Yesterday I asked my followers to tell me was the one piece of outdoor photography gear that they could not live without. Besides the camera, that is. And the lens. Here’s what a few of you said:
Utah photographer Bret Edge, who recently opened up his own gallery in downtown Moab, identified this as his most essential piece of gear. He was quickly seconded by Younes Bounhar, another one of my favorite landscape shooters. Judging by the incredible quality of their stunning imagery, they get a huge return on this inexpensive little device.
New Zealand photographer Jason Blair listed this as his most essential item, saying “without it, I wouldn’t have a camera.” He’s got a point. There is simply no better and more secure way to transport your camera gear than inside a padded hardshell case. Pelican Cases are the industry standard for everything from photo and video gear to guns. They’re watertight, dustproof and feature a neoprene o-ring and pressure release valve.
Pelican cases come in a variety of sizes. The 1200 model is big enough for a compact kit and will fit a DSLR with one or two extra lenses, while the 1500 model will fit a few lenses and/or speedlights along with your camera. I’ve relied on this size for years to safeguard my equipment while traveling. Pelican cases come with their trademark “pick n pluck” foam inserts, while some have adjustable deviders. The advantage of the pick n pluck is that you can customize the case perfectly to fit and protect your equipment.
There are quite a few different HDR software choices out there, but Los Angeles based landscapes and travel photographer Richard Wong listed Photomatix as his favorite. This program streamlines the process of merging multiple images into a single HDR photograph using tone mapping and detail enhancement. It’s a relatively low cost creative tool that lets you explore HDR photography and make your images pop.
Landscape photographers Pete Miller of Colorado and David from Okinawa both answered with their Gitzo Tripods. David recently traded up his Manfrotto tripod for the Gitzo 1541 Carbon Fiber Tripod, while Pete’s choice is the Gitzo 3541LS. If you want a great set of legs, there are not many options out there that rival a Gitzo for stability, weight and compact design.
Quite a few people listed this one as an essential item. The 50mm lens is indeed the classic lens that photographers keep falling in love with over and over again. Everyone should have one; they’re probably the most inexpensive lens that you can buy, but since it’s so useful for a wide variety of shooting applications and subject matter, the 50mm lens is probably the most bang for the buck you can get when it comes to photo equipment. Both Nikon and Canon make 50mm f/1.8 lenses that are light, fast and only cost about a hundred bucks.
Grand Junction, Colorado photographer Randy Langstraat, who can often be found exploring the mesas, slot canyons and rock art of the Colorado Plateau, mentioned his F-Stop Tilopa Camera Pack as his most essential item. It’s what he uses to carry all of his gear into the backcountry.
Me? I’ll go with the Op/Tech Reporter Strap. It’s gone on every single camera that I’ve ever owned. I modify it a little bit to only carry one body that I can buckle for total security around my neck. It will simply not come off if I’m hanging off of rock faces or leaning out of out of airplanes and helicopters. Also, it’s got great elastic cushioning that alleviates pressure around your neck when using heavy DLSR camera bodies and big lenses.
What’s the one piece of photography equipment that YOU can’t live without? List in the comment section. Also, check out the photography gear that I can’t live without.