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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

It’s More Than The Camera

See what enables and inspires the best landscape photographers to stay out shooting and create their powerful photos

Labels: Gear
This Article Features Photo Zoom
Critical Apps: There are many apps for the iPhone that I use to help plan my photographs. Here are some that I find particularly helpful. The Photographer's Ephemeris and PhotoPills are both designed to help you plan where to be and when for the perfect conditions. They give real-time information on sun and moon location, twilight and rise and set times, and other useful information for any location on the planet, and at anytime, present or future. PhotoPills also has augmented reality sun- and star-tracking features, as well as calculators for hyperfocal distance, star-trail exposure times and time-lapse shooting. When I just need a simple augmented reality sun-tracking app, I use Sun Scout. Star Walk is an excellent resource for night sky photography.

GARY HART (www.EloquentImages.com)
L-plate: Adding an L-plate to my DSLR bodies was a game-changer—not only does it make vertical compositions more stable, they're closer to eye level and just plain easier. In my workshops, I often observe photographers without an L-plate resist vertically oriented shots, either consciously or unconsciously, simply because it's a hassle to crank their ballhead sideways, and when they do, they need to stoop more. And some heads aren't strong enough to hold a heavy, vertically oriented camera-lens combo. But since switching to the L-plate, my decision between a horizontal or vertical composition is based entirely on the composition that works best.

GPS: My Garmin dash-top GPS is an essential travel mate. I visit many photo locations, far from home, that I'm not able to return to for a year or longer. So on each trip I save every potential photo spot in my dash-top GPS. For example, I get to Hawaii just once each year. Over the years, I've found so many spots to photograph—not only would it be easy to forget some, on each visit I would waste valuable time reacquainting myself. But with a GPS that travels with me, I don't have to refamiliarize myself with anything—I just pop it on my dash before driving away from the airport and instantly navigate to my locations like a native.

JAMES KAY (www.jameskay.com)
24-105mm Lens: When I'm out in the field, I always travel fast and light. Whenever I need to pare down my gear to the basic essentials in order to save weight or bulk, this is the one lens I take with me; in fact, my Canon EF 24-105mm ƒ/4L USM was the only lens I brought with me on a recent six-week trip to New Zealand. This focal range covers 90% of what I usually use in the field.

All-Wheel-Drive Vehicle: My Nissan Xterra, with its short wheel base and high clearance, allows me to get to locations that might otherwise be inaccessible without a long, long walk. With the seats folded down, it makes for a great car-camp and base of operations.

JON CORNFORTH (www.cornforthimages.com)
Filters: I use Singh-Ray filters, and I always have them with me. From my beloved LB Warming Polarizer to my arsenal of graduated neutral-density filters in various strengths, I'm never caught without my filters when I'm shooting landscape images. Sure, there are lots of techniques to make an image these days, but nothing beats the satisfaction of getting it right in the camera.

Durable Ballheads: My Acratech Ultimate GP ballheads are the lightest that I've ever owned, while also being the sturdiest. I own several versions that I use on various tripods, but the oldest one I have is an original from over 10 years ago. I once knocked my tripod off of a high cliff in Utah. My tripod was pretty beat up, but not my ballhead, which just had a few dents and scratches. Good thing my camera wasn't attached.


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