Gear Check: Nathan Hughes' Photo Pack

Aug 25, 2015
by Nathan Hughes  
They say trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body. Unfortunately trying to be a photographer of bikes without quite a large amount of equipment isn't going to work. It was a topical issue for me during the last two rounds of the World Cup after the airline lost my suitcase for the entire trip to Mont St Anne and Windham. I say 'lost', it was just sat next to the baggage carousel, behind a taped-off area at JFK while they ignored my calls and emails. Anyway it's lucky I was absolutely rinsing the weight limit on baggage carry-on and that I found a few good people with the humanity to spare some clean underwear or things would have been a lot tougher. Inside that over-filled bag, that is physically immovable to your average trans-Atlantic air-hostess, is a smorgasbord of possessions of oscillating importance to the range of mountain environments that are relevant to bike riding. Let's take a look...

Camera Bag check...
  I'm running the Dakine Reload 30 liter, which is a smart-looking photo-pack that holds its shape well when full and is relatively light when empty. It's easy to strap tripods to the outside and super quick-access for when you're changing lenses a hundred times a day. Approaching the departure gate always starts off a cold sweat because it's never going to be much under 20kg.

Camera Bag check...
  Of the soon to be evident, huge mass of annoying things that hover in and out my bag at an event or photo shoot, the most essential from the photography side is probably just the Nikkor 70-200mm and the 16mm fish eye. With a camera to fix them to, you can get pretty much all the variety you need to get the job done.

Bag Check - Nikon D4
  The chief nug-maker herself in all her scratched up glory, already looking about 10 years old. We've been through many ups and downs together, PODs captured and PODs released into the wild never to be seen again. I haven't checked the shutter count because ignorance is bliss and I don't want to feel guilty when I finally put it on Ebay in the immaculate box and try to call it 'BNWT'. Just a joke; 100% positive feedback.

Camera Bag Check

Hardware Inventory:

Nikon D4
Nikon D750
Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8
Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8
Nikkor 16mm f2.8
Nikkor 300mm f2.8
Nikkor 105mm f2.8
HP laptop
Samsung & WD hard-drives
Hama Mini Traveller Pro Tripod x2
Gorillapod
Sirui P326 Monopod
Nikon SB700 x2
Pocket Wizard TT1
Pocket Wizard TT5 x2
Spare batteries & AA rechargeables
SD & CF memory cards x4
Lexar High Speed Card Reader
Motorola TKLR T80 radios x2
Dictaphone
Magura iphone powerpack


Camera Bag Check
  Other pseudo-essentials that I burden myself with at your average event include: lens wipes, rain jacket, sunscreen, race start lists, camera rain-cover, bug-spray, air-blower, business cards, headphones with airplane adapter, passport, media pass, media vest, lighter, USB, toothbrush, Adidas prescription sunglasses, 2012-expired Powerbars, contact lenses, Swiss-Army knife, head torch that once saved my life, double-mint gum, emergency gummy burger, useless foreign currency and horrific tangles of charger cables. I also throw in the little packets of silica gel you get with new trainers to try to keep things dry, taking care to avoid eating them, as instructed.

Camera Bag check...
  Midway through the season I upgraded my D3 to the new D750, which although has a slower frame-rate, is on-par with the D4s in low light and in terms of resolution and auto-focus. Buying a second body can be a tough one to swallow for a lot of photographers starting out, but I learned my lesson last year in Cairns having flown all the way to Australia to drown my only camera in the cyclone. Besides having a back up, you can benefit from two angles or at least not having to swap lenses at key moments come finals.

Camera Bag check...
  The 300mm is a bit of a canon (not a branding pun), so it can be difficult to find the space to use it properly on a lot of tracks, but when it works out it's worth the literal pain of transporting it. The D750 feels like a toy, which is awesome for sticking on top of a monopod or on those shoots where you have to ride yourself. Here's to not snapping-off the twisty screen or filling the back of it with Andorran mud.


