Top 5 – Equipment for Landscape Photography


It’s very easy these days to pack your camera bag full of accessories and the latest gadgets that you might only use every now and then.  Here’s a quick list of 5 things (in no particular order) every landscape photographer should have (and should use) all the time.

1. Tripod and ballhead

I cannot stress this one enough.  If you don’t have a tripod, there is very little chance of success.  I have already written an article on this: see here.

2. Graduated Neutral Density Filters

It’s not the end of the world if you don’t own a set, but it certainly helps to control exposures in-camera.  This can cut down a lot on your post-processing time.  There is also something very satisfying in making a single exposure for the scene and not having to bracket your shots.  That’s not to say that you won’t ever need to take more than one photo ever again – sometimes the dynamic range is just too expansive for the sensor.

3. Cable/Shutter Release

A must for long exposures, unless you stop taking photographs once the exposure required is more than 30 seconds.  Some of the best images come when the sun has long set, but there are still vestiges of colour left in the sky.  At these times, exposures can last for minutes.

4. Polarising filter

No software can duplicate the effects of a Polarising filter; when we get a new lens there are two filters we always buy – a UV filter, and a circular-polarising filter (CPL).  A CPL increases contrast in a scene, can help with haze, and is invaluable in controlling reflections.

5. Spare batteries

This is a given.  You should always have a spare battery, landscape photographer or not.  But what you might not realise is that TWO spare batteries might sometimes come in handy – like on those cold, cold mornings.  When we shot Mount Meili, my fully-charged battery lasted 10 minutes in the sub-zero dawn.  The second one didn’t last much longer than that.  While your third battery is dying in your camera, you can retrieve your first battery from the home-sewn armpit pocket in your jacket and it should be ready for use again.

Other handy items

  • A cloth or tissues to wipe away precipitation or splashes from waves
  • A hip-pouch for easy access to small items like filters, cable releases etc, so that you can leave your 10kg camera bag somewhere safe whilst you perch precariously on rocks surrounded by the ocean
  • Rain-cover for your camera so you can continue snapping when the heavens open up on you
  • Waterproof/windproof outer gear so you remain warm and dry
  • A torch for creative photography and for lighting the way in the dark

So now you know what you need, pack it up and get out to do some shooting!

-M

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Posted on May 6, 2010, in How we.... Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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