I specialize in shooting in unconventional locations, specifically with the use of small flash. My gear list has always been pretty minimal, though I’ve changed lenses and flash systems a few times before arriving at my current setup.
I shoot using Canon cameras, with the 5D Mark III as my main body and a 5D Mark II as my backup. I use the Cactus flash system rather than Canon’s flash system because Cactus allows me to trigger off-camera flashes without the use of additional transceivers, and I can change the output and zoom from my camera, which allows me to have several lighting setups depending on which channels I’m using. It also has high-speed sync and ETTL capabilities—though I prefer to shoot manual. Not to mention, the flash is durable (I’ve dropped them many times) and they run around $200 brand new.
For modifiers, Cactus sells a fantastic, compact 24-inch softbox (I recommend the version that comes with a grid), which is my light-softening modifier of choice. Other modifiers I use are the Rogue flash grid and some DIY barn doors.
I only own three lenses. My workhorse is the Canon 85mm f/1.2L II lens, which is what I use 95 percent of the time. I have the 16-35mm f/2.8 L lens that I use when shooting reportage or architecture (which is rare). I also have a 100mm f/2.8 macro lens that I use for my macro needs, which only happens a couple of times per year.
Because my gear list is so sparse, much of my gear fits into an ONA Prince Street messenger bag. It holds one body, two lenses, two flashes, four sets of AA batteries, a spare battery, barn doors, gels, memory cards and my 13-inch MacBook Pro. Should my checked luggage not arrive (God forbid), my goal is to still have enough gear on my person.
CAMERA: Canon 5D Mark III
LENSES: Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II, Canon 85mm f/1/2L II
LIGHTING: Three Cactus RF60 flashes and a V6 II transceiver, Cactus CB-60 24-inch softbox with grid, LumoPro LP605 compact 7.5-inch light stand, LumoPro LP633 umbrella swivel, Rogue snoot/grid, Neewer round flash diffuser
BAG: ONA Prince Street messenger bag
TRIPOD: Manfrotto 055 aluminum with 322RC2 grip action ball head
ACCESSORIES: Herringbone Heritage grip strap, Hoya 72mm star filter, Roscolux gel swatch book, two extra Canon batteries and charger, Godox Propac 960 battery with Canon cable, Powerex MH-C9000 WizardOne charger/analyzer, Powerex AA batteries, Epson VS240 projector, two 16-inch cold shoe rails, Giottos rocker air blaster, roll of black or white duct tape
Nick Fancher is a portrait and commercial photographer based in Columbus, Ohio. He shot the cover of Rangefinder's March Lighting Issue: