Photography gear, it is something that I think most photographers have a love/hate relationship with, mostly the hate is that one does not have the gear one wants already.
So here is what is in my bag, and why.
Nikon D800 - I could certainly have settled for a entry level camera had I not been shooting as much night photos as I do, and also that I work as a photographer being able to deliver high quality work is key.
Zeiss 15mm F2.8 Distagon - I had the Nikon 14-24 f2.8 and sold it to get this one, some might wonder why that is, one of the biggest reason is the hard stop infinity on the Zeiss, I do not have to worry about getting perfect focus in complete darkness anymore, and that is crucial when the aurora suddenly flares up while you are walking and have to get the gear ready quick. The other reasons is the quality of the lens, the 14-24 beats it on the edges but the zeiss has much better performance in the center, especially at 2.8.
Nikon 24mm F1.4 G - The 24 at f2.8 vs the zeiss at 2.8 is no match, the 24 blows it out of the water, I use this lens when I want to get a little more natural perspective but still retain a wide angle to capture the aurora. It is also my go to lens for panorama, I have done quite a few with the zeiss, but with the 24 it is just so much easier to put together the images without resorting to warping it to get it to look right. And also it goes to f1.4, perfect for shooting video and also isolating subjects.
Nikon 50mm F1.8 G - When it comes to the most bang for the buck, nothing beats this one, incredibly sharp, especially stopped down to f.2.8, but still sharp at 1.8. This lens I use to get that natural perspective as the human eye sees it (Human eye is more equivalent to 48mm, but close enough I would say). I have pre-ordered the Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art to step up the quality even more.
Nikon 28-300 F3.5-5.6 - This is the Kit lens equivalent for full frame, but make no mistake, this lens is really good, at the long end it does get a bit soft, but most lenses with such a range of focal lenght does.
And a big factor is the close focus distance, at only 25cm it is getting quite close to macro performance, and 300mm at F5.6 blows out the background quite nicely. This is also my go to travel lens.
Induro Tripod Ct113 - Great performance and incredibly light carbon fiber tripod, have even had a Red epic, with a big ass cinema lens + extras on this when I helped on a set as a B-photographer, it is a solid tripod.
Manfrotto Ballhead 055 w/Q5 quick release - This is a great head, and it can take a lot more weight than the tripod can, and I have gotten this tested in so many different scenarios, it performs flawlessly. And the Q5 quick release has a safety mechanism so you will not slide off the camera even after you have released the tension screw, you still have to press a button to release it fully which is great for those long nights when you get tired and focus starts to drop.
Manfrotto Pixi - Table top tripod, while this can technically take the D800 w/lens I use this for the Spydercube, so I can place it in the shot take a picture and apply accurate settings in post for all pictures taken under the same conditions.
Lowepro Flipside 300 AW - Great bag, nice and compact and you can design the inside to fit your needs.
Lowepro Rover - Waterproof with the ziplock tightened, this is for really bad weather, or when I need to take extra stuff besides camera gear as it has a rather big compartment for that.
Polarizers and Nd filters to better work with light and reflection.
Spydercube and Spyder Lenscal for accuracy
Battery grip + extra batteries for cold nights and timelapse shooting.
Remote release, it helps a lot to get the sharpest possible images.
Wet cleaning kit for troublesome spots on the sensor
Sensor gel stick for regular cleaning of sensor.
Lastolite 5:1 Difuser/reflector more for portrait work, I do not do much of it, but it is a great thing to have.
Blackrapid camera strap - Better to have the camera hanging on the shoulder and not the neck, especially for longer session of handholding.
Other nitbits not worth mentioning.
It is not like I started out with everything mentioned here, I have saved over a long period of time to get everything and I have aquired it 1 thing at a time.
You can do a lot with entry level gear and a kit lens, but I can say with confidence that the aurora photos I aspired to get when I was shooting with the Nikon D90 + 18-105 kit lens, was not possible.
And I also would like to mention that even though it is a lot of stuff, it is still just tools.
So what is in your bag ?