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Friday, July 8, 2011

What do Canon, Shootsac, Sandisk and Pocket Wizards All Have in Common? They are all in photographer Maris Ehlers' bag! | Maris Ehlers Photography

A week or so ago, I was assigned the job of photographing the gear Maris uses to share on the MEP blog, and let me tell you... she's packing some heat!

I was surprised that Maris was willing to share with everyone the gear that she uses, as many photographers would hoard that to themselves.  Once again, however, she proves that while gear is important, it's not what makes the photographer.  

About half way through this assignment, I realized that she probably had another goal in mind, and that was to get me to research and learn about each of the pieces of equipment that she uses and WHY she uses it.  Tricky, tricky! 

Let's start with the camera body.  A Canon, of course! 

Maris has a Canon 5D Mark II. It is an amazing camera.  It has so many different features, including a full frame sensor, HD video, in-camera editing, over 20 mega pixels, and much much more. 

Not shown is Maris' backup camera body, a Canon 40D. You never know when you may have an equipment malfunction, and her 40D is ready to go just in case.  

Next on our list is a crazy handy device called an ExpoDisc. She has two a neutral and warm (she prefers the neutral one, I've found). She uses these to calibrate the white balance in different scenes throughout a shoot. Tricky to learn to use, but once you do you will really notice a difference in the color tone of your images.    

Speaking of lighting, flashes are a necessary item to have. You can see these are pretty beat up, but they still work great.  Maris uses them both as on camera and off camera flash, with a variety of diffusers and modifiers (a different post, perhaps?), and they work great when she's on the go.  Obviously for studio work these are not the flash sources she uses. 

I should note that Maris has two of these as well.  The second one gets used a lot by her second shooters, and of course also exists to be a back up if needed.  

Next is the lens lineup. 

1.  Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM
2.  Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens
3.  Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L USM
4.  Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L USM
5.  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens

She also has an 85 mm f1.8 and two other wide angle lenses (not shown here).  

Maris' 50mm f/1.2 and 85mm f/1.2 are her favorites for portraits, and she never leaves home without them.  

These two lens' both create great, crisp focus on your subject, and generate beautiful blur in the background. Ideal for head shots.

One of my favorites is her 100mm Macro lens.

This lens produce stunning close-up images. Maris uses this lens mainly for ring shots at weddings, and other small subjects with a lot of detail.

Maris' "Mega Lens" as I call it, is her 70-200mm lens.

This lens shines at it's 2.8 aperture, and while it doesn't create the same effect as the 50mm or 85mm lens, it can zoom in and out, unlike those lens, and allows for a lot of flexibility. It also creates great bokeh! 

The final lens in our lineup is Maris' least used lens. 

This lens is 16-35mm, which in the photography world, is considered a "wide-angle" lens. It's used, mainly, for landscapes and in the event one would like to capture a very large, wide area. Mostly at weddings.

Here's the gear all together (with a few extras, such as a diffuser, some light meters, pocket wizards, and a monopod):

It may not seem like a lot, but when you stop to think that Maris' gear no longer fits in a bag, but requires a suitcase, (two actually, the other used for lighting and accessories) it's a tad mind blowing. It took me a few weeks to understand what each lens does, and what each of their names were.

So, how in the world does Maris carry all of these lenses around during a shoot?  She doesn't.  One of her favorite pieces of equipment is her Shootsac.  She has two of them as well, and we each wear one and they are stuffed with lenses, business cards, cell phones, car keys and extra batteries and disks.  

There are six pockets for holding lens', and Maris has a cute cover that makes it uniquely hers.  Upon getting to know her, she definitely is a lime green and white polka dot kind of girl!  

Lastly, Maris has about 10 or so Sandisk Extreme IV and Pro Series  compact flash cards.  She won't use anything else! 

Feel free to post any questions about Maris' gear here.  I'll do my best to answer them, or track her down so she can.  

Thanks for reading! 

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