Atmosphere Aerosol is an awesome product! It’s a can of smoke that you can spray to add fog into your landscapes. It’s not enough smoke to fill an entire landscape, but if you shoot smaller intimate landscapes, you could easily go spray the fog in the area and then go shoot the awesome fog and light streaks going through it. I bought 3 cans the instant I saw this product. Get it here.
It was Nick, in the parlour, with the rope.
Nick likes to carry a length of rope with him when out shooting landscapes. He often wants to get down steep hills to shoot in interesting places, and if he has some rope, he’s much more sure of himself.
I held off on buying a card wallet for a long time, until I realized that I’d lost a memory card ($50) because I didn’t want to buy a $20 card wallet. Jim likes this card wallet from Pelican. You can also get a cheap one on Amazon too. Just something to hold your cards.
Storm App (iOS) or MyRadar (Android)
When shooting landscapes, just googling the weather and seeing “partly cloudy” isn’t good enough. Seeing a live feed of the radar scanning the skies to determine what type of clouds you have and when they’ll be coming is really helpful for a landscape photographer. This helps you to be able to track the clouds to know if you’ll be getting a good sunset, and which direction the best clouds will be coming from.
Rothco Army Hiking Stool
If I know that I’ll be waiting a long time at a location for a shoot, such as when I’m shooting a timelapse or if I’m shooting night photography with extremely long exposures, then I like to bring a tiny little hiking camp stool. It folds up TINY (about the size of a yellow legal pad of paper) and doesn’t weigh much. Buy it on Amazon.
Cliff Bars are an excellent source of energy when you’re out on the trail shooting. Not only is it a safety thing if you’ll be shooting out away from civilization, but also it makes you more comfortable and happy while shooting so you don’t mind waiting patiently for the good light. Buy a box of Cliff Bars on Amazon.
Thinguma Tripod Wrench
Nothing is more frustrating than getting to a landscape photography location and noticing your L plate or quick release plate is too loose. Sometimes a coin works, and sometimes you need an Allen wrench that is easy to lose. The Thinguma Tripod Wrench works on just about any quick release plate and can be put on your keyring. Handy! Get the Thinguma wrench here.
Vello Wireless Shutter Release
A shutter release is an important tool for a landscape photographer to be able to trip the shutter for exposures over 30 seconds, and in some select instances, you can increase your sharpness by using a shutter release rather than jostling the camera as you press the shutter button. In my testing, however, I find that this really only makes a difference around 1/10 shutter speed. At other shutter speeds you really don’t notice any difference, provided you use a solid tripod and press the button lightly.
But a shutter release is the only way to go over a 30 second exposure, so it’s necessary for night photography.
We talked about filters in our last episode of Tripod. But to boil it down, you really only NEED 3 filters for landscape photography, and these are the ones that Nick and I use the most often: This polarizer, this 3 stop neutral density filter, and for some special effects, this 10 stop neutral density filter. That’s all you really need to get professional results with filters.
Vallerret Photography Gloves
Really any glove will do, but Vallerret sent us some of their gloves designed specifically for photography, and they’re awesome! Watch our full review of the Vallerret Photography Gloves in the video. Get them on PhotographyGloves.com.
Inexpensive Coat/Jfacket System for Shooting in Any Weather
A few years ago I bought an inexpensive coat from Amazon that someone recommended to me (can’t remember who), but it’s awesome! It’s incredibly thin and lightweight, so it’s perfect for travel or stuffing in a pocket. In fact, the whole coat folds up into its own pocket. But somehow, it really keeps you warm. I’ve warn this same coat in Yellowstone in the middle of the winter and stayed warm. The coat is made by Hawke and Co and you can buy it on Amazon at a really good price.
The nice thing about this coat is that it’s very breathable so you don’t get burning hot on a day that’s only slightly chilly. But a breathable coat also means a coat that won’t keep the cold wind out on a cold day. So, you pair this very thin layer with a rain coat with taped seams. That way the whole system is perfectly waterproof, and also extremely warm when you need it. You can really use any rain jacket you like as long as it has taped seams and a hood, but I like this one.
