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What’s In Your Camera Bag?: Infrared Photographer Nathan Wirth

Nathan Wirth

Nathan Wirth

Nathan Wirth uses long exposure or an infrared converted digital camera to shoot his fine art landscapes. Here he captures an infrared, ‘Road and Light – Howth Park, Santa Rosa, CA’.

What’s in your camera bag?
Sony Alpha 850, Sony Alpha 100 Infrared Converted Camera, Canon G10,Sony Sigma 17mm-35mm, Sony 18mm-55mm, Minolta 50mm, Hitech IRND 10 Stop ND Filter, Hitech IRND 6 Stop ND Filter, Hitech IRND 3 Stop ND Filter, Lee “Big Stopper” 10 Stop ND Filter, Lee 3 Stop ND Filter, Lee 3 Stop Graduated ND Filter (Soft), Lee 1 Stop Graduated ND Filter (Soft), Lee 3 Stop Graduated ND Filter (Hard), B+W ND 110 – 10 Stop ND Filter (77mm), B+W ND 110 – 10 Stop ND Filter (55mm), Lee Filter Holder, Lee Filter Holder Adapter 82mm, Lee Filter Holder Adapter 77mm, Lee Filter Holder Adapter 49mm, Neewer® shutter release timer remote control, Hoodman loupe (which I never use), 2 extra batteries, extra scan disk cards, hat (for warmth), battery recharger, fanny pack (for carrying around filters), a good luck Buddha charm that my wife gave me. My tripod does not fit in my bag, but it is essential to my work and goes where I go. I use a Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod with a Manfrotto 498RC2 Ball Head.

What’s in your bag that is specific to the type of work you shoot? Because I primarily do long exposure work, the ND filters and grads are essential. Over the past two years I have been doing a lot of work with infrared, so the converted camera has become equally essential. I had my Sony Alpha 100 converted by Life Pixel—they removed the filter over the sensor that blocks out infrared light and replaced it with their Deep BW (820nm) filter.  This allows me to take hand-held infrared shots, rather than having to use a screw on filter and a tripod.  Infrared film is a whole other world of confusion and a very difficult one.  I have not pursued it.  Digital photography and infrared go together much more easily.

What’s the most unusual item in your camera bag? Probably the little Buddha good luck charm that is a gift from my wife. When shooting, I am often out and about by myself and I like the idea of having a little something that she gave me in my bag.

What can’t you live without? Every single item is expendable—each of these items simply being a tool that I use to capture my images. That said, I would be fairly upset if I dropped the Lee Big Stopper because you often have to wait a very long time to get your hands on a new one. Then again, I would just use the new Hitech filters, which are the latest toys that I am playing with.

What is your workhorse item? I use everything in the bag and would not be surprised if each thing stopped working or broke at the same time due to my consistent use of them.

Any tricks for packing light, space-saving techniques? Only the obvious—carry only what you really need. If you arrive to a scene and don’t have what you think is the right lens, then just adjust and rethink the scene with what you have. If I am doing infrared work, I tend to leave the bag in the car and just grab the camera for my hike. If I am doing long exposure work, I often put a few filters, an extra battery and memory card, and the shutter time release into my fanny pack and take that with me along with my full frame camera (which I sling over my shoulder), and the Manfrotto tripod.

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