Carrying equipment for every eventuality is also counter-intuitive and you should avoid your experience outdoors being overshadowed by the weight of your bag – at the end of the day you are here to enjoy and not endure.
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 understand the differences between the shooting modes.
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 protected from wind and rain.
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 designated focal lengths which means carrying more lenses and accordingly more weight. If the intimate landscape interests you, a 100mm Macro lens can be ideal.
Filters – many photographs find it difficult to shoot an image without some sort of filter. A filter needs to add value and if it isn’t then you are potentially degrading the image by placing a sheet of resin in front of your lens. 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 contrast locally. They come in a variety of densities and gradations but in my experience, the most useful are a 0.6 soft and 0.6 medium gradation. Several brands of ‘grads’ are available but by far the best are 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.
You may find a polarising filter desirable, although personally, I dislike the artefacts that it creates within an image and most what it achieves can be replicated in Lightroom more naturally. Some photographers favour Lee’s ‘Big Stopper’ which increases the exposure by 10 stops and transforms water and clouds into amorphous forms.
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 – bring extra batteries for backup.
Lens cloth – a lens cloth is useful for removing rain.