Landscape Photo Gear

If you are a bird or wildlife photographer then you are looking at mainly big expensive lenses.

Landscape photo gear on the other hand does not need to be big or expensive.

Traditional landscape photography had the goal of capturing the whole scene in front of you - the wide vistas - and for these types of photographs you need a wide-angle lens.

But it got to the stage where so many photographers took photographs of the same famous scenes that now other landscape photographers have started to either shoot the same subject from different angles or under adverse weather conditions to get a different-looking photograph and not just be seen as copying another photographer.

The other option is for you to go and find new landscape subjects but that is not so easy as most of the world has been photographed! It is easier to try and photograph the icons in a more creative way.

From this scenario the concept of 'intimate landscapes' was born - instead of photographing the whole wide scene in front of you, you would look for just a small appealing element of the scene to photograph. The wide angle lens was replaced by a normal or telephoto lens.

Subjects for landscape photography are diverse and can include the following:

• Canyons

• Coastlines

• Deserts

• Forests

• Lakes

• Mountains

• Plains

• Rivers

• Waterfalls

• Intimate landscapes (small details from any of these subjects)

In order to photograph the above subjects you need 'normal' (40-60mm) to wide angle lenses. If you are a macro photographer you could also use your 60mm, 90mm, 105mm macro lens for landscapes.

Here is our landscape photo gear:

Nikon 18-200mm zoom lens This lens has a zoom coverage of 11x from the widest 76 degrees at 18mm to the 8 degree maximum telephoto at 200mm. This lens is sharp - I dropped my first lens and could have replaced it with another zoom lens but I replaced it with another 18-200.

Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 zoom - This lens is small, light, sharp and has a coverage at its widest of 109 degrees.

Nikon 60mm f2.8 Macro lens - very sharp lens with a 'normal' field of view (that portrays the world as we see it with our eyes).

Nikon 50mm f1.4 lens - we mainly use this lens for star-trails or for nocturnal photography.

Nikon 10.5mm fisheye lens - 180 degrees coverage but with some distortion so I use it mainly for star-trails. If there are lines, like the horizon, it (the horizon) needs to be placed in the centre of the frame to ensure that the line does not bend.

Some professional landscape photographers use a fisheye but most use ultra-wide angle lenses, such as the Nikon 14-24mm f2.8, (it is an expensive lens) that do not distort lines but still offer a very wide angle.

Up until recently my widest lens was the 18mm and you may also not have an ultra wide angle lens, so how do you then get photographs of the wide vistas?

Not to fret - you can do panoramas. Shoot a few overlapping frames and then stitch them together! You also don't need Photoshop as there is free software that you can download for the pano-stitching.

For intimate landscapes we use any telephoto lens that is appropriate such as the 18-200 zoom, the 200mm f4 macro, 80-400mm zoom or the 200-400mm f4 zoom lens.

2015 Update

These are now our landscape photography lenses:

Nikon 70-300mm f4.5-f5.6 zoom lens This lens serves as my backup to the Sigma 150-600mm Sport lens and is very sharp.

Nikon 16-35mm f4 zoom - This lens is sharp and has a coverage at its widest of 107 degrees on an FX body.

Nikon 60mm f2.8 Macro lens - very sharp lens with a 'normal' field of view (that portrays the world as we see it with our eyes).

Nikon 50mm f1.8 lens - the f1.8 lens produces much sharper images at the wider apertures than the f1.4 50mm lens.

Sigma Nikon 15mm f2.8 fisheye lens - this lens suits us better than the Nikon as it focuses closer for macro images.  


In addition to the right lenses you will need some accessories...

• A sturdy tripod with ball-head

• A cable release - for use of slow shutter speeds to ensure sharp photographs, vibrant colors and to enable you to shoot star-trails and star-points.

• Filters - there are three important filters for landscapes - polarizer, split neutral density and neutral density.

And that sums up our landscape photo gear.


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