ARCHITECTURAL AND LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY: The Intersection of Technology and Art© Choosing the Right Equipment

by Steve Silverman

BENEFIT: Making better choices when purchasing equipment optimizes your investment, leaving you with capital to invest elsewhere.

As a Canon® user through my professional career, I have definite opinions about the brands and types of equipment which produce better images. On the other hand, from time-to-time, I have been surprised with the quality of work other photographers produce with equipment I consider to be inferior. While a photographer’s choice of equipment is highly personal, here are some common truths I adamantly believe are critical in putting together your Arch/Lan (architectural/landscape) toolbox. 1. An intimate knowledge of the equipment you use is critical to creating superior images. Therefore, the learning curve begins at the moment of purchase; it ends the day you stop using it. As an example, after daily use of my camera for many years, I found myself pulling out the manual to check a specific feature two weeks before selling it. 2. Your knowledge of how your equipment works and how best to use it enables you to stretch its capability. I held onto my last film camera longer than I should have because I felt I was getting 110-120% out of it. 3. Although “new” is usually better than “old”, sometimes it isn’t. Some of my equipment is so old it seems like it might be eligible for the “Antique Road Show.” The studio strobe, serving as my “main” is nearly 20 years old, works perfectly, and is a great light source. My primary portrait lens is over 20 years old and delivers beautifully sharp images; moreover, it remains rated as one of the top 35mm lenses in the world!


or areas. compromising on lens quality will almost always result in a free fall to mediocrity. I am going to concentrate on the 35mm format rather than medium or large formats. Compromise means the photographer has to make an excuse or give a reason why a photograph doesn’t meet client established quality standards.. one has to move further back to get everything in the frame. the need for compensation and/or compromise is mitigated by using the best glass (or lens) available. Someone using an advanced point-andshoot camera or an entry level DSLR may have to confine shooting to only times of the day.. low resolution. For example. as my experience reveals the cost/benefit ratio of 35mm cameras is far greater than for medium and large format.Equipment: compensation and compromise. Moreover. An image may look fine as a thumbnail on a computer monitor. where the light is adequate to shoot at a low ISO. there are physical advantages the Arch/Lan photographer realizes when using 35mm format such as less weight and greater mobility. In this article. Compensation means the photographer has to allow for the equipment by adjusting the way he or she shoots. In Arch/Lan photography. yet should the content of the photo warrant its publication or printing and display. Cameras. To a certain degree. and the best equipment at his or her disposal. camera. 2 . The creation of truly excellent Arch/Lan images requires all of the skill and imagination a photographer can muster. An older DSLR may have higher noise levels in the shadows and a new DSLR sporting improved signal to noise ratio ISO capability. When shopping for a new camera. Any deviation from the best equipment for the job involves some level of either compensation or compromise. the camera you use for Arch/Lan photography must offer certain features. Examine your camera to see if it has these features. look for these features. when shooting with a cropped sensor camera with a full frame lens attached. or another brand. Nikon®. 35mm or a larger format. Whether you choose Canon®. it will most likely be a disappointment when captured with a small sensor.

Over Exposure Clipping Warning. Used to alter the standard exposure set by the camera. the wall and the overexposed areas inside the pictures frames are displayed as dark during the “blink. some portion of the image will be clipped off to the right.Critical Features. That’s not important because you’ll rarely be compensating more than 1/2 stop. This feature allows you to direct the camera to take three (or more.two exposure values. Ideally. 1. most cameras allow settings in 1/3 stop increments although the option to choose between 1/3 and 1/2 stop increments is preferred it is not as widely offered (Figure 3). Over exposed areas in an image alternately blink on and off as can be seen here. Above. Most cameras compensate in 1/3 stop increments. The over-exposed area will blink on and off. varying the exposure up to +/. Today. Most cameras allow you to compensate up to +/(plus or minus) two stops.” this shows up in your image when you review it after you shoot it (Figure 2). Below. the over exposed areas.” Figure 2 3 . This feature indicates part of your image is over-exposed to the extent that the information in that part of the image is beyond the camera’s dynamic range. 3. depending on the camera) frames in a row. Exposure compensation of -1/2 stop is shown in the LCD of the Canon 5D Mark II. the bright wall scene is displayed. Auto Exposure Bracketing. When you examine the histogram. Exposure Compensation. Figure 1 2. you should be able to be able to choose between 1/3 and 1/2 stop increments (See Figure 1). Commonly known as “blinkies.

