Landscape Photo of Havasu waterfall in Arizona by Jay Patel

My Two Favorite Photography Accessories

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Tripod and filters are my two favorite photography accessories. I can sum up how I feel about these two items with the following sentence: Don’t leave home without them. Sure, you can take landscape photos without these accessories, however, the range of photos you can create without them is limited. Tripods and filters enable a landscape photographer almost limitless opportunity by allowing you to work in almost any light and weather conditions that you may encounter in nature.

If you are planning on purchasing or upgrading your current tripod or filter set, it is important to properly select the tripod and filters that work for you. Here are few things to look for when selecting filters and a tripod.

Photography Filters

When it comes to filters, it is easy to go over board with the number and variety of filters that are available today. These choices also create confusion as to what filters you should carry and what you should prioritize. Here are the filters we carry with us.

  • Circular Polarizer: We always carry a circular polarize to reduce glare, cut through reflections, and produce photos with vibrant colors. The effect of a circular polarize is highly complex and is dependent on the filter setting as well as type and direction of light. For this reason it is important to know the limitations and proper use of a circular polarizer before you attempt to use one.

    Landscape photo captured with a circular polarize at Glen Eilt, Scotland

    Photographic Filters Used: Circular Polarizer – Glen Eilt, Scotland

  • ND Filters: ND filters allow you to slow down your shutter speed. This extra degree of control over your shutter, when combined with manual exposure, allows limitless options to capture photos under any light conditions.

    Example of photography Filter Used: 4 Stop ND Filter - Jakusarlon, Iceland

    Photography Filter Used: 4 Stop ND Filter – Jakusarlon, Iceland

  • GND Filter: This filter allow you to control your dynamic range. We recommend that you use a rectangular GND filter (rather then a circular one) so you can place the horizon and any where you wish.
  • Filter Stacking: Our filters set is designed so that we can stack up multiples in any combination we want. This allows us to use both a Circular Polarizer and ND filters to capture photos like these one from Arizona.

    Arizona Dreaming - Jay Patel

    Filters Used: Circular Polarizer + 4 Stop ND Filter – Havasu Falls, Arizona

  • Color Cast: Some filters (specially ND and GND filters) may have a strong color cast. ND filters are know to have strong magenta color cast. We use filters with NO color cast. This make the processing images a lot easier.

Tripods: My second favorite photography accessory is a tripod. We typically take a single tripod with us when we are travelling. So, having a right tripod is pretty important for us. Here are few things we recommend when selecting your tripod.

  • I love love tripods with a built-in leveling bubble. They allow me to accurately level my tripods for panorama or movies.

    Tripod Used: <strong>Induro CLT103 with Internal Bubble Level</strong> - Hraunfossar, Iceland

    Tripod Used: Induro CLT103 with Internal Bubble Level – Hraunfossar, Iceland

  • It is important to be able to clean my tripods after coming back from our trip (especially if the tripod is used in an harsh environment). For this reason we look for tripods that come apart easily.
  • Make sure the legs of the tripods move independently from one another…This allows us to place your tripod in any surface.

    Legs placed at different angles to position the Tripod, Peyto Lake, Canada

    Legs placed at different angles to position my Induro Carbon Fiber Tripod – Peyto Lake, Canada

  • I sometime shoot low to the ground. It’s important that you select a tripod whose legs allow you to do this.
  • Other things we look for while selecting a tripod are its maximum height, load carrying capacity, and weight.

Now that you know what type of filters and tripod we carry, the question is how do we go about using them? This is where our Getting it Right In-Camera course comes in. Filmed in diverse terrains of Iceland and Hawaii, you will learn how these photography accessories to come away with some spectacular photos. Getting it Right In-Camera will teach you how to put yourself in the right place at the right time and then use local knowledge, the right equipment, key compositional strategies, essential camera skills and a good dose of creativity to overcome the ever-changing conditions of nature.

Check out the following tutorials on Visual Wilderness:

About Author Jay Patel

I could startoff like this – “Seeds of Jay Patel’s appreciation for beautiful places were planted early in his childhood….” but it would get boring really fast. I will just sum it up and say that I am a Landscape and Wilderness Photographer who loves to capture dramatic light. My photographs have been published in various magazines, calendars and advertising materials throughout the world.
Patience is a virtue...unless you are chasing your dreams