Landscape photography is no small feat! I’m usually weighed down by an incredible amount of weight as I trudge out into my beloved mountains. You see, I like to be prepared just in case I need this lens or that lens or this filter or that one. Part of my enjoyment when capturing landscapes is when I explore creative techniques, so I like to have some tools to do that too.
If you are interested in landscape photography, I think the equipment you have is enough for you to start learning and immersing yourself in nature. So don’t let gear limit you when you’re first starting. Over the last several years, I have built up some lenses and tools to help me capture landscape images with my vision for a scene. Here are some of what I take with me while I’m out capturing landscape images.
Having a great backpack to hold all my gear is essential when it comes to landscape photography. I wouldn’t get far without this. I must be able to store the necessities, like snacks, water and clothing layers, in addition to first aid items, bear spray and extra camera gear like batteries, memory cards and a headlamp for night shooting. I have two backpacks. I use the F-Stop Guru when I'm packing lighter and cannot carry all my gear due to weight, like on a day hike. This backpack has plenty of space, but it isn’t too big for me. My favourite feature about this backpack is that it holds ICUs (internal camera units). I can store my gear in these units day-to-day and then they are ready when it’s time to head outdoors. These units also fit perfectly into my bike saddlebags when I want to take my gear out on a mountain bike excursion. These units are secure and no fuss. I like that a lot. The backpack is also water-resistant, and a separate waterproof barrier can be purchased. It’s tough too. I’ve hauled it up and down many a mountain through sun, rain, snow and ice.
I also own the Mindshift Backlight 36L. This backpack holds all my gear when I don't want to compromise and leave anything behind. It's a fantastic daypack when I'm not hiking far from my vehicle. One of my favourite features is the ability to access my gear from the back. I can turn the backpack around on my hips and access all my gear without removing my pack. There's adequate room for my daytime necessities, a fantastic tripod carrying system and additional daisy chain loops for added equipment. It's water-resistant and comes with a rain cover. It also holds my laptop and an iPad, which is fantastic when I'm travelling.
My camera body of choice when it comes to capturing landscapes is my Nikon D810however, having two camera bodies is very useful when capturing landscapes. If I’m running a long exposure, I can still shoot with my other body or I can set up and run a time-lapse on my D610 while shooting shorter frames with my D810, or I can shoot wide with one body and telephoto with the other. Two bodies give me options, and I like that.
My 16-35mm is my go-to lens when it comes to landscape photography. I use this lens the majority of the time when I'm capturing landscape images. I like to be able to shoot wide, capturing the entirety of the majestic Canadian Rocky Mountain scenes. I also like to be able to have room to incorporate compositional elements in the foreground, and a wide-angle helps me do just that.
This lens is fantastic for close up captures of landscape details and mountain peaks. The zoom ability is amazing because I can add variety when capturing a single scene.
I adore this filter system. The Lee filter system foundation kit has a base ring that is screwed on and attached directly to my lens of choice. A filter holder is then attached to this ring base. From here, it’s effortless to slide various filters in an out of the holder. I like the ease of this system, especially during sunrise and sunset, when light is changing very quickly. Long exposure photography is a favourite technique of mine when I’m capturing landscape images, so my neutral density filters are a must. I have the Lee foundation kit and the little, big and super stoppers. I also often shoot with soft grad neutral density filters.
I have a love-hate relationship with my polarizer, but it’s incredibly useful in situations where I need to cut through haze or glare off the water. I’m glad I have this filter when I need it.
Owning and using a tripod is a must when it comes to landscape photography. I have two tripods. My go-to tripod is my Manfrotto 055 carbon. It's a nice sturdy tripod, with fantastic height and configures into several different positions. My second tripod, the MeFoto Globetrotter, is the one I take with me when I'm hiking. It’s perfect for longer excursions because it folds up and slides into the side of my backpack. It’s a fantastic all-around tripod that does the job in most circumstances. I often use my second camera body and this tripod for automatic time lapses.
This lens is incredible. It's the sharpest lens I own. I purchased this lens out of my adoration for night photography. I wanted a fast lens and the ability to shoot wide at night to capture the expansive night sky.
So there you have it! My most used landscape photography gear when I’m out capturing this beautiful earth!
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