. after a pause. it still does it with enough of a bang that it actually shakes the camera body. 4 . Mirror Lockup. well. This allows the camera to settle down and for the vibration to disappear before taking the picture (Figure 4). it’s in the shadows! 5. At the moment you press the shutter. This is possible because of a series of mirrors built into the chamber of the camera. Long Exposure Noise Reduction. It requires you to press the shutter twice. because. This is most evident in the shutter speed ranges between 1/4 seconds and 1/30 seconds. the process of flipping the mirror is segregated from the exposure of the sensor to the scene. Although the mechanism flipping the mirror up has been refined. to take the picture. Used for exposures longer than 3 seconds. This vibration will slightly soften any image. The critical mirror is one sitting in a 45 degree angle in the lens opening that reflects the image into the top of the camera. Once the photo is taken. At the moment you press the shutter. the mirror instantaneously flips up to expose the view to the sensor. the mirror returns to its original position. the image will be softened by the noise reduction. Of course. in the shadows. once to flip the mirror up and lock it open and a second time.Figure 3 Figure 4 4. yet who cares.. This is an extremely effective way to take noise out of the shadows. A single reflex camera allows you to see what the lens sees by looking through the viewfinder. The dark-frame image only contains the noise/hot pixel data. The camera uses this data to subtract these imperfections from the actual exposure. particularly one with fine detail or one taken with either a telephoto or macro lens. Mirror Lockup keeps the mirror in its original position while you preview and compose the scene. this feature takes a simultaneous second "dark frame" exposure as it shoots the "real" exposure.

8. even though cropped sensor cameras such as the Canon 50D and Nikon’s D90 are often listed as top cameras for Arch/Lan photography. It also prevents your glasses from getting scratched. In my opinion. Combined with mirror lock-up. Remote Switch Terminal. Cameras generally do not come with this focusing screen already built in to the viewfinder. most of us. Tethered or Wireless Shooting. Viewfinder Diopter Adjustment. also known as a shutter cable release to the camera (see Figure 5). 9. composition. 5 . 7. as well as precise focus. some level of compensation or compromise will enter into the equation because of the limited selection of lenses available. Photo magazines and numerous web sites periodically provide updated lists of the best cameras for Arch/Lan photography. Although not a “must have. if not all. this adjustment allows for precise diopter alignment so that you can clearly see if the image is in focus and composed properly without the aid of glasses. you should have the ability to add it either through a menu on a DSLR or by adding a new focusing screen. without 20:20 vision. Table 1 (on the next page) is a list of currently available 35mm full frame sensor cameras I believe provide the potential to create outstanding images without compensation or compromise. However. You should be able to attach a remote switch. This allows you to preview shots to examine them for exposure.6. See the next section entitled Lenses. it gives them an opportunity to evaluate and sign off on the image immediately as you’re shooting. For those of us. of the features listed here. If you’re shooting with a client present. The purpose of the grid is to help you properly line up vertical and horizontal features.” your camera should have the ability to shoot while connected to a computer or other display (see Figure 5). Figure 5 Many cameras have most. this feature allows you to press the shutter without touching the camera adding another level of insurance to keeping the camera from shaking. Focusing Screen with a Grid.

