Inside My Camera Bag | Susan Reyman

My name is Sue Reyman.
Chicago is my home base from which I have been on an incredible photographic adventure that has taken me across the globe and back home again.
They say retirement isn’t about what you’re leaving but where you’re going, and, for me, capturing the pivotal moment is the most exciting part of the journey.
I’ve always loved photography, but the quest became my passion on a truly life-changing trip to India about thirteen years ago.
I’ve always been intrigued by worlds different from my own and the people who survive some of the most challenging circumstances to preserve their cultural traditions.
In India, I found my calling as a portrait photographer, focusing on the time-worn faces and haunting eyes that can only hint at their life’s journey and the depth of their souls.
I love photographs that tell a human story that we can grasp on at least some levels as a counterpart of our own. While portraits provide one perspective on that story, I’ve found an energetic and exciting arena of human expression in dance.
Dance is about movement, of course, but the captured moment can present us with the striving, intensity, and joy dancers bring to their craft.
In a way, my portraits represent the life story of the person in the frame, while dance offers a window into the present and future that those artists create.
My passion for photography has taken me to new venues that I couldn’t explore when I was running my executive recruiting company.
Beyond portraits and dance, I’ve been experimenting with still life and macro imagery, earning opportunities to present at exhibitions and give back the proceeds of my works to three non-profit organizations—Smile Train, St. Jude’s Research Children’s Hospital, and Opportunity International—whose missions resonate deeply with me.
Just as my inspirations have evolved along this journey, my gear bag has become increasingly complex and specialized.
I started with the Nikon D60, which I upgraded to the Nikon 7200, and then I graduated to full-frame mirrorless with, first, the Sony A7R III and now the Sony A7R IV.
I love the Sony A7R IV for many reasons, from how it fits my hand to the impossible level of detail that 61 megapixels provide. It’s the perfect body for portraits and dance, with exceptional focus tracking and facial recognition features.
My go-to lenses are chosen to fit my genre of the day, whether it’s portraits or dance, street or macro.
Three Sony lenses and one Tamron cover ninety-nine percent of my needs.
Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 – for street photography and portraits.
Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 – this is the nearly perfect range for getting close when I need to and wider when the scenery demands a shift. With a maximum 2.8 aperture, lighting is seldom an issue.
Sony FE 90mm Macro f/2.8 – my go-to for macro photography, this Sony lens delivers the magnification and detail I need while collecting all the light I need for the right exposure. I’ll use this lens for some portraits, as well.
Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 – I love this lens for its range and versatility.  It’s my all-purpose lens when I’m traveling; I just can’t carry two cameras with two different lenses.
Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 DI III VXD – dance photos need the widest aperture because the performances are often in very low light, which makes the Tamron a godsend for performance photography.
Going from 70-180 allows me to focus on one, two, or multiple dancers at one time, and the autofocus is excellent in low light. Even more, it’s roughly half the price of its closest competitors.
Lowepro Backpack – this bag holds everything I need when traveling and is such great value!
Peak Design Slide Lite Strap – very comfortable and ergonomic to use.
I use a Peak Design Travel Tripod, which packs down to the diameter of a water bottle—without compromising height, stability, or features.
OWC Mercury Quad Pro RAID – my preferred storage solution.
Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop are my software choices that serve almost every need when I am post-processing my photos on my Apple MacBook Pro.
I use Topaz Labs primarily for their Sharpen and DeNoise plugins, Nik Software for Silver Effects, and a little Luminar AI.
Some of the extra gear that always comes with me is Sandisk SD Cards, a large supply of Sony batteries, a hat to shade me, sunscreen, and hiking shoes.
I’ve discovered a world of beauty, humanity, and purpose through photography. It’s a path that has not only enriched my own life but also allowed me to touch the lives of others.
At my age, I worry that I won’t be able to photograph all the countries that are still on my list.
However, I cannot encourage others enough never to feel they are too old to learn and create a second chapter in their life; the satisfaction and fulfillment have been amazing.

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