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What’s In My Bag: Two Zooms & A Macro For Nature & Wildlife Photography

We connect with wildlife photographer and outdoor enthusiast Vance Solseth (@vancesolseth) to learn more about the Sony gear you’ll find in his bag.

Photo by Vance Solseth. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G.

Photo by Vance Solseth. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G. 1/4000-sec., f/6.3, ISO 2000

Vance Solseth's kit for nature and wildlife photography

Photo by Vance Solseth. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G.

Photo by Vance Solseth. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G.

Photo by Vance Solseth. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master.

Photo by Vance Solseth. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G. 1/1250-sec., f/6.3, ISO 800

Photo by Vance Solseth. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G.

Photo by Vance Solseth. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master.

Photo by Vance Solseth. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G.

Photo by Vance Solseth. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G.

Photo by Vance Solseth. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G.

Vance Solseth (@vancesolseth) is a wildlife photographer and photography educator who loves spending hours out in the field when documenting wildlife. “One of the best things about nature,” he explains, “is that it always seems to surprise me and puts me in different situations with some incredible photography opportunities. That is why having a camera bag with a diverse set of Sony lenses and photography gear is critical and allows me to be ready for any opportunity that presents itself outdoors.” Below we take a closer look at what’s in Solseth’s bag for wildlife photography.

Vance Solseth's kit for nature and wildlife photography

Wildlife photographer and photography educator Vance Solseth gives us an inside look at the diverse set of three essential lenses you’ll find in his kit to be ready for any opportunity that presents itself outdoors.

Camera

Sony Alpha 7 III: This camera goes everywhere with me. It is versatile and tough, and the image quality is just fantastic. The 24.2 MP sensor produces high quality photos with excellent dynamic range, even at high ISO levels. The ability to turn on the silent electronic shutter is essential for my photography work. The animals I photograph are often skittish and are wary of humans and unnatural noises like a camera shutter sound. Having the silent shutter on has given me some photography opportunities that would never be possible without the Sony Alpha 7 III's silent shutter. It is also a great camera for video work too. Its versatility and quality make it ideal for wildlife photography.

Photo by Vance Solseth. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G.

Photo by Vance Solseth. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G.

Lenses

Sony 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G: My favorite lens and the one that is on my camera the most often is the Sony 200-600mm 5.6-6.3 G OSS. This lens is a must for Sony wildlife photographers. For a super-zoom lens, it is small, light, versatile and sharp. I love the attention to detail that Sony put into the design. For example, the camera lens itself doesn’t extend when zooming in so it maintains balance while on a tripod. The three modes of image stabilization allow me to hand hold the lens at low shutter speeds. I have been able to capture sharp images while hand holding this lens at 1/30-sec. shutter speed. I keep my lens wrapped in camouflage to keep a bit more inconspicuous to my subjects.

Photo by Vance Solseth. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G.

Photo by Vance Solseth. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G.

(Editor’s Note: You can read the story behind another photo of his taken with this lens that was in the top 100 for The 2021 Audubon Photography Awards in his Behind The Shot article.)

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master: This is an excellent lens that is of the utmost quality and is in my bag wherever I go. It is a beautiful lens for landscapes and night photography but using it to make wildlife images gives me truly one-of-a-kind photos that have been some of my favorite shots ever taken. It is sharp through the entire range of focal length and the entire range of aperture f/2.8-f/22. It also has a very short minimum focusing range. This lens is the ultimate tool for artistic expression, and I can’t imagine not having it in my camera bag.

Photo by Vance Solseth. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master.

Photo by Vance Solseth. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 

Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G: The world of macro photography in the outdoors is a world full of incredible detail, color and image opportunities that can only be taken advantage of with a macro lens. Having a sharp lens with fast AF is a must for macro photography where the focus plane is so small. The 90mm works great to get a nice close-up of a creature while still being respectful of the animal’s space. I’m able to find macro subjects to photograph as soon as I step out of my front door, and for that reason this lens is always in my camera bag.

Photo by Vance Solseth. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G.

Photo by Vance Solseth. Sony Alpha 7 III. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G.

Accessories

Mindshift 36L Bag: It's great and comfortable for all day photography sessions and long hikes with lots of gear.

Speed Light With Remote Trigger: A speed light is a must for macro photography if I want nice even lighting for my subjects. I like using one that can be triggered remotely so I have more versatility on how to light my subjects.

LensCoat Rain Cover: If there is one thing I learned in the outdoors, it is that weather can change quickly and unpredictably. I don’t want rain to damage my gear or to stop me from taking pictures, so I always keep this in my bag.

Extra Batteries: Even though the Sony Alpha 7 III has excellent battery life, part of being a wildlife photographer is being out all day and there nothing worse than your camera battery dictating when you must go home. I always keep a few extra Sony batteries with me.

Three-Legged Thing L Bracket: This is nice when I want to quickly attach the camera to a tripod and provides some additional protection.

See more of Vance Solseth’s work on Instagram @vancesolseth.

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