In other words.0 where Arch/Lan photography is concerned.8 is considered twice as fast as an f/4. A smaller maximum aperture might be f/5.399 Lenses.0 at a street price of $1249 is vastly superior to Canon’s 28-135mm f/3. a zoom lens is expressed.1 12.115 $5. the better the lens.000. Some premium quality lenses are now available with maximum apertures of f/1.6. the higher the price. the Canon 24-105mm f/4. the lens rated at f/2. Moreover.6 which can be purchased for approximately $480. An example of a prime lens is a 50mm. Typically.5-5. have greater clarity.8. 1. Zoom lenses having the same maximum aperture throughout the zoom are better than zoom lenses having a graduated maximum aperture.499 $6.1 21. 4. 6 .699 $2. as 24-75mm. For example. A lens with a large maximum aperture would be f/2. Basic Truths.1 Crop Factor Full Frame Full Frame Full Frame Full Frame Full Frame Street Price $7. Lenses with a large maximum aperture are better than ones with smaller maximum apertures.6 is considered inferior to the Canon 24-105mm f/4.0 lens.Camera Brand/Model Nikon D3x Canon 1DS Mark III Nikon D3S Canon 5D Mark II Nikon D700 Table 1 Megapixels 24.5 21. and produce less aberration and flare.1 12.119 $2. for example. 2.5-5.0. a lens such as the Canon® 28-135mm f/3. 3. Prime lenses or fixed focal length lenses produce better quality images than zoom lenses because they are sharper. Optimum lenses for Arch/ Lan are almost always over $1.

this diffraction. this might be difficult or impossible.6x. commonly known as a cropped sensor. common in Arch/Lan photography. In my opinion. Manufacturers try to overcome these flaws by using different types of glass as well as different coatings. Moreover.5x or 1. Nikon only offers 3 superior quality APS-C lenses (designated as DX lenses) and Canon only 2 APS-C lenses suitable for Arch/Lan photography. If you’re in a small room. A full size sensor matched with a full frame lens encompasses most of the image circle and is equal to the size of a 35mm frame. the fuzzier the image will be. To evaluate the quality of a lens use the scales designed to reveal its imperfections. may make those details look fuzzy.3x. In the landscape. are less effective when used with an APS-C camera. In this scenario. if other factors impact sharpness. The crop factor occurs when an APS-C camera is matched with a full frame lens. The DX format. however. At times. Canon now offers an additional APS-H sensor with a crop/telescopic factor of 1. Thus a 24mm lens view.6x crop factor. building. the further back you move. the view has a telescopic effect of 50-60%. mountain. content details get smaller and. or meadow into the image. so many steps back may put you over the edge of a cliff or behind a tree. These are shown in the way colors of light are separated when they pass through the layers of lens glass. while Canon’s APS-C sensors result in a crop/telescopic factor of 1. The more they’re separated. effectively cropping out a big chunk of the image. Other manufacturers’ APS-C sensors generate either a 1. Furthermore. becomes a 35-38mm view. a critical lens for Arch/Lan photographers. occurs differently in the center of the image than it does at the edges or corners of the image. results in a telescopic effect. The major camera makers and independent lens manufacturers have created a series of lenses to address this issue and eliminate the crop factor. or light ray separation. Arch/Lan photographers utilize wide angle lenses to achieve the widest angle of view possible in order to get as much of the room. An MTF (Modulation Transfer Function) chart is developed by shooting a picture of an industry 7 . Lens Quality. We compensate by moving back and recomposing.5x. This makes using a cropped sensor camera a deal breaker for many Arch/Lan photographers. Nikon’s APS-C sensor has a crop/telescopic factor of 1. In general. moving back may put you against or through a wall.Sensor Size as it Relates to Lens Choices. Tilt/shift lenses.

” The “X” axis measures the distance from the center of the lens “0” to the outer edge (the widest focal length measurement of the lens). I would welcome you to examine these MTF charts (Figure 6) until you’re blue in the face and I’ll guarantee that when you respond to the question. a difference of 33%. most lenses.accepted target and measuring the degree of lens sharpness from the center of the image to the edge. Look at the lens! For example. Remove the lens cap and we see the front lens opening covers Figure 6 considerably more real estate. “Maybe!” An MTF (Modulation Transfer Function) chart is developed by shooting a picture of an industry accepted target and measuring the degree of lens sharpness from the center of the image to the edge. In a nutshell. are quite sharp at the center. The above MTF chart is for a Canon® 18-200 f/3. an f/1. The chart below is for a Canon® 24-70 f/2. While the point at which the image begins to degrade varies considerably.6 zoom lens that sells for a street price of $595. There is an easier.8 lens to a 50mm f/ 1.2 lens is going to be exponentially better. only the best lenses have a high degree of sharpness at the edges and the corners.2 lens. when comparing a 50mm f/1. “Do you know which lens is better than the other?” you’ll respond with a resounding. even the least expensive.8 zoom lens with a street price of $1359. the f/1.8 lens has a 58mm opening. Open the lens back to examine the glass providing the final delivery of the image to the sensor. although less scientific method.2 lens has a 77mm opening and an f/1. Zoom lenses provide an even more dramatic difference.5f/5. 8 .2 lens we observe right away the f/1. of evaluating lens quality without a chart or a test shot.2 lens is significantly larger and heavier.8 lens opening is about one-half the size of the f/1. Just in terms of pure real estate and the amount of glass available to keep those light rays together. We notice the f/1. The “Y” axis represents the measure of contrast and sharpness from “0” to a perfect “1.

