It’s funny how I go through phases. Like the last 8 years I spent on the mats at Gracie Barra learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (still completely obsessed and train every chance I get). Before that it was tournament softball… and before that it was snowboarding… about 50 times a year. Lately, I’ve been into rock climbing and camping and I’m sort of obsessed with the physics of climbing gear. There’s just something about trusting your life to these ropes and devices while dangling off of cliffs that peaks my interest. Since driving to find decent rocks to climb can take 2+ hours from my house…and I want to be outside (not in a rock climbing gym) I’ve resorted to practicing my big wall ascents by using my gear to ascend tall trees. Now when I drive around town..I catch myself eyeballing random trees along the road, looking for that perfect branch to lasso for my next adventure.
I love finding new and exciting hobbies to pair with my photo work. Photography goes hand-in-hand with almost anything. Mixing my hobbies with photography is what keeps me passionate about my craft. Next wedding season, I’ll pursue some adventurous couples getting married in remote places. Perhaps I can find a couple getting married on a portaledge half-way up El Capitan or Half-Dome.
Check out my recent gear bag shoot for Alpha Universe… All my gear spread out for ya! I even hung from a tree to get this shot!
Here’s a fun behind the scenes “making of” video for your entertainment :)
Mike Colón Wedding Gear Descriptions (with Links) – Reads like a book – Starting at top left
0. Manfrotto Stacking 12′ Light Stands (3-pack)
Alu Master Air Cushioned Light Stand Quick Stack 3-Pack (Black, 12′)
1. 64oz Hydro Flask in Matte Black - Hydration is life! Warning: Filling with Red Bull can be dangerous to your health but will help you stay energized for long wedding days. (Link: Hydro Flask Insulated Stainless Steel Wide Mouth Water Bottle and Beer Growler, 64-Ounce, Black)
2. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II Lens - Ok, not the most practical lens… especially when paired with my Sony bodies because I lose AF capability. Still, I just can’t seem to kick my addiction to the image quality this thing puts out!
3. QALO Outdoor Collection Silicone Wedding Bands – Safer for climbing and they look cool too! (Link: Qalo Mens Functional Outdoor Wedding Ring Camo)
4. Assorted Petzl Climbing Devices (Carabiners, Ascender, Belay, Pulley) - Trust these with my life. (I buy at REI or Campsaver.com when the go 20% off)
5. Gitzo G1578L Monopod with Acratech Panoramic Head with Lever Clamp - I mainly use this monopod while shooting bridal runway in New York. It’s extra tall – like over 7’ – for shooting from a riser in the pit. The Acratech head is amazingly smooth keeping it easy to follow the models and tilt down for close up detail shots. It also doubles as a panoramic head for stitching landscapes when I’m outdoors (Links: G-1578L Mountaineer Mk2 Tele Studex Carbon Fiber Monopod – Supports 17.60 lb (7.98 kg), Panoramic Head)
6. Gitzo GT2940LVL Tripod with Acratech GP Ballhead with Lever Clamp - This one is light, fairly compact, yet stable as an ox. The Acratech ballhead is so precise and fun to use! Great for those low-lit reception room shots, night shots of the wedding venue to set the scene, and of course doubles as a great astrophotography tripod when I’m in camping under the stars.(Link: GT2540LLVL Series 2 Carbon Fiber Leveling Tripod, GP-s Ballhead with Lever Clamp)
7. Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody – Packs super small, yet can keep you warm in blizzard! It’s saved me more than a couple times. Get one! (Link: Patagonia Mens Ultralight Down Jacket Black SM)
8. Giottos Rocket Blaster – This is mandatory for mirrorless shooters being that our sensors are exposed. Sony did a great job with the built-in auto cleaning feature in the a7 series of bodies, but even those stubborn dust specks can’t stand up to this blaster. (Link: Rocket Blaster Dust-Removal Tool (Large, Red))
9. Black Diamond Locking Carabiners – Lock it up lock it in… let me begin. Get these at REI or Campsaver.com
10. Sunpak Readylite 20 Super Battery Light Oldie but a goodie… I’ve had this forever and it still holds a charge for months. I bring this along to my weddings for a little kiss of rim lighting on the cake or tabletops shots. Also great for mounting on my camera and running a little B roll video on the dance floor.
