Kelly Teich (@kelly.teich) is an architect in Santa Barbara, California, who has a passion for photography that came about while capturing his experiences backpacking through the Eastern Sierras. This developed into a focus on wide angle landscape and Milky Way photography. Being a long distance backpacker, his goal is to keep his total pack weight (including camera gear) under 30 lbs, therefore a minimalist approach is taken when choosing camera equipment and accessories. Due to these factors, Kelly is committed to creating his work with a single camera/single lens arrangement. Learn more about what's in his bag below.
Wide-angle landscapes and mesmerizing Milky Way skies. Photographer Kelly Teich shows us the Sony Alpha gear in his bag for capturing landscape and astroscape photography.
Sony Alpha 7 III: With wide angle astrophotography being my main focus, this full-frame, mirrorless camera body is the perfect fit. It has amazing performance in low light conditions, even at low ISO settings. Moreover, this camera also produces remarkably clean images at high ISO settings. I never find myself working too hard in post processing to bring out the details captured by its 24MP sensor. I also appreciate the smaller file size of the 24MP images, which allows me to store more photos and speed up the post processing time over the higher resolution sensors that the other alpha models provide. The dimensions of the camera body are another factor for me. It’s much more compact than a full frame DSLR body, but not so small where it’s uncomfortable to operate.
Mammoth Lakes Hot Creek Milky Way. Composite Photo by Kelly Teich. Sky & Foreground: Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master at 24mm. 120-sec., f/2.8, ISO 800
Montana de Oro State Park, CA. Photo by Kelly Teich. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master at 16mm. 2-secs., f/14, ISO 200.
Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master: This lens is fantastic! Being my only lens for backpacking, the zoom range from ultra-wide to semi-wide is a requirement. Furthermore, the f/2.8 aperture across the entire zoom range gives me the flexibility to shoot the Milky Way at 35mm for more detail in the image. The lens’s performance is ideal for wide angle astrophotography, and is also excellent for landscape and architectural photography. The quality and durability of this lens has held up through sub-freezing temperatures, wind-blown sand, and rain. If you are only going to hike/travel with only one lens, this is the one.
Death Valley Mesquite Dunes Milky Way. Composite Photo by Kelly Teich. Sky: Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master at 16mm. 120-secs., f/2.8, ISO 800. Foreground: Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master at 16mm. 1/6-sec., f/4.5, ISO 200.
Death Valley Mesquite Dunes. Photo by Kelly Teich. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master at 24mm. 1/40-sec., f/16, ISO 200.
Think Tank Digital Holster 20 Camera Case: This camera holster has storage compartments and an expandable bottom extension that fits most of my gear, with the exception of my tripod and star tracker. I usually wear it using the shoulder strap, with my backpacking pack over the shoulder strap, and the backpack hip belt under the holster. Additionally, the case has a built-in rain cover to keep everything dry in the event that I encounter some weather on the trail.
Manfrotto Element Aluminum Tripod: Perfect for backpacking, this tripod is ultra-compact and weighs only 2.5 lbs. It has a max payload of 9 lbs, to hold my complete astro setup (camera/lens/star tracker) of 6.5 lbs, so it works. It’s not the most stable tripod in windy conditions, but it does have the ability to hang some weight from its base to stabilize it.
Pinnacles National Park Bear Gulch Reservoir Milky Way. Composite Photo by Kelly Teich. Sky: Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master at 16mm. 120-sec., f/2.8, ISO 1000. Foreground: Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master at 16mm. 300-sec., f/2.8, ISO 1000
iOptron StarTracker Pro: For astrophotography, a star tracker is a game changer. It allows for long exposures at a lower ISO without star trails. The amount of detail using a star tracker with the Sony α7 III is incredible.
Sunwayfoto L-Bracket: An L-Bracket that attaches to the bottom of the camera body allows easier use of a ball head in portrait orientation. Especially with a star tracker.
Remote & Intervalometer: For long, multiple night shots, the intervalometer lets me set it and forget it.
Thousand Island Lakes, Ansel Adams Wilderness. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master at 35mm. 1/20-secs., f/10, ISO 200.
Breakthrough Photography 10-Stop ND Filter: Excellent filter for long daytime exposures.
Peak Design Camera Strap: This camera strap is easy to remove and reattach so it’s not in the way when using the tripod.
Lumecubes: Occasionally low level lighting is needed to illuminate the foreground, and these bluetooth LED lights allow for perfect control of light output using a phone app.
Death Valley Racetrack Playa Milky Way. Composite Photo by Kelly Teich. Composite Photo. Sky, 6-row ano: Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master at 16mm. 180-secs., f/2.8, ISO 800. Foreground, 6-row pano taken at blue hour: Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master at 16mm. 5-secs., f/4, ISO 200
Extra Sony Camera Battery: Always good to have a backup.
Headlamp: Hard to see at night without one.
Mosquito Head Net: This can be a lifesaver when shooting at blue hour near a creek or lake.