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With photography being more popular than ever been before, it’s no surprise that there are also a whole bunch of accessories available on the market. Many of these are completely unnecessary items that you’ll most likely never need. In this article, I’ll introduce you to three accessories for landscape photography that you can manage without BUT will probably be used more than anything else. I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up as your favorite accessories that you can’t imagine photographing without.
I’ve been using an L-Bracket for so long that I don’t even consider it to be an accessory anymore. For me, it’s become part of my equipment and I honestly don’t remember what my camera looks like without one.
An L-Bracket is a plate that is fastened to your camera body and serves as a connector between the tripod and the camera. The L-bracket is used instead of a regular quick release plate as it’s a much more flexible option. A clamp is placed on the tripod’s head to connect it with the camera.
Now, you might be asking, “Why is that a better option than the regular plate which comes with the tripod?” Simply put, it eases your workflow.
Let’s say that you’re standing in the middle of a river and photographing a waterfall. You’re taking a horizontal image and you’ve got a good composition. After taking some images you realize that a vertical image will work better for that scene. With a regular plate, you’ll need to adjust your tripod head so the camera is tilted vertically. By doing this you most likely have to set up the composition all over again since you’re camera has now moved several inches to another side.
With an L-bracket, however, you avoid this problem. Simply disconnect the camera and clip it back into place vertically. In this case, the tripod hasn’t been moved which means you still have the same composition, just vertically instead.
It wasn’t until I “lost” the clamp (connection between camera and tripod) in Iceland that I realized how valuable this tool has become in my workflow (I did find it again later at the airport – in my backpack…) Being able to seamlessly switch between a vertical and horizontal format has made this my favorite accessory. It does add some extra weight to your equipment but it will also protect the camera if you should be unlucky and drop it (still, I don’t recommend dropping it!)
While this is a built-in function in many high-end DSLR cameras, a spirit level is an accessory that I strongly recommend one if you own a camera without the virtual horizon function.
Capturing images with a straight horizon can be difficult without a spirit level, especially when you’re photographing a scene that doesn’t have a defined horizon (in which case the grid view will help a lot). The spirit level is a handy little tool that will make this process much easier.
The spirit level is placed on the hot shoe (where you connect a flash to the camera). Many choose to leave it there at all times to avoid accidentally forgetting it at home. It’s not the most popular tool for those who don’t use a tripod since it’s placed on top of the camera. If you’re using a tripod, however, it can be essential.
The last accessory I recommend is one that I have in my backpack at all times. In fact, I get worried if I only have one left.
Pre-moistened wipes are a landscape photographer’s best friend out in the field. We all know that creating beautiful images of landscapes often involve being outdoors in less than ideal weather. Either it’s windy, rainy or large waves are spraying you, having a couple pre-moistened wipes nearby will help you keep the lens clean at any time.
Dust spots or dirt on the lens are constant battles and when it gets really bad it has the potential to ruin an image. (Unless you’re a post-processing ninja who’s willing to spend hours in Photoshop cleaning it up.)
I tend to always have a couple pre-moistened wipes plus a microfiber cloth in my pocket when I’m shooting out in the field. Most of the time, regular microfiber cloths will work great but in the most challenging conditions, you will want to use wet ones. This is especially true when photographing seascapes and the lens gets a thin layer of salt over it.
These are some of the accessories I recommend for landscape photography. What are your favorites?