11. Sony HVL-LBP LED Battery Video Light - Another oldie… Sony was way ahead of their time with this lightweight LED piece of genius! This is a beautiful soft light that is daylight balanced for soft fill when shooting the bride’s getting ready shots. (Link: LED Battery Video Light)
12. Sterling SuperStatic2 Red Climbing Rope & Edelrid Blue Webbing - This is for my tree adventures and soon to come big wall climbs. I’ve thought about putting on a mini side show during a wedding ceremony and zipping across the skyline between two trees for an aerial shot of the first kiss. It would be quieter (maybe not less distracting) than a drone for sure.
13. Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Distagon T* ZF.2 Lens with Metabones Nikon F to Sony E-Mount Adapter - Probably my most used lens. It gets the job done in almost ever situation. Especially those bride getting ready shots and bridal party portraits. (Link: 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* Lens for Nikon F Mount)
14. Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 Apo Planar T* ZF.2 Lens with Metabones Nikon F to Sony E-Mount Adapter – This is my favorite wedding portrait lens. It’s also pretty much my go to lens for all of my family sessions and engagement sessions. (Link:Otus 85mm f/1.4 Apo Planar T* ZF.2 Lens for Nikon F Mount)
15. Zeiss Otus 28mm f/1.4 ZE Lens with Metabones Canon EF to Sony E-Mount Adapter – I use this for wider shots of the bride putting on her gown. Its handy for landscapes, reception room shots, and any larger group photos. Also a perfect lens for the cake-cutting action photos. (Link:Otus 28mm f/1.4 ZE Lens for Canon EF)
16. Lowel GL-1 Power LED Light – This is what I use during receptions as a kicker light to add that punch to my images. I have my assistant rim light my subjects to help separate them from the background. (Link: GL-1 Power LED)
17. Eno Doublenest Hammock System – Love this hammock.. and bring it everywhere. You may even catch me in my hotel room swinging from this hammock as it’s more comfortable then most beds. (Link: Eagles Nest Outfitters – DoubleNest Hammock)
18. 15” MacBook Pro with Retina - It goes with me everywhere and is my main editing machine. (Link: 15.4″ MacBook Pro Laptop Computer with Retina Display & Force Touch Trackpad (Mid 2015))
19. LaCie 4TB Rugged RAID Thunderbolt/USB 3.0 Drive - Super fast, super reliable, super durable. (Link: 4TB (2 x 2TB) Rugged RAID)
20. Alite Designs Mayfly Chair - Light, packs up small, holds up to 250lbs… perfect for camping, hiking, beach, and those concerts in the park. I never leave home without it. (Link: Alite Designs Mayfly Chair)
21. MPS Sticky Filters - I use these sticky little buggers on my speedlights to gel them to match the incandescent lights in the room. (Link: Sticky Filters for Flash (Large, 2 x 3.25″, Set of 5))
22. Yongnuo YN560-IV Speedlites (x4) – I set up these on all corners of the dance floor at receptions to fire remotely (Link: YN560-IV Speedlite)
23. Yongnuo YN560-TX Manual Flash Controller - This is what I use to fire my YN560-IV Speedlites (Link: YN560-TX Manual Flash Controller for Canon)
24. Yongnuo RF603N II Wireless Flash Trigger (x2) - These are for my assistants… so they can fire the YN560-IV Speedlites too! (Link: RF-603N II Wireless Flash Trigger Kit for Nikon DC2 Connection)
25. Sony HVL-F60M Speedlight - This is what I use on camera when I need TTL. I love the tilting head that keeps my flash above my lens and shadows down below my subject! (Link: HVL-F60M External Flash)
26. Seaport i-Visor Hard Case SEIV1440K3 (converts into a standing desk for tethered laptop) - This is the case that you see holding my YN560-IV Speedlites and Sony Flash. I had a custom foam insert made at MyCaseBuilder.com to keep it all tidy. The rad thing about this case is that it doubles as my tethered laptop stand for studio work… and triples as a laptop editing station when I get tired of my home office and Starbucks and need to be outdoors. (Link: i-Visor Hard Case with Slim Bundle)
27. Goal Zero Lighthouse 250 Lantern & USB Power Hub - Super bright rechargeable lantern that I take with me camping. It will give my iPhone a charge or two also! (Link: Lighthouse 250 LED Lantern / USB Hub)
28. 40oz Hydro Flask in Stainless – Keeps my drinks cold! Awesome for when I leave it in my car in 100 degree weather and still come back to ice cubes in my water. (Link: Hydro Flask Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle, Wide Mouth w/Flex Cap)
29. American Kami ApocalypSpork - Forged out of medical grade titianum sourced from USA made military and aerospace scrap, handcrafted in the good ol’ USA! Berry compliant. Won’t rust or corrode. Non-magnetic. Bottle opener/pot lid lifting hook. Oxygen bottle key/small ‘biner hole. 9.3″ long. Emergency hex driver key. Want flat wear that will last you through the apocalypse? Want something that you can ram through a zombie skull? Here you go, baby. You know you want one! (Link: http://www.americankami.com/swag)
30. CRKT® Eat’n Tool - Not as cool as the ApocalypSpork but they’ll let you take this on the airplane. (Link: Eat’N Tool (Bead Blast))
31. iPhone Sim Card Tool - Can you find it in my photo? It’s so small! I need this for changing out my sim card when traveling abroad.
32. Bose® Quiet Comfort 3 Noice Cancelling Headphones -These cut out ALL airplane background noise! (Link: QuietComfort 35 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones (Black))
33. Business Cards in GoBee Leather Memory Card Wallet Letter-pressed biz cards in a leather case always makes a good impression.
34. Pelican Waterfproof SD/miniSD/microSD Memory Card Case I love this little case. I have a system that I use… where I flip the card over until it’s double backed up. (Link: 0915 Memory Card Case)
35. Lexar 2000x 300MB/S 128GB (x6) & 64GB (x6) SDXC memory cards – I have front and back of my cards labeled with my phone number and “reward if found” along with a sequence number to keep me organized. (Link: 128GB Professional 2000x UHS-II SDXC Memory Card with SD UHS-II Reader (U3, Class 10))
36. Bluewater Ropes Accessory Rope in Orange A rated rope I use for a tether/anchor while climbing (Link: https://www.rei.com/product/883755/bluewater-canyonator-9mm-x-65m-rope)
37. Jetboil Mini Propane Canister Use it for the Jetboil Flash Cooking System listed further down… but don’t try to get it on a plane… TSA will confiscate it.
38. Rayban Original Wayfarer Sunglasses RB2140P These looked better on me when I had hair… looking for a new style that works with bald, any suggestions?
