Saturday, January 22, 2011

Landscape Photography - Equipment Checklist

Landscape photography is catching the interest of people daily. People see a photo they like and say, hey I want to be able to shoot that! That's how most people get into photography. Landscapes can be anything from mountains to waterfalls to lakes, streams, oceans, rocks, hills, towns, etc... you name it!

The greatest thing is it doesn't cost too must money either to get started into landscape photography. You don't even need a Dslr professional camera to get going! You can even use a point and shoot camera!

Equipment mentioned in this article:

Nikon D300s 12MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)Canon EOS 50D 15.1MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)Tiffen 77mm Circular PolarizerTiffen 77mm Neutral Density 0.9 Filter
Manfrotto 190XPROB 3 Section Aluminum Pro TripodNikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cord for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

Canon PowerShot SD780IS 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 3x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.5-inch LCD (Black)
This is the camera that I use when I'm out traveling with friends or going to the beach for a good time. I don't always feel like taking my cameras and lenses everywhere I go, and this will suffice just great! Especially since I got it off of for $130. Most people think they need a Dslr to take a magnificent picture because it's a professional camera, in reality all you need to do is be at the right place and the right time with the correct composition. Just because you have a professional camera doesn't automatically make you a professional overnight. Shooting takes practice. I'm not saying that this Canon Powershot has all the capabilities as a Canon 40D, but it can take a good picture or two.

I took this picture with a Canon Powershot. I know it's not much, but it's sharp, great contrast, strong colors, and an overall even exposure.

But I want a professional Dslr!
Ok ok.. I understand.. I remember when I got my first Dslr, I was SOOO happy! And even still when I get a new camera I'm like a little kid at Christmas. And from the day I got a Dslr camera I learned something new everyday by experimenting and trying new things. I learned about filters, lenses, tripods, and what it takes to make a great photo. Here I'm going to show you what materials you should have in your bag.


Nikon D300s 12MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)
Canon EOS 50D 15.1MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)

Above are 2 cameras that I enjoy shooting with. They are not full frame cameras, meaning they don't have the same size sensor as a film camera. They do have/make Dslr cameras that are Full Frame. Full frame Dslr's are very expensive and are for more advanced users. These 2 cameras, the Nikon D300 and Canon 50D both have an Auto-Focus motor built inside so any lens for that brand will Auto-Focus whether the lens has an Auto-Focus motor built in it or not. *correction, some very old film lenses are not capable of auto-focusing*

These 2 cameras are superb. They offer fast Auto-Focusing, spot on focusing, high megapixels, and fast frames per second.

I shoot with the Nikon D300 and have had no problems with it at all. I have owned it for the past 3 years and it has been nothing but great to me. The LCD screen is nice and large, the camera has 51 auto-focus points, shoots 7 frames per second, it has durability, all weather protection against moisture, heat, and sand, it offers high ISO that is excellent!

If there were 3 filters that I use the most, they are my Hoya CPL (Circular Polarizer), Tiffen ND filter, and my Graduated ND filter.

Having a CPL will give you strong contrast allowing for your pictures to really pop with color! A CPL will deepen the blues in your sky while acting as a ND filter by allowing less light to come in. The CPL will cut reflections in windows and water.
Tiffen 77mm Circular Polarizer

Neutral Density
A Neutral Density filter is great if you want to do a long exposure or if there is too much light getting to your lens. A ND filter will give you more contrast and cut as many stop as you please. There are ND filters that can cut up to 10 stops allowing you to take several minute exposure pictures during the day! A ND filter will allow to you take those pictures of waterfalls that make them look like mist.
B+W 65-073102 77mm Neutral Density 0.9-8x Filter #103

ND Grad
Cokin P-Series Neutral Grey ND2 (0.3) Filter
Cokin Series P Neutral Density Filter (ND8X) (0.9)
Tiffen 77mm Color Graduated Neutral Density 0.6 Filter
Tiffen 77mm Digital Pro SLR Filter Kit, With Digital Ultra Clear, Color Grad ND.6, Pro-Mist 2 Filters, Micro Fiber Cleaning Cloth & Filter Case
Lee RF75 Neutral Density Hard Graduated Filter Set with 3 Filters

As you can see the ND Grad acts as a partial ND filter, going from dark to light allowing for you to block out a higher exposure on part of your photo. This filter is perfect for sunsets when you want to have the sky and foreground balanced to the same exposure.

There are number of lenses that can be used for landscape photography. When you have a Dslr that isn't a full frame camera, you have quite a bit more variety. Depending on your brand of preference you can buy same brand wide angle lenses which can be costly. There are also Third Party lenses that are very respectful and used by many professional photographers. Some of these lenses are the Tamron 11-18 and the Sigma 10-20. These two lenses are very popular for landscape photography. They allow wideness and detail at the same time.
Tamron 11-18

Sigma 10-20
When shooting landscapes a tripod can be almost as important as your camera. Having a tripod ensures sharp photos instead of blurry ones from hand-shake. A tripod will allow you to get everything lined up correctly and straight. I recommend buying a durable tripod instead of a cheap one. I have bought cheap tripod after cheap tripod after cheap tripod until I kept running out of money because of it. So I decided to buy a durable one that I can take apart and clean for those wet days in the ocean. Suggested brands are: Manfrotto and Giottos.

Lastly, a remote can be very beneficial under any circumstances. During night photography, sunsets, and even during the day a remote is highly advised. Why? Because whenever you press down on your camera button there is shake, even if it's a small one. And when you go to have your pictures blown up nicely and notice that not many things are as sharp as you thought they were, it's most likely from camera shake. So avoid that small camera shake and get a remote. 
This Nikon wireless remote can be purchased for under $25!

Then there are remotes like these that plug into your camera. They offer many functions to allow you to program your camera to take a certain a number of pictures at certain times, for certain times, a frequent amount of times, and for however long you want. This remote may not seem like much, but I don't shoot without it anymore!


Happy Shooting!


  1. This is the camera that I use when I'm out traveling with friends or going to the beach for a good time. I don't always feel like taking my cameras and lenses everywhere I go, and this will suffice just great! Especially since I got it off of for $130.

    Is that where go got it OF OFF , I will see if I can get one OFF OF there also. Or maybe I will just see if I can get one OFF there.

    LOL I am OFF OFF OF now bye

  2. What is the name of the filter in your hand, the one you are holding in your fingers? I was wondering where I can buy one just like it?