One accomplished architectural photographer said more than 75% of all of his images were taken with a 24mm lens. Very few photographers carry all of these lenses at any given time.8 Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.499 $1.8G Nikkor 14mm f2.799 $1.8D Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.499 $1.8D Fisheye AF Nikkor 16mm f/2. The following list (Table 2) of top Canon® and Nikon® lenses is indicative of the types of lenses many Arch/Lan photographers carry.279 $729 $649 Top Nikon Lenses PC-E Nikkor 24mm f/ 3.599 $1.2L EF 16-35mm f/2.8L EF 17-40mm /f4L Fisheye EF 15mm f/2.8D Street Price $1.199 $2. the image becomes more interesting depending on the quality of the foreground elements.8 Table 2 9 Street Price $2. Tamron®. and Tokina®. moreover some might substitute name brand lenses with excellent alternatives from third party manufacturers such as Sigma®.Focal Length. Compositionally.789 $1. I call this “building foreground” and it’s a mantra I often repeat to myself when I’m deciding where to shoot from.799 $1. Although a basic tenet of composition is to create an image with a dominant center of interest (one thing). Informal surveys reveal a large majority of Arch/Lan photographers shoot more than 90% of the images with lenses having a focal length of 50mm or less. Below 50mm. A wide angle lens compels you to bring detail elements close to the lens while background elements recede.5L II TiltShift TS-E 17mm f/4L Tilt-Shift EF 50mm f/1. some photographers say that 90% of their images are created between 24mm and 35mm.5D Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.764 $929 . there is also a desire to show detail in both the foreground and background of the image. Top Canon Lenses TS-E 24mm f/3. The reason why most Arch/Lan photographers default to wide angle lenses is because of the relationship between composition and content.989 $1.8L II EF 24-70mm f/2.

It is also evident when a wall running parallel to the sensor plane appears to be fall off at some other angle. If the camera is tilted up. When the camera is level. you can extend the angle of view and make the image larger by creating a panoramic or a vectorama (vertical panoramic). the photographer can eliminate the foreground and add the top of the building into the scene (Figure 8). the image may suffer from the keystone effect where the top of the building appears to be falling away (Figure 9). This is done by shooting multiple exposures across a scene and merging them in post processing. Second. 10 . First. the first adjustment. Distortion appears when the camera’s sensor (or film) plane is no longer parallel to the plane of the subject. is to correct distortion (known as convergence or keystoning) from the camera’s position in relation to the view. its position is close enough to the building and the building is tall enough so that the view captured includes a large amount of area in front of the building and the top of the building is clipped off (Figure 7. The Canon TS-E II lenses now allow you to rotate this function regardless as to whether the camera is mounted horizontally or vertically. as an example. is useful in two ways. a must have accessory according to many Arch/Lan photographers. Let’s say a camera is located in front of a building. Architects. because the image circle of a tilt/shift lens is considerably larger than a lens of similar maximum aperture. This gives the user the flexibility to tilt and shift the lens independently as we once did on a view camera. The modern day tilt/shift lens provides the contemporary Arch/Lan photographer with the benefits of the view camera once considered essential equipment by the best (or most!) Arch/Lan photographers. next page). it allows the photographer to change the perspective by either raising or lowering the view or by moving it side-to-side without moving the camera. are quick to point out the flaw in an image if they see straight lines bending or curving. The tilt/shift lens is manufactured to create an independence between the camera body and film/ sensor plane. The purpose of this specialty lens. Unless the photographer is after an artistic/impressionistic view of the building. this is not how they designed the building. The result shows up when a building appears to fall away or bend. We correct the issue by either tilting or shifting the lens to eliminate the distortion. Shift. the client will be unhappy. Shift corrects this distortion.Tilt/Shift Lenses. By shifting up or down.

