Before you run off to the camera store…
Almost everything I shoot is shot with just one lens, a 16-35 zoom.
The new lens won’t be for sale until 2011 so I have some time to mull over that purchase which led me to write this article.
How much equipment do you really need to shoot landscapes?
I have a bunch of lenses from the wide zoom all the way up to a 500 mm telephoto. So what is in my camera bag when I drive out of town?
I won’t mention brand names because I think it’s misleading to those new to photography. Most upper end camera gear is so similar in quality that it doesn’t really matter which you choose to use.
This is what I take with me when shooting landscapes,
- Digital SLR camera body
- One lens is all I ever take with me a 16-35 zoom
- light tripod
- shutter release
- one graduated ND filter, gray not colored
- circular polarizing filter
- two extra 16 gig memory cards
- soft cloth to clean lens and filters
- on longer trips I take along a plastic bag that holds all the stuff I need to clean my camera sensor, a blower, fluid, swabs, etc.
That’s it. Go to my website or my photostream on Flickr. Ninety-nine percent of the photos were taken with that equipment.
For all the different looks, colors, effects, that is all that was needed.
This is why I get so annoyed at the professional or semi-professionals who are always mentioning equipment. It seems that equipment is all some can write about when equipment is such a small part of the creative process.
My time outdoors is limited as yours probably is. I don’t have the luxury and probably wouldn’t want to if I could, wait for days for the light to be right to shoot a landscape. I want to get as many views as quickly as I possibly can for the times that I am outdoors.
It might not sound like it but changing lenses means changing the way you see. If I were using a 100 mm lens for example, I’d be looking for different things to shoot than with a wide angle lens. When the light is changing by the second, I am losing the opportunity for different views.
On a normal morning near sunrise, I can usually get a half dozen to a dozen landscapes that will look different enough to the agencies that they wouldn’t be considered similars.
More photos in the agency means more sales for me. I don’t shoot for the agency. I shoot for me and if I can shoot what I want and have a few hundred extra dollars coming in every month, that’s fine by me.
So how much equipment do YOU need? It depends upon how you shoot and how you see.
For me, less is definitely more. Will I buy the new fish eye zoom in January? Probably not but we’ll see.