LANDSCAPE KIT LIST: SHOOT LIKE A PRO
Landscape photography is more than a genre of photography; it’s a discipline that takes a lot of technical knowledge and determination. It’s difficult to capture great landscape images that really stand out and, while it takes hard work and dedication to do so, having the right equipment is also essential.
Here we’ve rounded up the key bits of kit many landscape photographers pack into their bags, which allows them to achieve the exact look of image they desire.
Do you have a good shot of all your kit? Don’t forget to post it to our Facebook page, tweet us or tag us on Instagram @OlympusUK.
Shot by Diego Garín Martín with an Olympus M.zuiko 8mm f/1.8 FISHEYE lens and an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II.
Use a wideangle lens
The first thing you should pack into your kit bag is your camera, right? But the next most important thing is the choice of lens. Most landscape photography requires a lens that has the ability to capture the entire scene – unless you’re positioned really far away and are zooming in, this should be a wideangle. Typically, any lens with a focal length from 14mm through to 35mm (35mm equivalent) is a good choice.
Micro Four Thirds cameras like the Olympus PEN and OM-D range make it easy to calculate their 35mm equivalent, it’s simply the quoted focal length multiplied by two. For example, using this method you can calculate that the Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro lens a 24-80mm equivalent, making it great for landscape photography at the widest end of the zoom.
Use a polariser
Using a polarising filter in front of a lens not only removes unwanted reflections, like those found on buildings or across water, but will also improve contrast and saturation enhancing clouds and giving bright and punchy blue skies. Most established landscape photographers will recommend using one, as it’s impossible to replicate the effect of a polariser in post-production.
With and without LEE Big Stopper. Taken with LEE Filters - all copyright belongs to LEE Filters
Use a neutral density filter
Neutral density filters – or ND filters, as they’re more commonly known – confuse many people. The best way to think of them is as a pair of sunglasses for your lens: they allow you to block out some light, and thereby achieve slower shutter speeds.
They come in various strengths, and can cut out anything from 1-stop to 10-stops of light. For landscapes, many photographers use very dark ND filters to achieve a slow shutter speed, or long exposures. Using this method, photographers can blur moving subjects to achieve silky smooth-looking waterfalls, flat calm-looking seas and long, streaky-looking clouds. A long exposure also has the added benefit of blurring out any moving people in your shot. This is particularly useful for shooting landmarks and cityscapes.
With and without LEE Big polariser. Taken with LEE Filters - all copyright belongs to LEE Filters
Use a neutral density graduated filter
A graduated ND filter does the same job as an ND filter by blocking light, but does so in a graduated section of the frame. When shooting a scene with a very bright sky, an ND graduated filter can be used to darken the sky and give a more balanced exposure. They’re available in different strengths and also as hardline or softline.
For landscapes many photographers use a softline graduated filter, as the area between clear filter and the darkened ND area is much more faded and subtle. This helps to prevent an obvious line appearing across the image where an ND filter has been used. However when shooting seascapes, where the horizon is relatively straight and flat, a hardline grad can be used instead.
With and without LEE Grad. Taken with LEE Filters - all copyright belongs to LEE Filters
Use a remote trigger
When shooting on a tripod, especially when shooting long exposures, pressing the shutter button can move the camera slightly and blur the image. To prevent this, shoot with either a cable release, a remote trigger, a two-second timer or use the Wi-Fi remote shooting option on Olympus Wi-Fi-enabled cameras.
Use a tripod
Even though many Olympus have excellent in-body image stabilisation, it’s best to shoot landscapes using a tripod – and especially if you’re planning to shoot a long exposure. Often, to shoot a landscape, you’ll need to set your camera to a low ISO and small aperture, which will mean shutter speeds are rather slow. Using a tripod will ensure your camera is steady and that no camera shake will blur the image.