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What’s In My Bag: An Adventurer’s Kit For Dreamy Landscapes, Astroscapes & Timelapses

Creator Jess Santos (@missjessbess) calls herself a wanderer, adventurer and stargazer. The Sony Alpha Ambassador loves to get out and explore, and she has a unique way of capturing the scenes she comes across. Her imagery maximizes foreground elements to give landscapes and astroscapes an almost otherworldly depth. She’s also adopted the art of timelapse photography, and her holy grail and Milky Way timelapses can be summed up in one word: breathtaking. We connected with Santos to learn more about the gear she uses to create her signature landscapes and astroscapes, plus dynamic timelapses. Keep reading as she shares what’s in her bag.

Product Preview – In This Article You’ll Find:
Sony Alpha 7R IV
Sony Alpha 7S III
Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master
Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master II
Sony 14mm f/1.8 G Master
Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master
Sony RMT-P1BT Wireless Remote Commander

Jess Santos' kit for landscapes, astroscapes and timelapses

Cameras

Sony Alpha 7R IV: My go-to camera for all my still images, whether it be night scenes or vibrant sunsets. The dynamic range alone on this camera is one of the many reasons this is still my tried and true, allowing me to rest assured that I can bring back all those details from the shadows and highlights in scenes that have large varying degrees of brightness. This camera packs a big punch at 61 megapixels ensures no loss of quality for large prints as well as making it easy to throw into crop sensor mode if I need that little extra bit of zoom without losing too much resolution. As an added note, not unique to this camera but to most Sony cameras, the bright monitoring feature allows me to quickly compose during night and other low light situations without having to take a million test shots.

Photo by Jess Santos. Sony Alpha 7R IV. Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/6-sec., f/16, ISO 200

Photo by Jess Santos. Sony Alpha 7R IV. Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/6-sec., f/16, ISO 200

Sony Alpha 7S III: I added this to my pack as soon as it hit the market, I use this for all my timelapse endeavors, but also my video projects. Over the past couple of years I have gone from dabbling in video and timelapse to full blown obsessed and this camera is amazing for exactly this. The small file size allows me to capture and easily process long timelapse sequences and the low light capabilities make it so that I can bump up the ISO for night video and Timelapse with less noise. Coupling all this with the built in intervalometer, aperture priority and ISO Auto min. SS allows me to capture holy grail timelapse with no extra equipment needed. Finally the LCD screen articulation allows me to actually see what is in frame when filming myself in the field.

Lenses

Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master: This is and will forever be my go-to lens for landscape and astrophotography. It rarely leaves my camera and never leaves my bag. I can’t say enough good things about this lens. At 12mm I can capture everything I need to capture within a single frame, and using the wide angle to my advantage allows me to stretch and maximize foreground elements to create an image with more dimension and depth. The f/2.8 aperture makes this one of the best lenses around for night photography, especially while shooting blue hour blends.

Photo by Jess Santos. Sony Alpha 7R IV. Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/20-sec., f/16, ISO 1600

Photo by Jess Santos. Sony Alpha 7R IV. Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/20-sec., f/16, ISO 1600

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master II: I traded my 24-70mm GM version 1 for this little baby and it packs all the same things that I loved from version 1 in a more compact form. Having this lens coupled with my Sony 12-24mm GM gives me a combined focal range of 12mm all the way up to 70mm, allowing me to shoot a variety of scenes in two lenses. The maximum aperture of f/2.8 makes this a fun lens to get creative with while photographing the stars in a less common focal length.

Photo by Jess Santos. Sony Alpha 7R IV. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master II. 1/13-sec., f/11, ISO 100

Photo by Jess Santos. Sony Alpha 7R IV. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master II. 1/13-sec., f/11, ISO 100

Sony 14mm f/1.8 G Master: I’ve been including this lens more and more in my kit, most of my stills are shot on the 12-24mm GM, but this little lightweight lens is great to throw on my Alpha 7S III for timelapse captures. At f/1.8 it is the perfect choice for night photography and can be used wide open to photograph or timelapse the Milky Way.

Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master: This lens lives on my Alpha 7S III for video, I love the focal length and f/1.4 for my adventure videos. This is also a great lens for capturing the night sky and night photography panoramas and because it is lightweight it is always in my bag.

Photo by Jess Santos. Sony Alpha 7S III. Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/800-sec., f/2.2, ISO 100

Photo by Jess Santos. Sony Alpha 7S III. Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/800-sec., f/2.2, ISO 100

Accessories

Sony RMT-P1BT Wireless Remote Commander: I’ve tried many remotes throughout the years and this one is the best one for my Sony cameras. So helpful when I am capturing self portraits in the wild as well as using it for focus stacking. It has a great bluetooth range and no wires necessary.

LoveBeams Headlamp: Fellow Sony Alpha Ambassador Michael Hollender recommended this headlamp and I love it. It has a special feature that auto dims the light when your head is raised which means no more blinding your friends with your headlamp when you are talking to them.

Photo by Jess Santos. Sony Alpha 7R IV. Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master. 25-sec., f/9, ISO 100

Photo by Jess Santos. Sony Alpha 7R IV. Sony 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master. 25-sec., f/9, ISO 100

Slik ProCF 734 Legs w/ 200DQ Ballhead: This tripod combo is my absolute favorite, balancing lightweight and sturdy in one setup. The ballhead has one single knob to control the entire head, meaning I don’t have to fuss with three knobs to do one thing while out under the stars.

Small Rig Camera Cage & Handle: I will tell you guys the truth, I originally got this to be able to create video handheld without a gimbal and these work amazing for that, as well as doubling as an L-bracket. But the real savior here is after running over my camera bag with my jeep last summer in Washington (long story) this absolutely saved my Alpha 7R IV from utter destruction, so they triple as camera protection.

Photo by Jess Santos.

Photo by Jess Santos.

Cokin Star Effect Filter (4 & 6 point): These fun little filters create 4 or 6 light rays emanating from point light sources, meaning THE STARS! Such a good way to add a different effect to my night images.

Cokin Nuances Variable Neutral Density filters (and step down rings): These are great filters for keeping the necessary shutter speed while capturing video.

See more of Jess Santos’ work on her Alpha Universe Profile and on Instagram @missjessbess.

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