Michael Pilkington
Michael Pilkington

1.Benro GD3WH Precision Geared Head

You compose the image carefully adjusting the various elevations available to you and then as you let go of the handles, knobs or whatever is being used the camera dips a millimeter due to the heavy camera body and lens on the tripod.  There are of course good quality ball heads out there that will not do that but I prefer to use a geared head for my landscape photography.  The reason being that not only does it hold the camera and lens rock steady, you are able to adjust the head in one or all of three different directions.  This is important when finessing a composition.  When reviewing the edges of the image, assessing what may have creptin or out of the composition, you can move the camera via the geared head in one direction by the smallest of movements without affecting the other axis.  An invaluable bit of kit for me.  There are other geared heads out there, which I have used, but I have to say that the Benro head is lighter and has a better 'feel' to

Benro Geared Head

2. Hoodman Professional 3.0 Screen Loupe

If like me you need glasses to read, checking the screen on the back of the camera after you have taken a shot is a nuisance. Recently I acquired a Hoodman Loupe that you place over the screen to view it. This has two advantages. Firstly, it has an eye piece that you can adjust to your eye (+/- 3 dioptre), so you can view the screen without glasses. Secondly, as it fits over the screen, all ambient light is eliminated. This is especially useful in bright conditions, useful even if you don't need glasses. The loupe is protected by rubber and therefore wont dmaghe the rear screen and quite robust out in the field.

So, most importantly I can view my composition, histogram and above all check that focus is correct. There is nothing more frustrating than getting home, uploading your images to find a problem that could have fixed in the field.

Hoodman Loupe

 

3. Lee Filters Circular Polarizer

As a landscape photographer I use many different filters, namely neutral density and graduated filters.  However, my most indispensable and versatile filter is my Lee Filters Circular Polarizer. There are four main advantages that are all contained within the use of this filter. It cuts reflections from sea, rivers and wet surfaces, it darkens the blues in skies therefore separating the clouds and making them stand out, it cuts out some atmospheric haze, and lastly serves as a neutral density filter prolonging exposure by up to two stops. It can be used for increasing saturation across the field view (if correctly placed) popping your clouds out from the sky and creating deeper colours. It does this my filtering reflected light. This very feature also brings the ability to remove reflections allows you to see into water and remove some highlights when shooting close ups of flowers and foliage.

A polarizer will cut the light entering into the camera by up to 2 stops. Thus, it can be used as a neutral density filter, forcing a slower shutter speed and giving you access to 'slowing' down movement and creative images.

Benro Geared Head

 

4. Remote release - infra red shutter control

Landscape photography or indeed close up and macro demands small apertures. This in turn forces you to use slower shutter speeds. Regardless of the VR capabilities of modern lens, your camera mounted on a tripod will benefit. Using a remote release will eliminate the risk of camera shake and the consequences in your images - softness or blurring. The remote release I use can be used wirelessly (via infra-red) or wired.

Remote Release

These are my favourite, if not indispensable, camera accessories when setting out in the field and pursuing my love of photography.

 

© Michael Pilkington