Cameras – Camera equipment is very much a personal choice and is dependent on individual preference, budget, and experience. Whether you shoot with a 35mm DSLR or a mirror-less system is unimportant. What is important, however, is that you are familiar with your camera’s layout and menu structure and the difference between shooting modes. An understanding of the relationship between shutter speed, aperture and ISO is essential.
Camera bag – bring a camera bag that allows you to comfortably carry your equipment over rugged terrain. Backpacks distribute the weight between your shoulders and hips making walking much easier than a bag with a shoulder strap and are normally weather-proofed.
Tripod – the ideal tripod needs to be light enough to carry comfortably but sufficiently robust to be used in winds. A tripod engenders a more contemplative approach to the photography and allows the use of slower shutters speeds. A wide range of models are available from Manfrotto and Gitzo and for more advanced photographers, carbon fibre tripods offer a lighter weight solution but essentially do the same job as those made from aluminum.
Lenses – like cameras, these come down to personal choice and will be determined by the type of subject matter normally pursued. Many photographers choose two zoom lenses; a 24-70mm and a 70-200mm, which will account for 90-95% of the images taken with only two lenses. Another popular combination is 24-105mm and 100-400mm. Some photographers prefer to work with prime lenses which offer improved performance at their respective focal lengths however, it usually means carrying more weight. If exploring the intimate landscape interests you, then a 90/100mm Macro lens can be ideal.
Filters – The most commonly used filters in digital photography are graduated neutral density filters. These differ from neutral density filters in that they allow you to control luminosity locally. They come in a variety of densities and gradations but in my experience, the most useful is a 0.6 soft and 0.6 hard. Several brands of ‘grads’ are available but by far the best is manufactured by Lee Filters. They also offer a professional filter holder which allows the gradation to be moved within the holder, relative to the scene. A polarising filter is useful for removing reflections from water and increasing contrast. Many photographers favour Lee’s ‘Big Stopper’ which transforms water and clouds into amorphous forms by increasing the exposure by 10 stops.
Backup and storage – Ensure that you have adequate memory cards and a means of backing up your work, either on a laptop, iPad or supplementary hard drive. Bringing your own laptop will allow you to see what you have shot each day and will facilitate critique sessions.
Remote release – essential to eradicate camera shake when the camera is mounted on a tripod.
Spare batteries – cold will adversely affect battery life so make sure you have extras.
Lens cloth – useful for removing rain or sea spray.