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Friday, August 1, 2008

Essential Landscape Accessories


Filters, tripods and other extras will help you find and capture the perfect landscape

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Power
Great outdoor scenery doesn’t usually come with power outlets nearby, so well-charged batteries are a must. Compatible with popular battery models from Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Sony and more, the Ansmann Digicharger Plus universal battery charger quickly charges rechargeable Li-Ion, Li-Polymer and NiMH cells, as well as AA and AAA rechargeable cells. The 3.6- and 7.2-volt charger features microcontroller charging with faulty cell detection and automatically adjusts to the battery’s voltage. Estimated Street Price: $59.

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Gitzo GH2780QR
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THE pod
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SLIK PRO 714 CF-II
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Manfrotto 337
2-Axis Level

Support
Tripods for landscape photography need to be light enough to carry easily, yet strong enough to support cameras solidly. Carbon-fiber tripods like the SLIK PRO 714 CF-II are sturdy enough to support cameras and lenses that weigh nearly three times their own weight. Legs that split into sections with multi-position, twistable locks allow you to set the legs at various angles. Many come with spiked feet for better stability on soft ground and foam grips for a more comfortable hold. Estimated Street Price: $245.

While not as stable as a tripod, a monopod is lighter to carry and faster to set up, plus it doubles as a walking stick. The P-Pod (MM5580) from Giottos has these advantages and offers tripod stabilization with three support legs that store within the monopod’s base. The legs screw into the base or the head, providing support for low-level shooting of flowers or foliage that you may come across. The P-Pod extends to a height of 72.6 inches and supports up to 33 pounds. Estimated Street Price: $99.

THE pod is a light and unobtrusive support that can be placed anywhere. Its flexible beanbag design provides a custom fit on any irregular surface for better maneuverability in places that a tripod can’t fit. The interior is made of plastic pellet stuffing that can be tailored to accommodate the needs of different camera models. THE pod is available in six sizes. List Price: $17 to $49.

Ballheads offer 360-degree rotational freedom for quickly and precisely aligning shots—that’s why landscape photographers love them. For more on ballheads, see Gadget Bag on page 96.

A bubble or spirit level is indispensable for taking the guesswork out of a level horizon. The Manfrotto 337 2-Axis Hot-Shoe Double Bubble level simply slips into the hot-shoe of standard SLRs and adjusts with the camera until the air bubbles inside give a reading that the frame is level. The fluorescent green liquid is easy to read, even in low light. Estimated Street Price: $36.

Special Extras From The Pros
Some of OP’s longtime contributors weigh in on what helps them take great landscape pictures.
  • Jack Dykinga: “A compass to preplan sun and moon positions. Five Tennies (Five Ten) canyoneering boots for wading into water-filled slot canyons.”
  • Jay Goodrich: “My all-wheel-drive SUV—it can get me into backcountry photo locations with ease, provided vehicles are allowed, and allows me to bring along my family and gear.”
  • George Lepp: “A small penlight is critical for early-morning and late-evening shooting. Yes, you can light up the LCD with the push of a button, but can you find the dropped whatever or the right accessory in your bag? You might even need it to find your way back to the car.”
  • William Neill: “Water bottle and Clif Bars or Aussie Bites.”
  • Art Wolfe: “French press and good beans. Lots of extra reading glasses.”

Resources
Ansmann (HP Marketing Corp.)
(800) 735-4373
www.hpmarketingcorp.com
ATP Electronics
(408) 732-5000
www.atpinc.com
B+W (Schneider Optics)
(631) 761-5000
www.schneideroptics.com
Brunton
(800) 443-4871
www.brunton.com
Canon
(800) OK-CANON
www.usa.canon.com
Giottos (HP Marketing Corp.)
(800) 735-4373
www.hpmarketingcorp.com
Gitzo (Bogen Imaging)
(201) 818-9500
www.bogenimaging.us
Kingston Technology
(877) KINGSTON
www.kingston.com
Lexar Media
(800) 789-9418
www.lexar.com
Lowepro
(800) 800-LOWE
www.lowepro.com
Manfrotto (Bogen Imaging)
(201) 818-9500
www.bogenimaging.us
Metz (Bogen Imaging)
(201) 818-9500
www.bogenimaging.us
National Geographic (Bogen Imaging)
(201) 818-9500
www.bogenimaging.us
Nikon
(800) NIKON-US
www.nikonusa.com
PNY Technologies
(973) 515-9700
www.pny.com
SanDisk
(866) SANDISK
www.sandisk.com
Singh-Ray
(800) 486-5501
www.singh-ray.com
Slik (THK Photo Products)
(800) 421-1141
www.thkphoto.com
Sunpak (ToCAD America)
(973) 627-9600
www.tocad.com
Tamrac
(800) 662-0717
www.tamrac.com
THE pod
www.thepod.ca
Western Digital Corp.
(877) 934-6972
www.westerndigital.com


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