PHLEARN MagazineA Look Inside Timelapse Photographer Paul Shirley’s Bag

A Look Inside Timelapse Photographer Paul Shirley’s Bag

Austin-based photographer Paul Shirley specializes in landscape and timelapse. Since shooting timelapse videos requires some different gear, Paul was kind enough to let us have a peek inside his bag. He tells us what he uses on a regular basis and what equipment he used to create his short film, “Kembali.”


Sony Alpha A7R II

5-axis in-body image stabilization optimized for 42.4MP full-frame, 4K movie recording

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Sony A7R II, best hybrid camera for video and stills, can shoot 4k video and a 42 megapixel sensor means 8k timelapses.


Tokina 11-16mm f2.8

Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22, Designed for Cameras with APS-C Sensors, Internal Focusing AF Motor

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Canon EF 16-35mm

Aperture Range: f/4 to f/22, Ring-Type Ultrasonic Motor AF System, Weather-Sealed Construction

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Canon 24mm f1.4

Aperture Range: f/1.4 to f/22, Ring-Type Ultrasonic Motor AF System, Weather-Sealed Construction

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Zeiss 55mm f1.8

Aperture Range: f/1.8 to f/22, Zeiss T* Anti-Reflective Coating

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Zeiss 85mm f1.8

Aperture Range: f/1.8 to f/22, Sonnar Optical Design

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Tamron 70-200mm f2.8

Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22, VC Image Stabilization, Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction

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Tokina 11-16mm f2.8, Canon 16-35mm f4, Canon 24mm f1.4, Zeiss 55mm f1.8, Zeiss 85mm f1.8, Tamron 70-200mm f2.8. Another plus for the A7R II is that I can adapt all these various lenses. I really love the Zeiss 55mm because it’s super sharp.


An homage to an Austin tradition, this video features the Trail of Lights at Zilker Park. Shot over four days in 2015.


Aputure HR672C Light Panels

3200-5500K Variable Color, Full 0-100% Dimming

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Aputure HR672C Light Panels. Small, light-weight, great color rendition, and not too expensive (get the grid and softbox).


Kembali is a film about returning. Once you leave a place, it lives on as memory. Brief flashes of time, scattered. Yet, to return solidifies the connections you’ve previously made, both tangible and not. Shot in Bali, Indonesia in the Fall of 2014, Kembali is also a love letter to my Balinese family and the beautiful island I called home for a couple of years.

Shot on a Canon 5D mark II with Canon 24mm f1.4L and Zeiss 50mm prime lenses. I used a motion control rig, Dynamic Perception Stage 1 slider and Emotimo TB3 Black. A Few Glidecam shots as well.


Tamrac Corona 20 backpack. Cleverly designed backpack/sling, plus the top can hold my misc. video gear and it all fits under the seat on planes!


My bag is always changing depending on the shoot, from adding my Ronin M, Mavic Pro Drone, Timelapse Motion Control Slider, or even a 12ft jib. Whatever it takes to get the shot.

The best advice for a novice is to get a good fluid-head tripod for video (you’ll use this more than anything else), and learn (the best gear never means the best photo). My advice for seasoned photographers (especially landscape), is to get a solid set of ND filters, from 3-10 stop ND filters (I like the LEE Big Stopper), and Graduated NDs with soft and hard grads (Lightroom and Photoshop can only do so much, in camera is overlooked in the digital age).

Paul Shirley

Paul Shirley is a freelance videographer and documentary filmmaker in Austin, TX specializing in timelapse photography.


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