39. Sony a7RII camera body with vertical battery grip – My main camera body for practically everything. Best camera on earth. Period. (Link: Alpha a7R II Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only))
40. Sony a6300 camera body - Compact, light, beast at Autofocus tracking and video work.(Link: Alpha a6300 Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only))
41. Sony a7SII camera body with vertical battery grip – The low-light king! Video in low light is second to none! (Link: Alpha a7S II Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only))
42. Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS Lens – Great for close-up macro shots of jewelry, menus, flowers. Also a beautiful portrait lens! (Link: FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS Lens)
43. Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens - When you need wide… this one gets the job done! (Link: Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens)
44. Sony 135mm f/1.8 Carl Zeiss Planar T* Telephoto Prime Lens - One of my favorite Sony lenses! I just wish they made this in FE mount! (Link: 135mm f/1.8 Carl Zeiss T* Telephoto Prime Lens)
45. Sony A-Mount to E-Mount Lens Adapter with Translucent Mirror Technology - Would love to leave this at home eventually… but I need it for my 135mm A-mount. (Link: A-Mount to E-Mount Lens Adapter with Translucent Mirror Technology (Black))
46. Jetboil Flash Cooking System in Multicam Boils 2 cups of water in just 2 minutes! Awesome for camping and picnics! (Link: Flash Personal Cooking System, Carbon)
47. Nestle Vanilla-Caramel Coffee-Mate Creamer & Instant Coffee - Don’t judge me you coffee snobs! Mix this with Maker’s Mark for some amazing Falcon Coffee! #LTFL
49. Black Diamond Climbing Harness and Gloves in Blue – I heard first hand from a friend that gloves can mean the difference of life or death when rappelling large cliffs or canyons. If your gear fails you can slow yourself down enough to survive just by grabbing the rope. No gloves, your hands burn, you let go, and free fall to the bottom.
50. Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS Lens – My go to ceremony lens. It’s got amazing separation and bokeh for an f4 lens. And it’s so light! I can shoot on this all day without getting tired. (Link: FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS Lens)
51. Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Lens – One of my favorite lenses by far! It’s like the Otus 85… only with AF! Sick bokeh and unbelievable image sharpness and color across all aperture settings! Sharp edge to edge even wide open at f/1.4! (Link: FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Lens)
52. Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens – My main lens for family formals, bridal party, and dance floor shots. (Link: FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens)
53. Assorted Lens Hoods - Did you notice the happy face?
54. Sony Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA lens - Compact, lightweight, awesome street photography lens. Also great all-day carry lens for outings like Disneyland with the family. I carry it as a backup wide lens in my wedding case because it’s so small. (Link: Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens)
55. Banana (brand unknown) Was perfectly ripe. I ate it immediately after this shoot.
56. Goal Zero Light-a-Life 350 LED Light (x2) – These go with my Goal Zero Yeti 400 Solar Battery Pack which I forgot to bring for the shoot. You can daisy change a bunch of these lights to light up your campsite. (Link: Light-A-Life 350-Lumen LED Light)
57. And Last but not least… the backdrop that made this all possible… The Eno Islander LED Sunshine Blanket – The edges light up for a very cool effect at night. We have concerts in the park every Friday in Ladera Ranch. This blanket is easy for our kids to find in the sea of people & blankets. (Link: ENO – Islander LED Light Up Outdoor Beach Camping Blanket – Sunshine)
Good Day Mike
truly appreciate sharing all the gear, thanks. ? for you, ….I have a 30 year background with Nikon , all my equipment is in need of an update, still love my manual 85m F1.4 thou, however it is too slow on the Nikon digital body. In the position to update all gear, I am considering changing , I have been researching Sony, Canon & Nikon. I believe you had Nikon previously. How was the switch? How is it economically compared to Nikon?
I like that Sony is small however I feel that maybe staying with Nikon I will save some $
happy shooting and all the great activities that you do, just on my way to visit my daughter living in Tamarama Beach, Sydney for some surf and Cook Islands with Charolette Piho Workoutonwater retreat, she is competing in Fiji for the World’s SUP on Cloudbreak Wave, Woo Hoo
enjoy your day
Sorry for my slow reply! Yes, I made the switch from Nikon to Sony a couple of years ago. I made it primarily for the mirrorless technology which has been such a positive game changer for me. It took some time getting use to… memorizing the new menu system and such. Sony keeps things very competitively priced but IMO is a much higher value.
Check out my youtube channel for some videos of me talking about Sony gear and mirrorless.
Best of luck!