Contrast added with Nik Color Efex Pro 3. 11 Figure 9 .Figure 7 Figure 8 All three (Figures 7 to 9) images were taken with the camera in the same position. Workflow RAW images processed through Adobe Lightroom® and exported to Photomatix Pro® as 16 bit Tif images. ISO 100. shot at f/16. Canon 24mm TS-E II lens. Horizontal and vertical lines have been added added and placed against a key vertical line of the building to prove it was straight in the first 2 examples and how much the building falls back in the third example.0® using Pro Contrast. Tonemapping in Photomatix Pro® was accomplished with the Details Enhancer method basically at default settings with Saturation and Warmth settings moved up slightly. Exported to Photoshop®. The camera was completely level in Figures 7 and 8 and was tipped up in Figure 9. 1/8. Four separate exposures were shot of each image at 1/30. How I Did It Shooting Canon 5DMII. and 1/4. shot on a tripod. 1/125. manual focus.

This becomes a valuable feature when the photographer wants to bring foreground elements into sharp focus that would otherwise be out of focus without stopping down to decrease the camera’s aperture thereby extending the Depth of Field (Figure 10). The image on the right has horizontal Tilt applied in order to bring the weathered brick wall and the windows on the right into sharper focus. Three separate exposures were shot of each image at 1.0® using Pro Contrast. Workflow RAW images processed through Adobe Lightroom® and exported to Photomatix Pro® as 16 bit Tif images. the corresponding shutter speed would be too slow to prevent the flowers from blurring. Canon® 24mm TS-E II lens. manual focus. Figure 10 12 . If the image is shot stopped down to extend the Depth of Field. shot on a tripod. 1/3 seconds.5 seconds. Tilt essentially changes the plane of focus from one with perpendicular borders to one shaped like a cone. and 6 seconds. It is almost (but not exactly) like adding Depth of Field. Curves applied to brighten the ceiling slightly and Unsharp Mask to sharpen the image. How I Did It Shooting Canon® 5DMII.Tilt works differently. It allows the photographer to place the sensor plane so everything in that plane can be brought into focus. Exported to Photoshop®. shot at f/16. The close-ups were taken from the metered image to avoid any possible distortion that could take place in post-processing. ISO 100. If the aperture is opened up to increase the shutter speed. Another example is when a composition includes foreground flowers in somewhat breezy conditions that cause the flowers to move. Foliage effect was used to brighten just the green plants. the flowers will be out of focus. The result is the foreground flowers can be brought into focus. The image on the left has Shift applied. Tonemapping in Photomatix Pro® was accomplished with the Details Enhancer method basically at default settings with Luminosity and White Point moved up slightly. Contrast added with Nik Color Efex Pro 3.

This design allows you to precisely control how far you want to extend the center column without it slipping or jumping during adjustment (Figure 11). Moreover. 2. 3. If portability is a consideration. 13 . you’d have to try to stabilize the tripod legs with sandbags.Geared center column. Many tripod models will use a plastic center column which is almost useless as a sole support. Hear me now! NO Lan/Arch image taken handheld will hold up to close examination nor will it be publishable at any size larger than a thumbnail without exhibiting softness. In that case. the choice is aluminum because it is strong and relatively light weight. you can look through the camera’s viewfinder at eye level without extending the center column. this is possible but only after compensating by significantly opening up the aperture. or. and throwing a significant part of the foreground and background out of focus. yet it’s not very good.Tripods and Tripod Heads. according to many experts. If you have to carry sandbags. A tripod providing the solid. it is a pain to carry. The tripod should be long enough so that when its legs are extended. platform is mission critical to creating top quality Arch/Lan images. must be taken at 1/250 seconds or faster to be considered sharp. movement free.Material. Important Features. 1. the camera is essentially sitting on a monopod which can cause a deterioration of stability. most often I hear the excuse that they own one. I am stunned when I come across an Arch/Lan photographer who works without a tripod. Once the center column is extended. Naturally. thus decreasing the Depth of Field. When asked. Essentially. The only negative is where wind might have an impact on stability. carbon fiber is a good choice because it is light weight and almost as sturdy as aluminum. any image taken slower than 1/160 seconds will have some camera shake and. it negates the light weight advantage of the carbon fiber construction. the center column should also be composed of aluminum. If the primary goal is stability and nothing else. Length.

