Intro: This list is in no way in order of importance or least importance. This is a list of items that I would make sure are on or in my camera bag before I left on a landscape shooting trip. I’m sure there are some things you would add or take away from this list. If there are things you think I missed add them in the comments below because I always love knowing what gear people have in their bags just in case I’m missing something.
Tripod: Tripods come in all different sizes and prices making it hard to pick the right one for your set up. If you are just starting out and are on a tight budget try and not cheap out on your tripod because it doesn’t make sense to put the fate of your couple hundred dollar camera on a thirty dollar plastic tripod. Also when your shooting landscapes you want to make sure you have the sturdiest platform you can put your camera on to make sure that the long hike out to that lake or mountain was worth it. The best type of tripod’s out there are the independent leg design that allow you to articulate the legs any way you want allowing you to get a lot of interesting and creative angels without having to take the camera off the tripod.
Pictured below: ProMaster XC528 professional tripod
Filters: Filters are an absolute game changer. You should already have a protective UV filter on your lenses that will help cut down and atmospheric haze and increase your contrast a little bit, but the two types of filters you really want for landscape are circular polarizing (CPL) and neutral density (ND) filters. When shooting landscapes you have a lot of reflective surfaces and highlighted areas in the sky, bodies of water, rocks, and snow covered mountains. CPL’s work a lot like polarized sunglasses where they cut down on that harsh light and increase the saturation and contrast of everything. There is an outer ring on the filter that rotates and allows you to control the polarization of the scene. The benefit of this is that it gives you a great in camera effect that you can see right away and saves you time editing those blown out or low saturated areas once you get home. Another type of filter that is great for handling harsh light situations and can offer an interesting in camera effect are ND filters. ND filters are a tinted glass filter that prevents light from entering the lens. Meaning that some higher density filters will slow down your shutter speed to where it will blur moving water and give you that awesome silk looking appearance while keeping still subjects tack sharp.
Pictured below: ProMaster HGX Prime UV, ProMaster HGX Prime ND 3.0, ProMaster Prime HGX CPL
Wide Angle Lens: Now this is not a must have but definitely something that you should consider investing in if you think landscape photography is something you’re going to do for a while. For a long time I shot with the kit 18-55mm lens that came with the camera and it worked just fine and I got some decent results out of it. However when I finally decided to get a wide angle lens everything quite literally opened up. You will need to retrain your eye a little bit because sometimes you don’t want to get too much in the scene and clutter the image. Although if you look on Instagram or watch YouTube you will notice that another seemingly unusual lens choice for landscape shooters is the 70-200mm. It offers a better compression of your background and allows to isolate scenes a lot better than a wide angles lens will. Even still I feel like keeping a wide angle lens in your bag is a smart idea and I would make sure I had one of those than a standard telephoto in my bag first. A little tip also, if you solely plan to use this lens for landscape shooting go with the f4 variant of whatever lens you plan on buying because they are always cheaper, smaller, and you really are never shooting wide open apertures with landscape anyway.
Pictured below: Sigma 10-20 f/3.5 DC HSM
Trigger: Remote triggers allow you to trip the shutter without having to press the shutter release on the camera. This is so important when doing landscapes because if you are doing a long exposure shot of a waterfall you don’t want to ruin all that time you spent setting up by having a shaky shot from pressing down on the shutter release. It also helps if your using Bulb and want to lock the shutter open instead of holding it down and risking having a blurry shot.
Pictured Below: ProMaster Remote Trigger
Bag: I know I said this is in no order of importance but this having the right bag on your back or shoulder is everything. Before I go any further though there is no such thing as the perfect bag, IT DOES NOT EXIST. There is a bag though that will meet 90% of your needs and that bag will carry everything mentioned above and extra. Even though it is called a camera bag it needs to carry for more than that especially for a long day hiking to location. So don’t buy the bag that fits your camera gear just perfectly and leaves space for a water bottle and a granola bar. Also make sure that you really try the bag on in the store and load it up with all you gear and make sure it will be comfortable on your back for hours at a time. As someone who is a frequent hiker there is nothing worse than an uncomfortable bag on your back that you can’t wait to take off and that is all you can think about and aren’t enjoying all the beauty around you. There are a lot of great companies out there that make bags for hikers, but my personal favorite is MindShift.
Now that you have this list get whatever supplies you still need and hit the trail. Links will be provided down below where you can find all items on the list.
Pictured below: Wandrd PRVKE 31 backpack- blue
Remote Triggers: http://shop.actioncamera.com/products.html?catalog%5Bdecision_model_guids%5D%5B%5D=892e85a4-ad20-4a3a-824c-11f694955335&catalog%5Bsearch%5D%5Bspec_value_ids%5D%5B207419%5D%5B%5D=10011332&catalog%5Bsearch%5D%5Bprice%5D%5Bmin%5D=&catalog%5Bsearch%5D%5Bprice%5D%5Bmax%5D=