The Landscape Photography Holiday Gift List

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Okay, I know there’s a ton of holiday gear lists out there. But I haven’t found a good one for landscape photographers specifically. So, I recently went through my camera bag/closet/gear and found the stuff I think has been essential for me over the last year for outdoor and landscape photography. If you know a landscape photographer then here’s some ideas. If you are one, then forward this to your family members with a “hint, hint” attached. Most things are pretty reasonably priced too so it won’t break the bank.

Neutral Density Filters – I wrote about my long exposure photography gear a few weeks ago. Getting a good set of ND filters is essential and the ones from Tiffen have always worked out great for me. Here’s a link to B&H Photo with a bunch of filters on the page.

Filter Pouch – If you get the filters mentioned above you’ll need a pouch to carry them.

Cam Ranger – The Cam Ranger is a wireless camera control and tethering device that works with your iPad, iPhone, and Android. I can’t even begin to go over everything it does but it’s quickly becoming one of the go-to items in my bag. It creates it’s own wireless network, so you can literally be out in the middle of nowhere and still shoot tethered to your iPad, as well as control just about every aspect of your camera, focus, HDR, you name it. Way cool!!! Here’s the link to their website.

Perfect Effects 8 (and Suite 8) from onOne Software – I’m amazed at what onOne Software has done with the new Dynamic Contrast filter in their newest version of the Perfect Effects 8 plug-in. Every one of my landscape photos now goes through this filter for contrast, detail and sharpening. Plus, their Perfect B&W plug-in is quickly becoming the new standard for black and white conversions.

A Good Cable/Remote Release – Even though I use my remote timer most of the time now, I still find myself using my remote cable release a lot as well. I have the Shutterboss (wired version) from Vello and it works great.

Polarizing Filter – A good polarizing filter is absolutely a must-have (even more so than an ND filter) in any outdoor photographers bag. I’ve had a B+W one for about 9 years now, but any good glass filter (Tiffen makes great ones too) will do.

Photography Apps – Okay, you’ve got to avoid giving just the iTunes gift card here. Instead, you can buy ‘em a gift card and include a list of apps/suggestions to go along with it so they know you put some thought into this. For $30 you can buy all of them. Here’s my list of apps I use as a landscape photographer: ND Timer for long exposures, The Photographers Ephemeris, Go Sky Watch for night/star photography, Sun Seeker for tracking the position of the sun so you know right where it’ll be at sunrise or sunset.

Sanho Hyperdrive Backup Drive – This one from Sanho is a little pricey but it’s something that helps me sleep better at night. With landscape photography, sometimes you may not be near your computer for a while. For me, I find I spend a lot of time, money and effort to get to a location. Because of that, I like to know I have a backup of my photos as soon as possible. This portable backup drive is about the best and easiest solution I’ve found. You don’t need to connect it to a computer. Just plug your card in. I back my card up to it as soon as possible. Then if something goes bad, gets erased, stolen, whatever, I know I keep this drive in a safe place and I’m good. It’s already paid for itself in saving my butt this year. They range in price but I went with one of the cheaper ones because it’s plenty big enough for a shoot.

Mophie Phone Battery Case – For me, my phone and apps have become such an integral part of landscape photography. Between the GPS apps to get me there, and the apps for finding the sun, stars, sunrise and sunset times I’ve found I eat up the battery really fast. The Mophie Battery cases are the best most elegant ones I’ve found.

Well there ya have it. My list of must-haves for landscape photographers. Nothing too crazy, and most of it doesn’t break the bank :-) Have a good one!

  • Ken Zuk

    Thanks Matt – great list! I just spent some time in Thailand and had great fun with some long exposure shots!!

    I am liking the look of the ND Timer app that you have been talking about. I am curious though…in the settings for the filters…can you explain what is behind the numbers that are showing for the ND filters? I already am slow to get the .6 (2 stop), .9 (3 Stop), and 3.0 (10 stop)…but now I see ND256, ND512, ND1024…

  • Paul

    I enjoy your practical and useful postings, especially these days when others’ blogs have become just self-promotion.

    What has become of Lightroom Magazine?

  • John Farinelli

    Matt, What do you use to carry your LEE filters in ? I’ve got a number of them, and still wrap them in tissue paper. Is the tamrac filter holder more for the screw-on type, or also for storing multiple 4×5″ style filters ?

    • http://mattk.com Matt Kloskowski

      Hey John. I use the case it came with. The pouch is more for the screw on filters :)