A Guide Best Accessories for Landscape Photography

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At the most basic level, all that you need to take landscape photographs is a camera and a location.  One of the reasons that landscape photography is so popular is that it is so accessible, without the necessity for the newest camera bodies or most expensive lenses.  You can pick up any entry-level DSLR and kit lens and be able to make great landscape images.

However, there are a few extra tools that, if included in your camera bag, will help you improve your landscape photography in terms of both your technique and resulting images.  Below is a selection of accessories that serious landscape photographers do not leave home without and the majority are cheaper than a basic kit lens.

Tripod

Tripods come in all sizes, weight and max load capacity: to ensure the best stability for your camera, get a tripod capable to support a max load that is 20-30% in excess with respect to the actual weight of your gear.

Graduated ND Filters

Graduated neutral density (ND) filters are crucial for balancing the exposure between bright sky and dark land, overcoming the limited dynamic range of most DSLR sensors.  Generally, half of the filter is darker to reduce the amount of light allowed though across half of the frame.  Without them, if you expose for the sky the land will be in silhouette or if you expose for the land, the sky will be blown out.  You can use exposure bracketing to overcome this, however that will then require more time spent in front of a computer blending the multiple exposures.  Using graduated ND filters allows you to capture both the sky and land, correctly exposed, in one shot.

Graduated neutral density filters.  A ‘hard’ grad is shown on the left, a ‘soft’ grad is shown on the right.

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