If there’s one filter that’s indispensable when shooting outdoors, it’s the polarizer. Unlike studio environments where light and surface ref lections can be controlled with relative ease, travel and landscape photography mean working with the scene as you find it, and surface glare on foliage, ref lections on water or windows, or similar specular hotspots can blow out color and detail. A polarizer can handle all of these for images with rich blue skies, more saturated colors and no distracting glare.
As always, when selecting a filter, understand that attaching any glass to the front of your lens can potentially compromise image quality, so we recommend investing in top-quality optical filters like those from B+W (schneideroptics.com/filters).
LIGHTWEIGHT, COMPACT TRIPOD
Tripods are one of the principal tools that distinguish pro-quality images from snapshots. No, they’re not particularly convenient to carry, and they take time to set up and adjust, but that latter point could be seen as an advantage, forcing you to slow down and really deliberate your composition. That’s just an auxiliary benefit, though; the reason pros use tripods is to ensure tack-sharp exposures and precise camera positioning.
For travel photography, choose a lightweight, compact model like the Manfrotto Befree (manfrotto.us/befree), which is available in aluminum (3 pounds) and carbon-fiber (2.4 pounds) options, and folds down to 15.7 inches long. A padded sling carrying case is included.
High-quality lenses are an investment because they’re precision instruments. They’re also delicate and expensive to repair. With proper care, your optics will provide years of stunning images. A little extra protection when you’re outside and on the move can stave off accidents that could be costly.
That doesn’t mean lens care has to be all serious business. Photojojo’s Photorito (photojojo.com) wraps your lens in waterproof Tyvek and neoprene—with a sense of humor. Designed to fit lenses up to 200mm, it’s an extra measure of cushion and coverage for your lenses through the bumps and bolts of travel. And it looks like a burrito.
Regular lens cleaning when shooting outdoors not only protects your lens, but also reduces the time you’ll spend spot-retouching your photos in post. The LensPen (lenspen.com) is a favorite of our editors because it’s completely self-contained, requires no f luids and is easy to use—dust off the surface with the retractable brush, then switch to the Invisible Carbon Cleaning Tip to remove smudges and fingerprints. The OutdoorPro Kit includes the Original LensPen, LensPen MiniPro, a MicroKlear Cloth for cleaning camera bodies and a FogKlear antifog cloth, plus a nylon case.