I typically shoot with a Canon 7D with an 70-200mm f/2.8L series lens. This combination of camera and lens usually lets me do whatever I need with any situation.
Here at OCCC we have just installed Photoshop CS5 on our computers and will be teaching our students this amazing technology in the fall of 2010. I have the OnOne Software Suite 6 as well as NIK Software plug ins of Silver Efex pro 2, Viveza 2, Dfine 2.0, Color Efex Pro 4.0 Complete, and Sharpener Pro 3.0 installed on my computers. These plug ins do, indeed, save a lot of time when processing images, but I teach my students to do the same adjustments without the use of plug ins. I believe that a student should have an excellent base knowledge of Photoshop before using any software plug ins or filters.
Sharing my Photoshop/photography knowledge with students means a lot to me, because I have learned so much myself. People like Scott Kelby and all of his staff at National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) helped me understand the meaning of helping others learn. These individuals teach with humor which, to me, is great since it keeps the student engaged.