they basically double the rigidity of each leg to minimize bowing or leg vibration. 7. This accessory. Not an absolute requirement. for example. There are multiple ways to make sure your camera is level but making sure the tripod is level at its base makes the rest of the leveling easier and more effective (Figure 13). the tripod I use allows for independent leg adjustments from levers located on the tripod base. when you are shooting in rough terrain where it is either clumsy or dangerous to continually adjust the legs. The tripod legs should be rated to support about two times the weight of your camera and heaviest lens. this accessory is useful for making minute adjustments without having to fuss with the tripod legs themselves. Bubble level. attached between the tripod base and the head itself. 6. First. Mid-level support. they provide a base level of support for the center column.Figure 11 Figure 12 4. this means the tripod should be rated to carry about 20 pounds or more. Figure 13 14 . These supports run from from the mid-level of each leg to the bottom of the center post and provide two benefits (Figure 12). but highly recommended.Weight support. It is particularly helpful. allows you to level the camera without leveling the legs. Leveling Head. 5. For most 35mm cameras. Secondly. As an alternate. At just under $100.

Tripod heads. Gobos can be purchased that attach to the camera. up and down. Invisible flare has the effect of softening your entire image. This usually comes with the lens. I will often use the non-reflective black foam that divides sections in my camera bag. The quick release feature allows you to quickly and safely drop the camera down on the head and have it securely snap or click into a locked position. Both types are difficult to remove in post-processing. 3251) tripod with the Manfrotto by Bogen 229 Super Pro Head (a. If you buy a used one and it comes without a hood. The visible flare will degrade the quality of your image unless you like the effect.a. It seems. are very susceptible to flare. that Bogen/Manfrotto and Gitzo (coincidentally sharing the same ownership) have the most to offer. rotated side to side. Surveys of Arch/Lan photographers reveal most use one of these brands.k. Grip action tripod heads are appealing to many photographers because they are user friendly and the pistol grip control feels so natural. If you suspect you may have a light source such as an overhead light creating flare. Many of the major camera support makers produce tripods and heads with the features I’m recommending.a. either turn it off or use a gobo. particularly 24mm and wider. Regrettably. they are only suited for light weight camera/lens combinations. random light can come from unexpected directions and create visible as well as invisible flare. Regardless of which type you choose. 3039). get one. Ball heads are a viable alternative to a 3-way head. 15 . and have only seen the flare appear on my 24 inch monitor. however. I just hold it next to the lens while I am shooting. you may misalign another aspect. Other Important Accessories Lens Hood. I’ve shot with those lenses. In the process of trying to make that adjustment. It’s important to use the lens hood ALL the time. Wide angle lenses. My first choice is a 3-way tripod head. Also known as a lens shade. lens. Even when you shoot indoors or on a cloudy day. and angled. Their advantage (and I would also say disadvantage) is they allow you to adjust all aspects of alignment simultaneously in one motion.k. A gobo is any material that goes between the lens and the infringing light source. This type of head should have the capability to be adjusted three different ways independently. The disadvantage is that you may only want to adjust one aspect of alignment. or tripod. I use the Manfrotto by Bogen 058B (a. pay attention to the weight limits of the head. It should have it own set of bubble levels and have a quick release feature. not detected any flare when reviewing images in the camera’s LCD display.

