Gregg Jaden (@greggjaden_) is a travel and adventure photographer and filmmaker. “I shoot primarily in remote places and landscapes,” he says. “I rely heavily on a lightweight backpack as I carry my pack many miles daily, so I usually pack around 35 lbs. I shoot a combination of prime and zoom lenses. I pack as many as I can bring with my three camera bodies since I never know what to expect or what footage/photos I want to take on my travels.”
While the Alpha Collective member does his best to go light, he does live by the motto, “It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it,” so he admittedly packs heavier than many other photographers because he thinks it’s worth it. We caught up with Jaden to learn more about the gear you’ll find in his kit for capturing travel and adventure photo and video.
Sony Alpha 7R III: This camera is my go-to for stills. I use this entirely for the resolution. It gives me so much flexibility to shoot distant landscapes or subjects while having razor-sharp resolution when zooming or cropping the image. I often want to snap some mountain ranges using this camera or temples in Thailand, capturing every intricate detail of the interior or exterior design. I also use it for billboard shooting when needed, as the 42MP sensor is the perfect resolution for large format images.
Sony Alpha 7S III: This camera is my go-to for low-light situations. I usually shoot inside temples, which tend to be darker, or after sunset or at night. It’s incredibly sharp and I can shoot at a high ISO with virtually no noise. The Alpha 7S III camera body helps me with my run-and-gun style of filming fast in situations where I need to grab footage quickly and not worry about low light. The stabilization is also why it is my go-to for video. I can mount the Alpha 7S III on a cage with side or top handles and be in a tuk-tuk bouncing around Bangkok filming at night – and the footage is highly stable. Most of all, the S-Log and the famous S-Cinetone color profile is the perfect setting for cinema skin tones.
Sony FX3: My go-to for many reasons. First, it’s a powerful cinema camera the size of a mirrorless body. Second, I love how small it is. I film a lot of indigenous and foreign cultures that can get camera shy in a hurry. But with the FX3, most people think it’s a stills pocket mirrorless camera and don’t mind me shooting them. In my recent documentary, most indigenous children were excited to have the smaller cinema camera film them, not an intimidating larger cinema camera. I also love having the S-Cinetone profile, S-Log for ultra-raw shooting, internal camera stabilization and high-speed focusing system that locks on faces and eyes when I run and gun. I never have to worry about focus with all of my Sony cameras. The focus system is superior and so fast.
Sony 35mm f/1.4 G Master: This lens is my go-to for filming anything. It frames beautifully, resembling a hint of an anamorphic look and feel depending on where you position your subject. It also is wide enough for establishing shots and perfect for interviews or close-up portraits. It was my workhorse in my recent film.
Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master: This lens is also for creative filming of wide shots. I like to use this in low light situations where I want a comprehensive picture but a fast lens with razor-sharp night shooting. This lens is also incredibly sharp for astro shooting and my favorite for Milky Way shots.
Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master: I like to use this lens for intimate scenes, interview shots and portraits.
Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master: This is one of the most versatile lenses for any landscape photographer or filmmaker. I’ve used it for astro to capture the Milky Way and I’ve used it for many of my landscapes. I’ll use this lens when time or environment doesn’t permit an easy lens change. 16mm is usually wide enough of a creative choice, and 35mm offers flexibility for shooting 35mm on the go without changing lenses.
Sony 12-24mm f/4 G: This lens is one of my favorites for creativity. It has a wild ability to make foregrounds that other lenses cannot make when shooting at 12mm. Completely rectilinear. This lens leaves my audience guessing which lens the shots are with when seeing the finished result. My favorite way to use it is to make the foreground jump at you.
Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master: This beautifully sharp lens is my compression master. I utilize the incredible sharpness to bring backgrounds closer, reach mountain range layers or shoot at a waterfall that won’t allow me to get close due to massive amounts of spray.
Spare Memory Cards & Extra Batteries: I obviously always carry these extra items so my cameras are charged and my data is stored.
DUDE Wipes: These are great to keep clean.
Energy Chews: Sometimes I need these to make it back from long hikes.
HOYA Variable ND Filter: I use this filter for video work to control light.
HOYA Polarizer Filter: I use this filter to prevent light glare or water glare off of objects.
Filter Wrenches: I pack these for when I need to unscrew filters from lenses.
Water Protector: To protect my gear in case it rains.
Wool Beanie, Wool Gloves and Merino Wool Neck Warmer: Since weather can be so unpredictable in any outdoor shooting, I pack these to keep warm.
Ear Plugs: Saves my sleep when bats are squawking in caves and I’m in a tent in the middle of the jungle.
Sunglasses: To protect my eyes on those sunny days.
Two Headlamps: For night hikes.
Dust Blower: To keep things clean when changing lenses in challenging conditions.
Adjustable Camera Strap: This strap can easily be removed so I can quickly put the camera body on a stabilizer or rig.
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