, I always check what to expect at the location. What kind of wildlife would I encounter, and what are their behaviours? Although I prefer to go solo, it's sometimes recommended to consult a local guide, after all, they know where to find all the best places for wildlife. Climate is also important to take into account. If you go for a trip to the cloud forests of Costa Rica or the Colombian jungle, be prepared for heavy rain showers, so dress accordingly and protect your equipment with a rain cover!

Most of the time, I spend long hours at a location waiting for some action, so I always take food and drinks. A good cup of hot coffee can help you pass the time while enjoying the surroundings!

Rain cover
Rain cover
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About Dirk Beckers
Dirk Beckers is a hobby wildlife & nature photographer living in Antwerp (Belgium). Fujifilm is mostly the gear I prefer but sometimes Nikon has a place in my bag. Aside from some exposure, sharpening, noise reduction and basic colour corrections, I don't spend much time post-processing my photos. I believe that good photographs are accomplished outdoors, in the field, and not in front of the computer. That's the essence of my photography. Click here for more.
Bird Identification
Please be aware that I'm not an expert in Ornithology. I'm using Merlin app from The Cornell Lab for bird identification, but if you think that there are still some mistakes with the names of the birds, please feel free to contact me. I will be happy to make the necessary corrections!
Copyright Notice
For non-commercial uses, my photos are free to share but if you are interested in using one of my photos for commercial purposes in a legal way, please contact me. If you use my photos for commercial purposes without my consent, I do a regular reverse image search on a regular basis.