It’s the perfect system for landscape photographers. Warm, dry, inexpensive, and works in almost any conditions you can imagine. Wherever I travel around the world, this is the system that goes with me–even in the warmer months so I have the waterproof jacket for rain and the coat for a cold airplane ride (also doubles as a nice pilllow).
Pec Pads are some of the most useful things we’ve ever found for photography. When you use a “lint free” microfiber cloth on a dusty lens, the dust gets on the cloth. The cloth itself may not produce lint, but that doesn’t mean lint from your lens can’t stick to it, and it does. So why would you use a linted cloth to clean your lens?
The answer is the Pec Pad. They cost only $10 for a pack of 100. They are lint-free cloths that are disposable. So you take a lint-free cloth out, wipe it on your lens OR you can even use them to clean your sensor. When you’re done? Toss it! You get a fresh one every time. Get Pec Pads here.
Zeiss Lens Wipes
Nick likes using Zeiss pre-moistened wipes to clean his lens when he’s out shooting. Get them on Amazon.
Awesome (and cheap!) Jacket System
When you’re out doing landscape photography, it can be easy to lose a piece of gear on-location. Also, when you’re on a workshop, it’s common for people to share lenses and other gear to try out new things. If you have all of your gear labeled, it’s a lot easier to prevent losing gear. Get a cheap labeler and put your name and phone number or email on every piece of gear you own. This is the labeler I own and it’s been really good.
An L Plate is almost necessary for landscape photographers. It’s basically just a quick release plate that goes on the bottom of your camera and also bends across the side of the camera so you can quickly and easily go from landscape orientation to portrait orientation on your composition. Most photographers put off purchasing an L plate for a long time, but you can get them inexpensively on Amazon for your camera, and they make framing your subject much easier and faster when you’re on a tripod. Get an L Plate for your camera on Amazon.
Waterproof hiking boots are a very important piece of gear for landscape photography. Waterproof boots are generally warmer than traditional boots because they don’t breathe as much, but they also allow you to walk through mud, in a small amount of water, or even through vegetation with lots of dew in the morning–all without getting wet.
NRS Boundary Neoprene Socks
Sometimes you have to get deeper in the water than what you can do with waterproof boots. When shooting on a beach and waves are splashing up on the shore as you shoot, you can stay warm and dry. When you want to get a little into a creek when shooting waterfalls, you can stay warm and dry.
The beauty of the NRS Boundary Neoprene Sock is that it’s tiny and lightweight–much more portable than carrying waders. Get these water socks on Amazon.
A headlamp (Do you Brits call this a head torch? That sounds like a super power because “torch” to me means a fire on a stick like Indiana Jones used. Anyway….) is important for staying safe when out shooting late in the evening.
Paint Pole and Adapter
Lately I’ve been using a long painter’s pole with a little thread adapter on the end as a gigantic monopod for my camera. I use it to get an extremely high angle for shooting real estate, but I’ve also been toying with some ideas of using it to get high compositions for landscape photography. I’m interested to try it out. I wrote a full post on how to set up a painter’s pole for photography with all the links you’ll need.
Convenient for cutting off your arm if trapped between boulders, and many other things when out in the woods, a multitool is handy to have.
By the way, what do the Swiss call a Swiss Army Knife?
The Photographers’ Ephemeris
This is an awesome app for photographers to plan the lighting for their landscape photography shoots. It’s kind of complicated to learn to use, but it’s awesome!
More Photography Doodads
If you’re looking for more cool photography gadgets, each week in the Improve Photography Podcast, we recommend a few cool gadgets that we like. Subscribe to the free podcast on your iPhone with this link, and then check out all the hundreds of gadgets we’ve recommended all on one page here. Subscribing to the podcast is really helpful because you can listen to audio photography tips while you’re commuting, working out, shopping, or doing anything else that’s mindless. The 40 minute audio show will automatically download to your phone each week, and it’s 100% free. Get the podcast on iTunes.