Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Solutions: Lighten Up
Must-have gear for summer on the trail
The key to light hiking as a photographer is paring your gear down to the most essential tools that will help you get a great shot in the most conditions. A 70-200mm ƒ/2.8, which is large and weighs over three pounds, can be a viable piece of gear if you plan on shooting telephoto images at the ƒ/2.8 aperture all day. On the other hand, a 28-200mm ƒ/3.6-5.6 do-it-all zoom is a much better choice if you don't really know what the subject, and therefore the focal length of the day, will be. Set your priorities and be efficient. James Kay recently hiked the John Muir Trail with a point-and-shoot camera instead of his DSLR in an effort to both lighten up and free his creativity. That's pretty extreme, and you may not be up for leaving your favorite DSLR on the bench for your summer outings. Here are some ideas for key equipment to have with you when you're reducing your kit to the essentials.
One of our favorite kits is the Schneider Landscape Filter Kit because it contains a particularly useful collection of filters, and the 4x4 filters can be mounted to any lens by using the appropriate diameter holder. This kit includes Maui Brown to enhance gold and brown, and to add punch to summer foliage, Classic Sunset, which is a gradient filter that enhances the warm tints in a sunrise or sunset sky, and Storm, which adds a slight gray-green tint to boost a stormy effect.
A polarizer is also an absolute necessity. Every filter manufacturer makes several models of polarizer. To save money, consider buying a polarizer that fits your largest-diameter lens and add step rings to use it on other lenses. Warming polarizers, like the Singh-Ray LB Warming polarizers, add even stronger effects.
Headlamp. A headlamp should always be with you in the field. We specify headlamp—not just a flashlight—because in addition to lighting the way on the trail before sunrise or after sunset, photographers have the added challenges of getting the camera set up in those conditions. Keep your hands free to manipulate menus and dials, clean your optics (see above!) and other tasks. The Petzl Tikka Plus2 is comfortable on your head, it has variable brightness settings, and it can help in an emergency with a strobe effect.
Get 11 Issues of Outdoor Photographer for only $14.97!
That's 77% off the cover price!