This award-winning photographer’s camera kit is enormous

bill frakes kentucky derby 2017 kit
Bill Frakes

The work of prolific American photographer Bill Frakes covers a multitude of genres and appears in publications around the world.

Last week the award-winning visual artist posted an image (above) showing the equipment he was planning to take along to Saturday’s Kentucky Derby — a kit so huge that it looks more like the inventory of a camera store than the contents of a kit bag. Or 20 kit bags, more likely.

“I’m pretty sure I have everything I need,” Frakes quipped in a Facebook message posted alongside the image. Take a closer look and we see numerous DSLR bodies as well as a vast range of lenses covering quite possibly every focal length known to man.

The Nikon photographer insisted that he intended to use pretty much the entire kit for his ESPN assignment in Louisville last weekend. No, that doesn’t mean he spent the day staggering around Churchill Downs with nearly 40 DSLR cameras swinging around his neck. Rather, he (and likely a team of assistants) set up 35 of them around the track to fire remotely, keeping the remainder close by in case the camera in his hand failed at any point. With the cameras capturing most of the race from all angles, Frakes was later able to select the best images, and even make a striking time-lapse sequence of the race and its aftermath.

If you’re wondering how on earth he manages to keep track of all the different parts of his ginormous kit, the pro photographer said that his mom once made him lots of bags for all the different bits of gear. “Each piece goes in a bag. If there is an empty bag, I know I have a missing piece of equipment.” Brilliant!

Frakes’ kit must be the biggest we’ve ever seen — it’s certainly far larger than the one used by esteemed sports photographer Peter Read Miller, and clearly dwarfs the one that astronauts use on the International Space Station.

But whether you have one camera or one hundred, the big question is: Are your shots any good? You can see precisely what Bill got from his whopping great kit at Saturday’s Kentucky Derby by checking out his feature piece on ESPN. And yes, all the shots from all the cameras are credited to Bill Frakes.