Holiday season is officially upon us, and now is the time when we start searching the internet for what to buy your loved ones, friends, and family, or even a cheeky treat for yourself. In this article. I choose five items that I think are ideal for landscape photographers old and new.
In landscape photography, there are so many options of lenses to choose from. You do not have to shoot super wide all the time, and you can even shoot with a 70-200mm or 100-400mm lens to pick out those intimate details, rather than a wide field shot.
One lens I really enjoyed shooting with was the Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 for Sony. It is an incredibly versatile lens, which is great for that wide angle look, and it also benefits from being performing well in low-light situations such as astrophotography. Another benefit of this lens is that it is cheaper than the native Sony 16-35mm f/4.0 or G Master f/2.8 lenses.
I own the Tamron trinity of lenses, which are the 17-28mm, 28-75mm G2, and the 70-180mm. They are very lightweight and perform really well in multiple situations such as astro, landscape, portraits, and weddings.
The cost of buying those three lenses wasn't even as much as buying a single G Master lens, so there are good savings to be had if you are looking for a selection of affordable lenses, which are sharp, quick to focus, and perform very well.
I am a big fan of the 3 Legged Thing tripods, as they are sturdy and easy to use and their customer service is fantastic whenever I have had an issue (which is not often). I also just love the aesthetics and color scheme of their tripods.
The Punks range is an affordable range available in both carbon fiber and aluminum, and for this list, I have chosen the 3 Legged Thing Punks Brian 2.0 Carbon Fiber Tripod, which is an updated version of their previous Brian model. The tripod includes their updated Airhead, which is a strong ballhead with easy-to-use features.
The Brian tripod has three removable legs, so you can create a monopod if needed for certain shooting styles. It also has three locking leg positions, so you can get really low to the ground, which is a plus for landscape photography. This tripod is very easy to clean too, which, for landscape photography, is a big plus. Often, I find myself shooting at the beach in sandy conditions and occasionally seawater, which can get in the joints.
Often in landscape photography, you may want to shoot for longer than 30 seconds, which forces you to go into bulb mode. Why most modern cameras still limit us, I am not sure, but I hope all cameras will eventually allow us to set longer times in body.
For now, a shutter release of some sort is still an important accessory to own, so you can set the exposure time for your image. When shooting with neutral density filters, you may find yourself wanting to shoot a 1, 2, 5, or even a 10 minute long exposure and having a good shutter release cable will take out a lot of the hassle for you.
They are very easy to use and, for me, a must buy. For this article, I have chosen the Vello ShutterBoss II Timer Remote Switch.
Neutral Density Filters
Neutral density filters are an excellent means of creating long exposure images, and there are multiple types available for purchase. Whether you simply want to reduce the light by 2 or 3 stops or go as far as 15 stops, the options are limitless.
You can also acquire graduated filters, which darken either the upper or lower section of an image. This is especially useful for bright skies, enabling you to expose for both the sky and the foreground simultaneously.
One advantage of using filters is that you can usually capture all the necessary information in a single image, rather than relying on bracketing. However, I would still recommend learning how to bracket your images and then blending them in post-processing.
Filters come in all shapes and sizes. You can purchase circular neutral density filters and polarizers, or you can purchase the square variety in kits such as this kit: LEE Filters LEE100 Deluxe Kit.
LEE filters is a tried and trusted brand and has been popular amongst many landscape photographers and YouTube photographers around the world. There is plenty of competition out there, however, so be sure to look around for the kit you need. This kit is a good start, as it has everything you may need for a successful landscape shoot.
Being out and about in the elements, you are likely to accumulate some sensor dust or water droplets on the front element of your lens. These are just a natural part of being a landscape photographer, so I highly recommend adding a cleaning kit to your pack for those moments.
While it's very easy to remove sensor spots from an image in post-processing, it's good practice to keep your gear as clean as possible at all times, especially before you head out. Bringing a rocket blower with me is the bare minimum when I'm on location, and I have quite a few because cleaning kits are probably the most common gift I receive in Secret Santas. The second most common gift is the Canon lens mug!
That's my list of at least five items that would make great gifts for yourself or for a photographer you may know. Some of these items are more related to the Sony system, as that's the system I use for my photography. However, you should be able to find the same items or equivalents for other camera systems as well.
Are you a landscape photographer? If so, what other items would you add to the list as great gifts? Please share your suggestions in the comments below.