June 15, 2016

Camera Gear

Education - Photographers

levi-tijerina-gear-shot

I began photographing weddings as a way to experience the world. Five years ago, I was pursuing an international job in higher education, however the standard of a nine to five didn’t fit really fit me. I opted instead for something creative, rather than practical. I think something innate within all of us is the drive to make something meaningful. My pursuit was to accomplish that through art and creativity—something to pass on to the next generation that wasn’t strictly economic in nature.

Weddings have always been a way for me to quench the thirst I have for anthropology and sociology. Having lived in Europe and North America, I’m keenly interested in the dynamics of how we exist. The concept of Marriage— unity among two disparate people—is something I find profound, as well as profoundly humbling. Across every culture and ethnology, a sense of Togetherness.

In terms of photography, I want to create something timeless.

When it comes to gear, for me, too many choices can make me indecisive and make it harder to actually focus on the story as it unfolds. Simplicity is key.

For bodies, I shoot two Canon 5D Mark IIIs. I love the ergonomics and how they function in low-light. Right now, Nikon seems to be outperforming Canon, but hey, I love Canon glass and the reality is that the Canon 5D Mark IV will hopefully be amazing (fingers crossed).

I shoot all prime lenses on Canon: 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm, with preference being given to 24mm and 50mm. I love the depth of the 24mm and how much you can condense into one image. On the 50mm, I love how true-to-life it is and how soft-yet-sharp it can be at the same time.

I’m not a really big fan of flashes, so while I have a few 580 EXIIs, I tend to use them only for dancing, drag-the-shutter shots. Instead, I use a Lowell ID Light as my primary light source for speeches, toast, and evening activities. To me, it’s so much more authentic and natural and it allows the images to still come alive without feeling forced and light they were frozen in space (and not in a good way).

Lastly, about half of the weddings I photograph are destination and travel weddings, so my passport gets pretty good use along the way. I use a Pelican 1510 to carry all my gear, and an insert from TrekPak to keep it all organized. It’s a life-saver and stores easily overhead on a plane.

I occasionally break out the 135mm and 45mm T/S, but I use them so infrequently that it’s truly not worth mentioning.

For personal work, I shoot Kodak film on a Pentax 645 and a Zeiss Ikon. I don’t shoot any film for weddings because it doesn’t fit my style and genre of work, but I really love how film lets you unwind a bit and focus on what’s in front of you vs. focusing on the back of the screen.