One of the top questions we get asked is “What photography gear do I need?”
We always refer them to our camera gear checklist for travel photography.
Recently we were specifically asked for a spring landscape photography list. And it got us thinking that yes, there are certain items we pack for our outings based on the season and weather.
In this article we’ll talk about the items we use and recommend for taking pictures in the spring, based on our experiences with a wide range of camera gear over the years.
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WHERE SHOULD I BUY CAMERA EQUIPMENT?
We get asked this question often. There are two places where we buy our cameras, lenses and other accessories: Amazon and B&H Photo.
B&H Photo is our go-to company for buying the high quality cameras, tripods and lenses. They are a reputable company that’s been in business for over 45 years. Their customer service and knowledge about photography equipment gives us peace of mind when spending money on higher ticket items.
Amazon is where we buy most of our camera accessories like filters, memory cards, etc. The free two-day shipping is always a plus. We have bought cameras, lenses and tripods from Amazon with no problem as well. They are good about returns, but won’t be able to answer gear-specific questions.
Spring Landscape Photography Gear List
No matter what camera you have, inspect it before packing to make sure it’s functioning properly and has been cleaned.
Check to see the memory cards and a fully charged battery are inserted.
If you’re looking for a new camera, here’s a list of articles to help you as you research what’s best for you:
To determine which lenses to pack, you must know what images you want to capture.
Spring is the perfect time to photograph waterfalls, wildlife and the milky way.
These are the lenses I use for my spring photography:
- Nikon 24-70 mm F2.8: This is my primary landscape lens that gives me a wide angle as well as telephoto to get closer shots.
- Nikon 70-200 mm F2.8: This is a general purpose lens I use for everything.
- Nikon 200-500 mm: A good wildlife lens when animals aren’t too far away, and it’s not too heavy for hiking.
- Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR Lens – My favorite new wildlife lens due to its small size and weight compared to the bigger 500mm lens!!
- Rokinon 24 mm F1.4: If you are interested in photographing the Milky Way, this is a wonderful lens to use.
A good sturdy tripod is worth the investment.
You’ll need a tripod when capturing long exposure photos of waterfalls and the milky way in the spring.
I also have the Induro Stealth tripod specifically designed for outdoor and adventure photography.
There are many quality tripods of varying sizes and capacities. Evaluate your needs and spend the money to obtain a good quality tripod to meet those needs. It will definitely pay for itself in the quality of your images.
Do you research to find the best tripod for your needs and budget:
A good camera bag or backpack is the foundation of any photographer’s kit. A well-designed pack that fits and carries well when hiking and is equipped with pockets and organizing sections is a must.
We have opted to use camera backpacks for their ease in transporting gear while hiking to various locations. There are many camera bags on the market that may better fit your photography needs and style.
We use three different backpacks depending on the situation and/or gear we need. All of these backpacks are well designed with adjustable belts and straps to properly distribute the pack weight on our bodies while hiking.
The Dakine Mission Photo Backpack is used for smaller landscape excursions that will not require a lot of supplies or the use of large lenses.
The Lowepro Flipside 500 AW Backpack is best for photo trips that will necessitate the use of a large lens like our Nikon 500mm. Since we always carry two camera bodies, Jamie will carry the Dakine pack and I will carry the Lowepro so we are prepared for any wildlife or landscape shot. BUT Jamie has no issues using this larger backpack as well.
The Lowepro Pro Trekker 650 AW is a large capacity bag we use to transport our camera gear on the airplane or longer road trips that will require more lenses and supplies.
Finding the right camera bag or backpack will be a personal decision.
A quick field cleaning is sometimes necessary to remove dust or water droplets on your lens, especially in the spring! NOTE: this is not for cleaning the sensor.
A good camera cleaning kit should include
- lens pen
- cleaning fluid in a spray bottle
- air blower
- microfiber cleaning cloths
- soft brush
Remote Shutter Release
In the spring when you photograph long exposure waterfalls or the milky way, a remote shutter release is essential for decreasing camera shake caused by the pressure of your finger activating the camera shutter. Using this item results in sharper images overall as well.
I’ve used expensive and cheap models and find that most remote shutter release products wear out quickly. I always carry an extra because it’s frustrating when the shutter release goes out on you in the middle of a shoot.
You can compensate for this by using the camera timer, but it is inconvenient. You will need to search for a remote shutter release for your specific camera model.
Extra Batteries and Media Cards
You will use the card over and over, so spending a bit more to get a better product, in the long term, will not cost you much more.
CARRY EXTRAS: You don’t want to miss any photographic opportunities due to forgetting to load a memory card or battery in your camera; draining a battery or filling a memory card (or two).
I encourage you to read the Do’s and Don’ts of Memory Cards by Peta Pixel. They share simple tips to keep your memory cards and images safe now and in the future.
Circular Polarizer and Neutral Density filters are nice pieces of equipment to have, but pay the price for a name brand. You don’t put cheap glass in front of your expensive lens.
Circular Polarizers are great for bringing out the color and depth of your landscape shots.
Neutral Density Filters can be very helpful in obtaining a blurred motion with water scenes and when shooting in high light conditions.
I started out using Tiffen and Hoya filters, and I had good success using them. BUT I became frustrated with the difficulty of using these filter systems and only got them out when I wanted long exposure shots.
Portable External Hard Drive
Create a photo back-up process that you do at the end of EVERY PHOTO SHOOT. You don’t want to lose photos left in the camera if something corrupts the memory card.
My image back-up system:
- IMMEDIATELY after a day of shooting, I download the photos to my main computer if I am home, or my laptop if I’m on the road.
- I also copy the photos to a portable external hard drive – we LOVE the Lacie because it’s so durable for travel! These are my back-up copies.
- I then save the photos to my cloud storage.
When traveling keep your laptop and portable hard drive in two separate places – if your laptop is locked in the hotel safe while you are out exploring, be sure to carry the portable hard drive with you as they are small and lightweight.
Spring photography may bring rain so always carry a rain cover for your camera.
Also, check to see that your camera backpack has a rain cover as well.
Other Items You Need
It’s important that you, the photographer, be warm, dry and comfortable so you’ll want to stay outside taking pictures no matter the weather or conditions.
Wearing and packing layers is so important in the spring when you’ll find cooler mornings and evenings with warmer days.
Here’s the list of all the “other” things we use and recommend:
- Merrell Moab hiking shoes
- Darn Tough socks – THE best socks, your feet will thank you!
- Fleece jacket & rain jacket
- Buff headbands – to protect us from the weather and insects
- Hydroflask waterbottles
- Hand sanitizer
- Flashlight or headlamp with red light – a must for night photography!
- Insect repellent