Kate and Adam Rice (@KARPhotography) are award-winning wildlife and nature photographers and wildlife photography tour guides in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Originally from Northern Minnesota, a honeymoon trip to Yellowstone led to a permanent move out West. Yearning for even more time in the field, Kate and Adam live in a van full time photographing in the Western United States and Alaska. They each carry photo Sony Alpha photo kits in the field, and we caught up with them to learn more about the cameras and lenses they use and why.
See how wildlife photography duo Kate & Adam Rice use ultra high-res Sony Alpha 7R IV and high-speed Alpha 9 bodies, and long lenses for dynamic nature photos.
Photo Kit #1
Sony α7R IV with Sony Vertical Grip: A great body for high-resolution shots that allow us the flexibility to crop when subjects are far off. Again this is one of our go-to bodies for large and slow moving wildlife as well as landscape work.
Photo by KAR Photography. Sony α7R IV. Sony 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G. 1/2000-sec., f/6.3, ISO 640
Sony α9 with Sony Vertical Grip: This is our workhorse and the reason we switched to mirrorless. The most exceptional camera we’ve ever used, it just does what you need it to capture critical moments. The remarkable autofocus and responsiveness of this camera make it the perfect body for all types of wildlife situations.
Photo by KAR Photography. Sony α9. Sony 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G. 1/5000-sec., f/6.3, ISO 1000
Sony 600mm f/4 G Master: This is our other “go-to” lens and is every bit as incredible as the 400mm f/2.8. Nearly the same weight as the 400mm f/2.8, the 600mm f/4 is incredibly easy to handle and use in the field. We don’t hesitate to hike with it and it is the lens we grab for birds or far off subjects. The autofocus is incredible as is the sharpness. We love this lens by itself or with a 1.4X TC on it for extra reach. The 600mm f/4 and the 400mm f/2.8 pair together to give us the perfect super-telephoto combo for all of the wildlife photography situations we run into.
Photo by KAR Photography. Sony α7R IV. Sony 600mm f/4 G Master. 1/1600-sec., f/4, ISO 1000
Sony 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G: The Sony 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G came out of nowhere and took wildlife photographers by storm. The perfect walk around, do it all lens for wildlife photography, it offers the flexibility for just about any situation. The internal zoom makes this lens more compact than it seems and perfect for photography and video applications. If we are going out for a hike and want a lens with just in case, this is what we grab.
Photo by KAR Photography. Sony α9. Sony 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G. 1/1000-sec., f/6.3, ISO 2500
Sony 24-105mm f/4 G: The Sony 24-105mm f/4 G is the perfect lens for the majority of our landscape and wider wildlife applications. Light and compact we never question bringing it along on hikes or when we travel to hard-to-reach places like the mountains or coastal Alaska.
Sony 1.4X TC: The Sony 1.4X TC pairs perfectly with the Sony 600 F4 GM when extra reach is needed. We use the 1.4X TC on the 600mm f/4 to achieve a focal length of 840mm at f/5.6. This is perfect with small birds or when subjects are far out. The sharpness when paired with the 600mm f/4 is incredible and we don’t hesitate to shoot it wide open at f/5.6.
Mindshift Backlight 32L: The Mindshift Backlight 32L offers all the comfort of the 26L with a larger capacity. Although a large camera bag, the comfortable straps and padding make it perfect for carrying big lenses on long hikes or on an airplane.
Sony NP-FZ100 Batteries (6): We always carry a lot of spare batteries in the field because you can never have too many.
Black Rapid Curve Breathe Classic Strap: This strap is perfect for holding a telephoto zoom and freeing up hands for working a bigger lens.
LensCoat Raincoat Pro: We always carry rain coats for our gear. Although the camera and lens weather sealing is very good we like to do what we can to protect our cameras and lenses from the elements.
Photo by KAR Photography. Sony α7R III. Sony 400mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/1000-sec., f/5, ISO 640
Induro GIM505XL Monopod: A heavier duty and longer monopod that is perfect for bigger lenses and shooting subjects in trees or on steep slopes where longer monopods are needed.
Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles: We really do swear by using trekking poles. On the steep and unstable terrain of the mountains out west they are so helpful to keep good footing and avoid fatigue and injury.
Baofeng Two-Way Radios: We always carry two-way radios while hiking, we frequently split up and this allows us to keep in contact and cover more ground.
Counter Assault Bear Spray: Most of our photography takes place in grizzly country so bear spray is a must.
Vortex Diamondback HD 10x42 Binoculars: We always try to have a good set of binoculars with us. The Vortex Diamondback HD Binoculars offer great optics and warranty at an affordable price.
Photo Kit #2
Sony α7R IV with Sony Vertical Grip: We have been using the Sony α7R IV since it has been released. The 61 MP sensor allows us unparalleled flexibility for composition and cropping far-off wildlife. For large and slow moving subjects as well as landscape shoots it is our “go-to” camera body.
Photo by KAR Photography. Sony α7R IV. Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master. 1/320-sec., f/5.6, ISO 1600
Sony 400mm f/2.8 G Master: The Sony 400mm f/2.8 is the ultimate super telephoto lens for portability and flexibility. Incredibly compact and light for a 400mm f/2.8, this lens paired with the unparalleled Sony teleconverters allows us to shoot focal lengths from 400 up to 800mm, covering most wildlife situations. The 2.8 aperture is perfect in low light situations or when we want to separate the subject from the background. This lens is incredible for fast moving subjects, such as birds in flight, or fishing bears. The GM glass takes full advantage of all of our Sony cameras.
Photo by KAR Photography. Sony α9. Sony 400mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/500-sec., f/4, ISO 800
Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master: The Sony 100-400 GM is a great compact telephoto zoom lens for wildlife. It is perfect when subjects are close or when capturing the whole scene is needed. It’s incredible autofocus and sharpness make it perfect for longer hikes or travel where bringing larger gear is difficult. This is a must have lens for moose and bison, especially in fall when the colorful foliage is just as breathtaking as the animals.
Photo by KAR Photography. Sony α7R III. Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master. 1/400-sec., f/5.6, ISO 800
Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 Zeiss with Sony LA-EA3 Adapter: The Sony 24-70 2.8 A mount lens has been out for quite some time, but is a great addition to any bag. This is the only lens we carried over from our Sony A mount gear. Paired with the LA-EA3 adapter it doesn’t miss a beat. Built like a tank, this lens is still perfect for wider wildlife shots and most landscape situations.
Sony 1.4X Teleconverter: The Sony E Mount 1.4X TC is incredible and a “must have” for either of the super telephoto prime lenses. We pair this converter with the Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM often to achieve 560mm at f/4. There is no noticeable slowdown in AF and no optical degradation. We never hesitate to attach this TC to our 400mm f/2.8 GM.
Sony 2.0X Teleconverter: The Sony E Mount 2.0X TC is easily the sharpest 2.0X TC we have ever used. We use this teleconverter on our 400mm f/2.8 GM to achieve 800mm at f/5.6. This is perfect when the subject is small or way out and extra reach is needed. We find the 2.0X TC incredibly sharp on the 400mm f/2.8 GM and don’t hesitate to use it for extra reach or to use the combination wide open at f/5.6.
Mindshift Backlight 26L: Light and surprisingly roomy the Mindshift Backlight 26L is a perfect combination of photography, hiking, and travel bag. The straps and padding make the bag comfortable for short and long hikes. This bag packs a punch in terms of capacity, which makes it great for traveling.
Induro CLM304L Monopod: Perfect compromise to a tripod for hiking in the backcountry.
Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles: Perfect to aid stability and fight fatigue while packing on the miles in the mountains at high elevation.
UDAP Bear Spray: Most of our photography takes place in grizzly country so bear spray is a must.
Collapsible Water Bottle: We always carry water no matter how short of a hike we go on because you never know when it can turn into a full day out.