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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Landscape Essentials In A High-Tech Age

The gear and gadgets that every landscape photographer needs to take better shots

Labels: Gadget BagGear

This Article Features Photo Zoom
Multimedia storage viewers take it a step further by incorporating an LCD screen that lets you play back those stored images. The displays are large and bright enough that you can examine image files with a more critical eye. Standard features include image browsing, rotating, copying, file deletion and built-in slots that are compatible with nearly all memory card types. Some can even record directly from a video source. Storage viewers are also helpful for organizing files or creating slideshows while you’re still out shooting.

PNY 16 GB Optima SDHC Card ; SanDisk 32 GB Ultra SDHC Card
Memory Cards
As digital camera technology continues to evolve, so do memory cards. For landscape photographers, this translates into higher capacities, faster write speeds and more hours (or days) that you get to spend out in the field. The most popular format among DSLR users is CompactFlash, which now has capacities of up to a whopping 128 GB. CF cards also tend to be the largest in terms of physical size. Those with UDMA (Ultra Direct Memory Access) are built for the latest generation of HD video DSLRs and perform with accelerated data transfer rates for recording video or shooting large images at high speed.

Kingston 32 GB Ultimate SDHC Card
Secure Digital cards are smaller physically and come in a couple of different variations that allow them to keep their compact size without sacrificing storage capacity or speed. SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) cards come in sizes of up to 32 GB. SDXC (Secure Digital Extended Capacity) is the latest format to come on the scene, with cards offered in sizes of up to 128 GB. In theory, this format has a maximum capacity of 2 TB. The latest generation of these cards has a UHS speed designation that guarantees a minimum sustained speed when recording video.

Slik Sprint Pro II GM Tripod
There’s no better way to keep that camera steady than by using a tripod. Even with all of the advancements made in image-stabilization technology, tripods remain must-have pieces of gear for producing sharper images. If you do a lot of shooting after sunset, you know that a tripod isn’t optional. Besides holding the camera still to prevent blur, they also help you compose shots with greater care and precision.

Flashpoint F-1328 Tripod
Tripods for landscape photography need to be light enough for easy transport, yet strong enough to support your DSLR. They’re most commonly constructed of wood, aluminum or carbon fiber, the latter of which is probably the most popular right now because they’re lightweight, durable and easy to carry. Carbon-fiber tripods have high strength-to-weight ratios, often capable of supporting cameras and lenses that weigh about three times their own weight, but they also have higher price tags. Aluminum tripods are sturdy and tend to be less expensive. While wood tripods offer excellent vibration dampening for sharper pictures and are comfortable to handle, they’re also heavy. Tripods made of titanium, basalt and other metal alloys are pricier options, but they’re worthy of consideration because of their strength.

Manfrotto 055CX3 Tripod
The design is as important as the materials when choosing a tripod for landscape photography. Legs that split into sections with multi-position, twistable locks allow you to set the legs at different angles. Three-section legs offer the most stability, while four-section legs allow the tripod to collapse to a smaller size when packing it up for transport. A lot of models have legs with spiked feet for a steadier hold on soft or uneven ground and foam grips for a more comfortable hold.

Monopods aren’t as stable as tripods, but they’re lighter to carry and faster to set up. They provide more steadiness than shooting handheld, and if you’re working with cameras or lenses with image stabilization, monopods are a solid alternative.


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