Landscape photographers are a contradictory bunch. Always on the quest for gear that is simultaneously lightweight and substantial, landscape photographers, as well as travel and nature photographers, are always in search of equipment that can get them a new look, serve a distinct purpose, or be flexible enough to handle a variety of conditions. If there’s a landscape photographer in your life to whom you’re looking to give the perfect photography gift, or if you’re looking to reward yourself with a new piece of kit, here are some gift suggestions to suit all outdoors shooters.
DJI Mavic 2 Pro Drone
Of course, all avid landscape photographers already have a camera, lenses, and a bevy of accessories—but recently being employed to gain new views of nature that were previously inaccessible are drones. The DJI Mavic 2 Pro is the perfect fit for landscape shooters, due to its compact, lightweight form factor, which will easily pack away with your other gear in a day bag. Also, enticing to photographers looking to complement their traditional ground-level efforts, the Mavic 2 Pro’s Hasselblad L1D-20c gimbal camera features a 20MP 1" CMOS sensor, along with a 28mm equivalent lens, f/2.8 to f/11 adjustable aperture, and it supports 4K 10-bit HDR video capture for making dynamic multimedia presentations of your work from the wild. Need more proof? Check out Shawn Steiner’s and Brett Smith’s experiences with the Mavic 2 Pro in Iceland.
GNARBOX 2.0 SSD Rugged Backup Device
Perfect for those photographers looking to shed some bulk while still remaining practical, the GNARBOX 2.0 is a unique backup device that allows you to store your day’s shoot safely, without requiring a laptop. Available in 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB capacities, this device lets you make single-step backups via USB Type-C or by using its SD card reader, and an onboard OLED screen and buttons make file navigation a simple task. Also, perfect for those working in inclement conditions, the GNARBOX 2.0 is also IP67-rated to withstand being submerged in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes.
Lowepro Powder Backpack 500 AW
Camera bags—there’s never the perfect one for all tasks but, luckily, you can never have too many. Choosing a bag for landscape shooting can be tricky, since you need to evaluate everything you’ll be carrying, which often can be quite a bit more gear than, say, a street photographer out for a day of shooting. Shooting outdoors, in general, may require you to carry your bag for long distances and long hours, and in who-knows-what conditions. As close to an all-in-one solution as you might find, Lowepro’s Powder Backpack 500 AW is a spacious and well-protected pack for the adventurer/photographer, and capable of carrying a full camera system, with multiple bodies and lenses, along with winter clothing and gear, a hydration system, and a laptop or tablet.
A necessity for landscape photographers working from a tripod, especially for nighttime work or other long-exposure techniques, a shutter release is a simple way to trigger your camera’s shutter remotely. While complex options are out there that may feature built-in intervalometers and multi-channel radio connectivity, at its simplest, the shutter release helps you to achieve sharper, shake-free photos. What more could a landscape photographer wish for?
B+W XS-Pro Kaesemann High Transmission Circular Polarizer MRC Nano Filter
There are few filters that remain objectively relevant in photography nowadays, and a circular polarizer is one of those where digital post-production simply cannot produce the same effects. A high-quality circular polarizer, such as B+W’s XS-Pro Kaesemann, helps landscape shooters overcome annoying reflections, distracting glare, and achieve increased saturation and contrast. The B+W Kaesemanns are especially suitable for landscape use due to their edge-sealed design to protect against humidity, and the Nano coating that resists water streaking.
LEE Filters Big Stopper 3.0 Neutral Density Filter
Like the circular polarizer, a neutral density filter is another filter whose effects cannot be duplicated digitally. LEE Filters’ Big Stopper 3.0 is one of the most popular solid neutral density filters around, and offers a 10-stop reduction in exposure. This allows you to really blur those waterfalls or seascapes, producing the desirable, silky-smooth flowing water effect.
ZEISS Lens Care Kit
You might think this is a boring gift, but really, what’s more exciting than keeping your lenses in perfect shape? ZEISS’s Lens Care Kit, which includes a 2-oz. spray bottle of cleaning solution and a microfiber cloth, is one of those items you might not want to buy for yourself but you always wish you had. For the landscape shooter, it’s a perfect excuse for letting yourself go out and shoot in the rain or snow… knowing all along you have the perfect tool for polishing your lens’s front element back to pristine glory afterward.
Sekonic Speedmaster L-858D-U Light Meter
One of the most feature-rich meters Sekonic has ever produced, the L-858D-U is a landscape shooter’s dream aid for nailing those tricky exposures in mixed lighting. Perhaps the most useful tool for working outdoors, and with subjects at a distance, is the integration of a 1° spot meter for making selective readings of different regions in a scene. Like other recent Sekonic meters, the L-858D-U also features a 2.7" color touchscreen with Sekonic’s intuitive menu system for switching between metering modes and changing settings.
Manfrotto Befree GT XPRO Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod
All photographers hate using a tripod, but any good landscape photographer will know it’s often a necessity if you’re going to shoot in the best light and achieve the best image. Manfrotto’s Befree series of tripods helps to eliminate your grimace at having to carry a tripod with you into the wild, and features especially compact folded lengths and lightweight designs. The Befree GT XPRO Carbon Fiber Travel version, for example, folds down to just 16.9" and weighs 3.9 lb, yet supports 22.1 lb and rises up to 64.6"—and that’s with the included 496 Center Ball Head.
Nitecore EC11 Explorer LED Flashlight
It’s not uncommon for landscape photographers to dabble in some night photography, and an essential tool for this nocturnal gig is a flashlight. Nitecore’s EC11 Explorer is an especially compact model, likely to fit in any pocket in your camera bag, yet still has an impressive 900 lumen output with four additional brightness settings. Also, perfect to use while you’re taking pictures, this flashlight has a low-output auxiliary red LED that can be used to hunt around in your camera bag while preserving your night-adjusted vision.
Do you have any other gift ideas for landscape photographers? Are you a landscape photographer yourself? If so, what would be your perfect gift to receive? Let us know.