I currently only have a D750 and a whole host of lenses, mainly primes, but I'm fortunate in that Nikon is currently lending me kit for each trip I do, so for my Papua New Guinea trip I'm also taking the D5, the 500mm f/4, the 200-500 f/5.6 zoom and the 105mm f/1.4 portrait lens in addition to my own wide angles and macro lenses.
The D5's frame rate is so addictive for the wildlife photographer, and the ISO capacity is off the charts, which is key in the jungle when you need a fast enough ISO to enable the right shutter speed. I particularly want to photograph birds of paradise, which are quite skittish – so being able to have a fast enough ISO to capture them with a telephoto and not just end up with a fuzzy green ball in the shot is totally liberating.
The 105mm portrait lens is superb, with beautiful soft bokeh, and it will be ideal for the tribes I'll be photographing out there. I initially borrowed it for a trip to Australia, and even though I don't usually use portrait lenses, I'm now a complete convert, not just because the quality is so good, but also because you can get such a low aperture to create a really striking, washed-out background. I wasn't expecting to like it very much and I've been surprised by how much I love it. Humans are animals too, so why can't a wildlife photographer use a portrait lens with animals as well as people?
I'm also taking the 200-500mm telephoto as I have to travel pretty light. I'd prefer to use only longer primes for the unbeatable optical quality, but for adventure travel you can't carry too much, yet you still need to cover the range, so I have one prime and one zoom. Recently I've been moving towards wideangle, too, using the 28mm to get in really close – it's very impactful and it's nice to have that range and breadth to your work.
I don't want to be faffing around changing lenses; it's frustrating. I always impress on my clients that it's better to get the moment with the 'wrong' lens than not have the 'right' lens on, change it and miss the shot. But to cover myself I always two cameras with me, one with a long lens and the other with a wideangle – that way I'm fundamentally covered.
For this trip I'm actually taking three bodies, because I have an underwater housing for my D7000, and with much of the Pacific War being fought in the waters around Papua New Guinea, there are some amazing wrecks to be dived, not just ships but tanks and fighter jets. So add to that a drone, my lenses, and a tight baggage restriction, and I'm probably going to end up with much of my kit around my neck and in my pockets when I fly…