Landscape photography is one of the most popular subjects for professional photographers, and on the face of it you might believe you barely need any special devices beyond a camera and a stout pair of walking boots.
If you look at the kit carried around by landscape experts, you see there might be a bit more to it than that. This guide aims to explain all the package used in landscape photography, what it does, how it works and when you may need it.
This is not a list of whatever you need to purchase before you even get out of the door. More, it’s a list of all the useful products that we and many landscape professional photographers have found helpful, and in some cases essential on outdoor explorations.
Much of this set will be familiar, and you may even have a lot of it already. Landscape photography as a genre brings its own challenges and chances that can affect the gear you select, whether you’re purchasing new equipment or merely picking what to load.
1. The cam
The Sony Alpha A7R V is a terrific landscape camera thanks to its 61MP resolution sensor, but there are lots of great DSLR and mirrorless options. Image credit: Sony/ Albert Dros
Undoubtedly you’ll need a cam. The essential thing here is to have interchangeable lenses, so a DSLR or mirrorless camera is best. DSLRs tend to be a little larger and heavier, but also have a longer battery life, which can be beneficial out in the field. The point is that either is great.
Resolution matters, but it’s not everything. A 20MP cam will catch all the fine information you’re likely to require, even for rather big prints, for publishing in magazines and books and certainly any kind of online display screen.
However other aspects like weatherproofing do become more important for landscape photography. And if you don’t just like carrying or using tripods, in-body stabilization or lenses with IS is absolutely a benefit as the light fades and the wind rises.
An ultra-wide lens is a necessary for many landscape photographers. This is the Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S, but there are cheaper and lighter options, like the Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S.
A standard camera set lens in the variety 24-70mm or its equivalent will be fine for many shots, but an extra-wide-angle lens will assist you capture huge, sweeping vistas and will be best if you attempt your hand at astrophotography or the northern lights.
A telephoto zoom can be remarkably beneficial too. Longer focal lengths don’t just let you select far-off information, they compress viewpoints too, so that massive backgrounds like mountains and forests look much bigger and more imposing.
3. Tripods and other supports
Tripods might appear like an unnecessary concern, but they can get you sharper shots, aid attain long exposure blur impacts and keep your hands complimentary for switching. Credit: Andy Westlake
Should you take a tripod? This is a really personal choice, particularly if you have to trek miles and miles to reach your topic. It’s true that tripods add weight and take some time to set up, but for landscape photography they have some crucial advantages.
They let you use slower shutter speeds, smaller sized lens apertures and lower ISO settings without worrying about electronic camera shake. If you’ve gone to some effort to reach your area, you don’t want to toss everything away with careless method.
Second, they open whole new strategies, notably long exposure blur of skies and water, and dramatic astro images after dark.
Third, they leave your hands free to swap filters, change batteries, choose a different lens or grab a treat or a hot drink. Very often in landscape photography you’re waiting on the light to be perfect, which’s a very long time to be waiting with a video camera in your hands.
In windy conditions outdoors, a heavy strong tripod might be more steady, but for mobility a travel tripod might be a much better compromise. It’ll be lighter to carry and smaller when it’s packed down, and many have a hook at the base of the center column to hang your electronic camera bag for additional stability.
Lee Filters is among the very best known landscape filter makers and is particularly popular for its Big Stopper ND filters. Image: Michael Topham
There are various filter types for landscape photography, notably polarizing filters, graduated filters and neutral density filters, though not all are quite as important today with digital imaging and the best image modifying software application.
The most expendable filter type is the finished filter. These are designed to tone down bright skies for a more balanced direct exposure with the landscape, but as long as you make sure to choose a direct exposure that does not burn out the sky (raw files will offer you more freedom), it’s simpler to do that later on in software application than it is to attempt to juggle handfuls of filters.
Polarizing filters are more useful, however not constantly vital. They are known for making blue skies richer and much deeper, however you require to watch out with wide-angle lenses since the polarizing result will not be even across the sky. This is something else that’s frequently easier in software.
Polarizing filters can likewise cut reflections from plants and water, increasing total saturation and making the bottoms of rivers and lakes, for example, more visible. This is an optical effect you can’t recreate digitally.
ND, or ‘neutral density’ filters are maybe the most helpful. All they do is cut down the light going into the lens so that you can utilize long exposures of lots of seconds, even in bright daylight. You will need a tripod for this. The long direct exposure will blur clouds and water for that ‘silky’ look so popular in landscape photography right now.
A cam knapsack will make it simpler to bring picture gear over longer ranges and use more protection too. Image credit: Andy Westlake
If you’re going to use all this equipment for your landscape photography you’ll need a knapsack to carry it around in. For metropolitan photography or travel, we may also advise a handbag for faster access to your gear, but n landscape photography, where you’re typically strolling some distance to your location, the extra capability, load-bearing ability and convenience makes a knapsack a far better option.
If you’re taking a tripod, select a backpack with external straps or pockets developed to attach it firmly or, if you have an especially compact travel tripod, you might even be able to fit it inside.
Most knapsacks are weatherproof to some degree, but some come with fold-away rain covers for when the weather truly closes in.
6. What about a drone?
A drone can get your aerial landscape shots that would be impossible to achieve from the ground. Drone flying takes some practice, however they are not especially costly compared to video cameras and lenses. This is the DJI Mavic 3 Classic. Credit: DJI.
The very best video camera backpacks do not simply make bring a lot of equipment over cross countries more comfortable, the larger ones have space for drones, controllers and other accessories too.
Drones have become incredibly popular among landscape photographers for overhead views and point of views and shooting positions you can’t reach, and not just for stills photography but video intros too. You will require to ensure that you’re permitted to fly a drone at your picked place, and strong winds might be too much for lighter consumer drones like the Mavic Mini. Drones utilize a lot of power, so ensure you take spare batteries, which we cover in our final area.
Don’t just charge up your batteries prior to you leave, takes some spares. If you take a portable power bank, you can charge your cams, phones and other accessories while you’re out in the field.
For today’s digital photographers, batteries are a consistent pre-occupation, especially with mirrorless models. If you’re having to travel some distance to get to your shooting location, it would be crazy not to take spare batteries.
A portable power bank is another alternative given that the best power banks can include sufficient power to recharge a camera battery several times over. However charging requires time, and some older cams do not support USB charging at all. A portable power bank is a good fallback, but it’s not as fast as just swapping out a battery.
Spare sd card are a great concept too. Maybe you use larger capability memory cards you’re never ever going to fill up? Even here, however, sd card can get corrupted or simply stop working. It’s uncommon, however it’s generally at the worst possible time.
The great outdoors can be unpleasant, muddy and damp, so take a choice of cleaning materials too. A microfiber cloth is handy for cleaning down electronic cameras and lens barrels, however proper lens fabrics or wipes are best for optical surface areas.
Video cameras and lenses can normally shake off a little light rain or spray, however you do not want any on the lens since that will ruin your shots. Our final pointer is to take a lens hood and use it. These are developed to decrease flare from intense light (like the sun) just outside the frame, but they likewise assist protect the front of the lens from rain.
That’s our roundup of whatever you need for landscape photography. No landscape photography exploration is complete without treats.