MENTIONS: @natedh9




68 Comments

  • + 95
 That moment, when a backpack costs more than a new car...
  • + 37
 or even more than a bike Smile
  • + 53
 Or your wife...
  • + 14
 if that's true, sell your wife an d buy car and bike :-)
  • + 18
 I need Gwin's gear check.
  • + 15
 You all need a check up from the neck up Smile
  • - 15
flag St1234 (Aug 24, 2015 at 13:56) (Below Threshold)
 I have a iPhone and go pro it does it all !
  • + 3
 St1234 Yeaa no it doesn't. Have you ever actually seen what goes into taking a pro level photo? it is WAY more extensive than pushing a button.
  • + 30
 This was a cool article. I enjoyed the stories and the insite into what it takes to be a photographer (at least gear wise). I would love to see other photographers do something similar
  • + 13
 Yeah, the Behind the Lens series is fantastic, and I'd love to see a What's In the Bag / Gear Check series as well.
  • + 4
 Totally agree. Hopefully we will see more articles like that after the Worlds when the season is done, given the positive feedback they are getting. Full exif on the photos again would be cool as well.
  • + 11
 @natedh9 i was in val di sole capturing some action , has been a pleasure to see how you and all the other pro-photographer like sven , boris , fraser work .... P.s do you remember me? , i was the one with the red hat and the black tee .....
Ciao
  • + 13
 Keep up the shots man!
  • + 7
 I admire @natedh9 job... I only have one question... why don't you use the XQD slot in your camera??? (Nerdy question I know). I've been using this card for almost 3 years now and they are absolutely winners over CF cards. You should try them out... just my five cents.

Cheers for having one of the coolest jobs... making MTB pics for a living.

Beer
  • + 6
 The cost of the XQD put me off, plus I figured they were aimed at video so I never considered them again... Are they so much quicker?
  • + 4
 The XDQ is incredibly fast, especially when you're downloading the files. I think you'd be stoked on it.
  • + 3
 Cheers Tim I'll have to invest Smile
  • + 2
 I agree with @TimZim ... downloading is where you really enjoy the potential. But also as capturing. On the D4s is a bit quicker than the D4 but that also is because of the newer sensor-processor kit on the S. But I guarantee you'll notice the difference over the CF. Cheers.
Beer
  • + 2
 also better for heavy duty work over the CF.

Cheers again... haha Beer (just an excuse to take another beer).
  • + 6
 Anyone remember that Reddit thread were the dude took a picture of his camera photographing his camera to photograph his camera...etc. So, how did you photograph your camera Nathan?
  • + 18
 I shot with the D3 body that I just upgraded and the 24-70mm lens in the photo. I then took a pic of the 24-70 in it's place in the layout using the 105mm lens and photoshopped it back in. No 'Inception' techniques needed haha...
  • + 2
 That disappoints me, but would also be the exact way I would do it.
  • + 3
 Mmm Photoshop the things we can do. @natedh9
  • + 4
 really interesting article!!! thanks for taking the time to post up what you use. Would be really interested to read more about the photography side of events. The pictures on pinkbike are by far the best i see anywhere, would be really cool to read how they were taken, what settings and what was done in PP after the shot. I know a lot of people probably arent interested, but there are a lot of people that appreciate the effort that goes into a great photo, and what takes a good picture into the realms of an epic one.
  • + 4
 Cool gear check! Loved it. But if it's not a branding pun, shouldn't it be a "Cannon" then? Wink
  • + 1
 @natedh9 Perhaps a future article about using your SB700 and pocket wizards? As someone who really likes his off-camera lights, I am curious how they get used in your line of work. Are they used more for a controlled product shoot, or used when a competition is happening? I figure nobody would like to be flashed (well...) going down the hill.
  • + 2
 @FlawlessCowboy at the World Cups I have the flashes only as a last resort... There's surprisingly few chances to catch the top riders so to take the time to set up at multiple spots would probably be a mistake especially given the ISO performance cameras have nowadays. I don't think there's anybody of the pro WC photographers using them more than once or twice a season...
  • + 5
 and here Im am with my D3200 and my 105mm nikkor. sick setup, I envy you.
  • + 12
 A bit of Ebay trading can get you there! I worked my way up from a second hand D70 in 2010 -> D90 -> D700 -> D3 before getting the D4 new last year...
  • + 5
 My best first pics were taken with a D50 and a 18-135mm lens back in 2007. The camera is just a tool. All you need is creativity.

