kyle cassidy (kylecassidy) wrote,
kyle cassidy

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Packing for the Dalai Lama

This Wednesday I'm headed up to Boston to photograph the Dalai Lama again, thanks to the Prajna Upadesa Foundation who've invited me to photograph this amazing person three times now. (You can read about the second time I photographed him here.) So this morning Roswell and I are up early packing. Packing posts are sort of like unboxing posts in their self-indulgence, but it's what gearheads do. So here's what's going in the bags.

The Dalai Lama arrives, surrounded by U.S. Marshals in 2009. Click to enlarge.

I shot in 2009 with a Nikon 700 and mostly a 12-24mm lens for the up close stuff and a 80-200 for thing that were further away. There are basically three types of photography involved in this and they're all a bit different. The Dalai Lama is either in a small room with a very few people, or he's in a giant room with thousands of people and the d700 did a pretty good job (I think the first time I did this I was using a d300 and a 300mm f2.8)

You always want to ratchet up your end result from your previous work, so this time I'm bringing three camera systems (ugh).

Roswell helping me to pack. Click to enlarge.

What to bring?

Nikon d800
28-20 2.8
80-200 2.8
50mm 1.8

The Nikon's very fast focusing and it's the most sophisticated, and it's also 36 megapixels which means there's lots of room for cropping. The downsides of the Nikon are that it's big and heavy and noisy.

Panasonic GX7
20mm f1.7
14mm 2.8
45mm 2.8 macro
8mm fisheye
Nikon lens converter

The GX7, while being a micro four thirds camera with a much smaller sensor has a few tactical advantages over the nikon. One is that since it's mirrorless there's a very nice live view with a pop out screen, which means you can frame things with the camera on the floor or up over your head. It's also got a crazy fast frames per second burst mode (might be six or eight fps, I forget, but it's fast) AND it's silent so you can shoot as much as you'd like in a room with people talking quietly and not get in the way. PLUS I can put the Nikon 80-200 on it.

Leica M9
50mm 1.8
35mm 1.7
90mm 2.8

I'm bringing the Leica just so I'll have something to talk about with other photographers. While it's a Leica and it's not outclassed by any other camera, it's totally out-performed by the others. It's slow, the focus is odd (and manual). But it's a freaking Leica.

More gear more closer clickenzee to embiggen

1 strobe head
3 Pocket Wizard radio triggers
1 light stand
1 Photek Softlighter II (the 36 inch one)

I shot a bunch of portraits the last time with an on camera bounce flash which worked pretty well but lighting is the key to everything and an umbrella is better than a bounce flash, and a softbox is better than an umbrella, so you bring what you can and use what you're able.

I'm bringing a rolling bag, a Domke "little bit bigger" and a Domke Photogs vest. If only the Nikon didn't make such great photos, I could leave half this stuff at home.

Anyhoo. I'll probably be Twittering about it during, so check me out there if you haven't. I may also have time for a Boston meetup Thursday night, lateish.

(6:30 am, Roswell still helping, she has a surprise planned for His Holiness.)

Roswell wonders what the mouse situation is like at Dharamsala. Clickenzee to Embiggen

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