1. Nikon D800: I have had this camera for nearly 2 years now and I just love it! It is wonderfully sharp and fabulous for landscapes as well as portraits and lifestyle work.
2. Sigma 35 f/1.4: One of my very favorite lenses. It is on my camera most of the time inside because it is sharp and gives me lots of room to capture the environment.
3. Mod Strap: Just a little personality for my camera!
4. Nikon 105mm 2.8: I adore this lens! It is so sharp and the compression is beautiful. I love it for macro work and capturing details of my kids.
5. Nikon 45mm tilt shift: This is my newest lens and we have yet to get acquainted but I am very excited to experiment.
6. Nikon 85mm 1.4: This is my go to lens outside. It is light, sharp, and creates beautiful bokeh.
7. Nikon 70-200mm 2.8: Oh how I love the compression of this lens at 200mm. I use this lens outside and when I want to catch my children from a distance while they are playing or involved with sports.
8. Nikon 24-70mm 2.8: I love this lens when I am out and about with the kiddos or at an event where I want to be able to capture both the larger environment and zoom in a bit more to remove distractions. I also used this lens a LOT when my twins were little and I needed to be close to them for safety reasons.
9. Nikon 16-35mm f/4: This is one of my favorite lenses because it is amazing for capturing landscapes. The wide angle is perfect and the lens is sharp.
10. Lensbaby Composer Pro with Edge 80 attached: I adore my Lensbaby. When I start feeling less than inspired, I can always count on this creative lens to give me artistic push. I love the way it helps me let go of technical perfection and focus on mood, emotion and movement. The Edge 80 has a nice soft slice of focus that I love.
11. Lensbaby Sweet 35: This is my favorite Lensbaby for landscapes with its wider focal length.
12. Lensbaby Macro Converters: These are a wonderful Lensbaby option and add such a beautiful softness to macro work.
13 and 14. Epiphanie bags: I love these bags and they have replaced my purses. I use the black one as my everyday bag. My red one is typically the one I pack for a shoot and the one I take when I travel. It fits my gear, my iPad, and my MacBook Pro!
15. LowePro Slingshot: I just bought this bag and I’m excited to use this out and about, hiking and on my landscape shoots.
16. 15’’ MacBook Pro with Retina Display: I couldn’t live without this baby! I’ve edited my images on my MacBook Pro since I began my photography journey. With my lifestyle of taking care of 4 kids 8 and under, portability and flexibility is essential. It also travels easily with me in my Epiphanie Clover bag.
17. Not pictured is my 27” iMac: This is new to me as of the fall. I love editing and critiquing on the large screen. My iMac was my partner as I put together my portion of The Road Less Traveled breakout this fall.
18. Manfrotto Tripod: My tripod is essential to my work for self portraits, macro, and landscapes.
19. Mefoto Tripod: I just ordered this tripod as a lighter and smaller alternative to my Manfrotto tripod for my landscape photography when traveling.
20. Gorillapod: This little tripod is an ingenious invention. It is a perfect solution when you need a tripod but need something smaller and lighter.
21. Ice Light: I am still playing with this fun addition to my gear, but I have already captured quite a few favorite sleeping images of my kids using this light.
22. SB700 Speedlight: I love natural light but knowing how to use a speedlight gives you so many options to create your own light.
23. Yongnuo Flash Triggers: These triggers are very easy to use when playing with off camera flash.
24. Not pictured: Very simple light stand and umbrella: 50 inch Westcott softbox
25. Fuji XE-2 and 35mm 1.4 lens: This little camera and I are still getting acquainted. I am very excited to have a camera that fits so easily in my purse and the image quality is really fabulous! The 35mm lens is sharp and I love it for everyday captures and portraits.
26. Fuji 14mm lens: As a landscape photographer, I couldn’t resist purchasing a wider lens from the get go!
27. Lacie External Hard drives: I have a handful of these EHDs and I love them for their portability and durability. I also have a 3TB Hard drive that sits at my iMac to back up my portable EHDs.
28. Transcend Card Reader: I love this card reader as it has a slot for CF, SD, and Micro cards.
29. Go Pro: My Go Pro is pretty new to me so I haven’t used it much yet but I can envision using it often to capture our adventures with the kiddos.
30. Filters: When I’m out shooting landscapes, I keep a polarizer and neutral density filter in my bag. I use the polarizer to cut out haze, glare, and increase color saturation and the neutral density filters to decrease the light coming into the lens in either all or a portion of the frame.
32. Remote: I love this wireless remote. It is so easy to use, works from a good distance and allows me to get in the frame as well as remove shutter blur in my landscape work.
33. Maui Jim sunglasses: I love my Maui Jim sunglasses and I need them to cut the glare when I’m driving.
36. Hand lotion: My hands get really dry from washing them all the time with young kids. I always have some hand lotion on hand in my bag.
37. Glasses: My eyesight isn’t terrible, but these help me see things more sharply when needed.
38. Extra CF cards and case: I always have an extra card or two in this little card case.
39. Fingerless gloves in cool weather. My hands get cold easily and quickly, so these are a must for me in any cool weather. In the coldest of weather, I struggle as my fingers will hurt in the first 5 to 10 minutes.
5 things you may not know about Kristen
- I love my coffee. LOVE. I look forward to my giant cup in the morning as I go to sleep at night. And I’m sad when the last sip is gone. And I love mugs. I have my favorites, but I will choose one by my mood. My husband is always saying we need to get rid of some of them. Nope
- I was the 7th in my family to go to Northwestern University. My husband went there too but we didn’t start dating until a year and a half after we graduated.
- I’ve lived the majority of my life in the Chicago area or the NJ suburbs, but part of my heart lies in the Teton Mountains of Jackson Hole Wyoming. I dream of spending my summers out there someday like my grandparents did all of my childhood. The mountains and nature make me feel peaceful and content.
- I’m a total homebody. I need my quiet time alone. And there may be nothing I enjoy more than curling up and snuggling on the couch with my kids and husband.
- I love my sweets, chocolate especially. I wait to eat them until after the kids are in bed so I can sit down quietly and peacefully enjoy every last bite.
Kristen Ryan, Illinois
CMU Instructor | CM Mentor
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With her Nikon D800 and several lenses, Kristen Ryan is a natural light photographer specializing in lifestyle, fine art and landscape images. She resides in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband of 10 years and 4 young kids. Her everyday finds her striving to freeze the moments of her little ones’ childhood in an artistic way. Her love of nature and the outdoors fuel her passion for landscape photography. When not focusing on photography or family, she likes to spend her time with a cup of coffee, reading, running, and cooking. She is also a former professional harpist. Kristen is the workshop instructor for The World Around You a co-author of The Road Less Traveled: Finding Your Unique Path.