Cheers, Beer
  • + 11
 I would agree, but would not recommend a D50 shooting in the woods for PB's current full-screen format haha!
  • + 2
 bruh, canon mju ZOOM 70
  • + 2
 Ah, good 'ol D70, I remember those days Wink .
  • + 1
 All I need is my galaxy S3 camera..
  • + 2
 been lurking a while on Ebay for a 50mm or shorter Lens for travel. I should up my skills then to get the most out of my Nikon.
  • + 1
 Any comment on why you go with the Dakine bag over some of the more fancy-shmancy options out there like F-stop or Mindshift? I'm really curious to hear what a pro thinks of this thing, TBH: www.bikerumor.com/2015/08/11/review-mindshift-rotation180o-trail-hydration-pack-with-swing-around-camera-case
  • + 2
 Looks like a rad design @groghunter, but too small for shoots other than the couple I get to make on a bike myself. I had the Evoc CP35l for a long time which is also a popular choice at the WC, but had finally seen better days. Yet to try an F-stop...
  • + 1
 Yea, definitely a small pack, but I guess that's somewhat intentional. when you're not taking the pack off to get the camera out, they're not probably expecting you carry a bunch of lenses, since changing them out would make you take the pack off. Somebody brought an f-stop to our last trail day, very nice, I must say, but I question if it's nice enough to justify the price premium. Anyway, thanks for the response!
  • + 5
 That 300mm 2.8 is so goddamn sexy
  • + 3
 As someone who totes around a 300 everyday and a 400 2.8 a few times a week, I know your pain.
  • + 3
 2012 expired Power Bars. Yum. Good news is that they probably taste the same as a new one.
  • + 1
 damn thats a whole lotta 2.8's going on there. i was thinking of getting some huge raw chunks of glass and doing some polishing to try to make a lens from, i wonder if that would work?
  • + 3
 "Headtorch that once saved my life" - There must be a story to be told here, no?
  • + 5
 After dark heli-rescue in Chamonix last winter!
  • + 3
 Ok there's the gear, show us the metadata please.
  • + 2
 Agreed, it's nice to see the details as a photographer. Anyone know why it's been removed from PB?
  • + 1
 It was all shot around f4, 1/160, at 35mm & ISO 500 in a gloomy attic with a floor-level window to the front, which explains why everything looks like it's stuck to the wall...
  • + 2
 "emergency gummy burger".. please tell us more! This stuff could be of vital importance!
  • + 3
 Always love seeing 'behind the scenes" of photographers gear bags.
  • + 2
 Thanks for the gear check! Love to see all the small things that make awesome photos!
  • + 2
 Such a sick setup! D4 looks like a beast along with the 300 mm teli. I'd like to see the Gorilla pod handle that!
  • + 1
 If all your cameras are laid out then what did he take the pictures with?!?!?
  • + 3
 sick
  • + 2
 F-STOP Tilopa is the best, a
  • + 2
 105mm is macro for roots or DC lense for portraits?
  • + 1
 I wondered the same thing. You can shoot the same focal length and aperture on 70-200..
  • + 1
 The minimum focusing distance is basically point blank with the 105... Really there aren't a million uses for it at the World Cup, except to show tiny details now and again or shoot the odd spider in Cairns. It's maybe the one that gets left in the hotel for the day first...
  • + 2
 I wish I knew how to take good photos.
  • + 2
 When your phone just won't do...
  • + 1
 So, if i just shoot you my address, you're willing to send me ALL of that?! Your kindness overwhelms me! Big Grin Big Grin
  • + 1
 What do you use for editing? Lightroom, Photoshop?
  • + 1
 Lightroom all the way @foxfrederik, should have switched a lot earlier than I did!
  • + 2
 #GEARGRID
  • + 1
 @dodelarosa checa este artículo tío
  • - 3
 My iPhone camera is 8 megapixels so I really don't need all this stuff...
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.048868
Mobile Version of Website