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Vojta Herout / April 24, 2018

What is in Vojta Herout’s bag?

The quest being obvious, another thing is also for sure - it’s the equipment you bring along that can make all the difference. And since we all carry the weight, what is it that proves worthy of your backpack?

Whether you’re on the one special sunrise shot hunt or have a whole weekend session ahead of you, you are the one in control over the accessories you’ll end up carrying around.

But trying to figure out what needs to be left behind and what is a must for you can be a real stumper. Let’s hear it from Vojta, our professional guide who’s had his share of photo travels - from reportage to interior or architectural photography, he has a knack for them all.

Photography being not only his daily bread and butter, but also a way of life, he gets to fiddle with his camera on a daily basis, which makes him familiar with his photo gear stack like no other, and he’ll be more than happy to give you pointers as to what gear and quality to go for and weigh the pros and cons of each photography trip you’ll be taking. So here it goes…

Backpack: F-stop Tilopa with ICU XL

F-stop Tilopa with ICU XL

It all stands or falls on the backpack. Living in the city means I can totally appreciate the ingenious access from its back because it makes me feel much safer about the equipment I carry on me.

And this piece is the answer to the “one bag does it all” for me. The idea of having the internal compartment as a separate unit is great - and the the fact that you can change the ICUs as freely as you want depending on the type of photo gear you need to bring along is a win-win.

Camera body: Nikon D4

Nikon D4 camera body

This piece is one of my kind - an all-rounder. I use it almost on a daily basis for a wide range of jobs - from weddings and reports to interior photography, portrait sessions and trips to the wilderness, too. Currently, the shutter count has stopped on more than 180,000 shots!

Camera body: Nikon D850

Nikon D850 camera body

The D850 was the camera I was kind of anxiously waiting for to be able to cover various photography genres from landscape to portraits and reportage, but with significantly better resolution than Nikon D4 16,6 Mpx. And as for the resolution hitting almost 46 Mpx, you’ll find it amazing for large prints. Without the built-in battery pack it’s also lighter and thus more convenient when you hike to get the best landscape shots.

Wide-angle lens: Nikkor 14-24/2.8 AF-S G ED

Nikkor 14-24/2.8 AF-S G ED wide-angle lens

This is an awesome wide-angle lens and I use it regularly for interior photography. With landscape photography, however, there is a slight disadvantage in the price of the filters. I am used to using at least the polarising filter for most landscape shooting sessions when using another lens - the polarising filter comes to the third of the price of the lens itself. The maximum lens width allows you to capture a significant foreground, but if there’s nothing interesting you are better off avoiding it. I don’t generally use f2.8 much in landscape photography, but find a lot of use for it for reportage, instead.

ISO 200, f11, 1/100s

My good friend and Bohemian Journeys colleague Martin Rak always says when we travel somewhere: "I wish there were some fog..." But sometimes just "fog" is simply not enough. For instance, if there was too much of it in this alley, the photo would come across as flat. And on the contrary - if there wasn’t any, the picture would be boring. But on that particular morning everything went as planned - just a bit of fog and a warm morning light. Neat, huh?

Wide-angle to medium telephoto zoom lens: Nikkor 24-70/2.8 G ED

Nikkor 24-70/2.8 G ED wide-angle to medium telephoto zoom lens

This particular lens I use the most and for many different purposes as it’s very universal. I go for it especially when doing landscape and reportage shots. And since most of my filters are this diameter ready (⌀77mm), I use it for long exposure shooting.

ISO 50, f11, 30.0s

The Lower Manhattan captured from New Jersey looks awesome in the early morning, everybody knows that. And with the time gap of some 5 minutes, we got quite lucky as the clouds didn’t block the sunrise!

Telephoto lens: Nikkor 70-200/4 AF-S ED VR

Nikkor 70-200/4 AF-S ED VR telephoto lens

My choice is f4 (at 850g) because it’s considerably lighter than the f2.8 (1540g). This lens proved perfect for landscape details (for cropped landscapes) and nature details (branch in the forest, for instance), delivering perfectly sharp pictures on f4.

ISO 100, f11, 1/25s

The fields were full of blooming oilseed rape, which I am not a big fan of. But this time it worked well for me. The tree stand looked suddenly like a lighthouse fighting its way against the sea of yellow waves.

Portrait prime lens: Nikkor 105/1.4 AF-S E ED

Nikkor 105/1.4 AF-S E ED portrait prime lens

Nikon was the first one to come out with f1.4 at this focal distance. I bought this lens on my way to the location so I was really excited to give it a try and see what’s what. I use it when I feel like playing with an extreme depth of field, mostly for landscape details or portraits. One thing is for sure - it sports an extremely soft and pleasant bokeh. It’s a relatively big and heavy lens (almost 1kg), but compared to the new Sigma 105/1.4 Art series lens it’s still very reasonable.

ISO 100, f4, 1/160s

F1.4 is wonderful, but you have think twice whether the background is not blurred too much. Sometimes, it’s wiser not to use it at all costs. With f1.4 the vineyard rows wouldn’t create such a nice structure in the background.

Super telephoto lens: Nikkor 200-500/5.6 E ED VR

Nikkor 200-500/5.6 E ED VR super telephoto lens

Planning photoshoots can be difficult, because you’re looking really far and there can be plenty of objects in between you and the subject. And great weather is a must because haze affects the contrast of the whole scene. This particular piece comes in real handy if you’re after extreme landscape details and is a great value for money - giving you tremendous sharpness at around €1,300. All in all, when I put this beast into my bag I have to sacrifice something else, usually the Nikkor 105.

ISO 100, f11, 1/30s

Lighting up the waves and the sunrise in South Moravia was slowly descending on the only blooming bush in the row. What a lucky coincidence?

Flash: Nikon Speedlight SB-900

Nikon Speedlight SB-900 flash

Landscape photographers are typically not used to putting flash on the line. But the thing is that you can get very creative with it. Obviously, a flash of this size can’t be used to light up valleys and such, so you are mostly left with details in the landscape… but still.

ISO 100, f2.8, 1/200s

ISO 100, f8, 1/50s

Common European forests are a bit hard to photograph, because usually there is a lot of mess in the scene: old branches, fallen tree trunks and vegetation undergrowth as well - all of which makes it almost impossible to create a clean photograph.

However, a decent amount of fog can hide a lot of theses disturbing objects. I decided to use the off-camera flash to create mystic fairy-tale-ish atmosphere. This, together with the almost monochrome feeling of the winter forest, makes it a very strong and memorable photograph.

(upper photo taken with the Nikkor 24-70/2.8 and lower taken with Nikkor 14-24/2.8, both pictures with Phottix Odin flash trigger)

Found the read useful? Good. Next time we’ll be letting out some more out of the bag for you, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, feel free to check out our upcoming tours.

May your hunt for the perfect photograph never cease...

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