If you shoot with Auto Exposure Bracketing and the Mirror-Up. When shooting in Bulb mode for long exposures. Sometimes the receiver has to sit on the camera’s hot shoe which can effectively render the next item unusable. 2. Depending on how tall you are (I’m short). This cable. 3-Step ladder. 3-axis bubble levels are also available which don’t have to be rotated. Because they use an infrared signal. Other pieces of equipment you should have with you: 1. Wireless or remote cable releases are available. Without it. Even if you have a steady hand. even your pulse or the pressure you put on the shutter can cause enough vibration to soften the image. It usually can be rotated from horizontal to vertical depending on the camera position. you have to use your finger to depress the shutter. Figure 15 And Briefly. This simple. I once had my camera’s 16 . It could be tragic if you’re caught on location with a dying battery and no back-up. when attached to the remote switch terminal of your camera allows you to depress the shutter without touching the camera (Figure 14). you can usually lock the shutter open with the shutter cable release.Shutter Release Cable. Hot Shoe Bubble Level. you will have to press the shutter for each of the three exposures in a sequence (more Figure 14 about this in “Shooting Techniques”). Extra charged battery and battery charger. Extra memory cards. inexpensive plastic piece of equipment is the final check to be sure the camera and lens are level (Figure 15). 3. you may need it if you have to extend the tripod as high as it will go. they may not work if the area around the camera is too bright. They’re usually more expensive and aren’t as reliable.

and Lee® will not degrade the image. They effectively darken all or part of the lens opening. Not to be confused with a tele-extender. you may experience flare or vignetting. it’s not feasible to shoot tethered to a lap-top. Tiffen®. 6. 5. c. b. Neutral density filters are possibly the most useful filters to own. Lap-top computer. Sometimes. a modest extension tube extends the focal length of specific lenses allowing us to get closer to the subject with marginal loss of aperture. Cables to connect your camera to your lap-top.battery “fried” by exposure to below-zero temperatures and I was nearly 150 miles away from another battery. This type of filter removes ultraviolet rays and reduces glare from unwanted sources such as glass and water. I immediately download cards to it during or immediately after a shoot. 8. 7. The display is also handy for viewing images for composition and content. 12mm extension tube. This is particularly true when you use a wide angle lens. White Balance target. I try to keep original images on it for a month acting as a redundant back-up to my studio and off-site storage media. For the purposes of this article. 9. There are several white balance targets on the market as well as the Expodisc® that fits on the front of the lens. Hoya®. Flare results in either apparent or invisible haze which can soften the entire image. B+W®. UV-Haze filters are essentially a clear piece of glass put over the face of the lens to protect the primary piece of glass from getting scratched. I use the Epson P-5000 which also features a 4-inch display. you have a choice of either using a polarizing filter or apply software plug-ins to emulate the effect. a. many people default to buying the cheapest one they can. Be aware. filters which screw on to the front of a lens can cause flare. 4. Filters. External portable storage. Because they are clear. don’t skimp here. Like a lens. For shooting tethered. Even though they are more expensive. Polarizing filters. I always have an 80 gigabyte hard drive with me. Today. It made for a short day. If the filter is not larger than the barrel size of the lens. depending on the type 17 . let it be said that you should have one available. Vignetting cuts into the apparent image circle which is fixed only by cropping.

A good application of a neutral density filter would be where you want to slow down the exposure of a scene enough to make running water blur.9) get. Have it available if you finish shooting after dark or start shooting before sunrise so you can check your bubble levels and see into your camera bag..k. leaving the rest untouched. 2-stop (a.a.k.6).a. or gel material. Depth of Field calculator.k. 14. Then.. 10. 15. Conclusion Equipment decisions may seem impossibly complicated and filled with hazards of buying the wrong thing. and what you can afford. Tape measure. I carry a tiny LED light that I can clip onto my camera bag. Multi-tool. Lens cleaning cloth. the best is yet to come! What can we do today in light of what will be available in the near future? Simply make the best decisions you can today based on what you know. as every piece of equipment you bought gives us with the potential to learn as long as we possess the will to work at it.3). 11. . they can be rotated into the part of the scene you want to darken. go out and stretch your equipment to 120% of its capability. Case in point: many photographers today tell us lenses available today represent an order of magnitude leap in optic technology design and performance. Generally available in 1-stop (a. 12. or 3stop (a. 13. the best filters are usually graduated from darker neutral density material to clear. plastic. Flashlight. If you get them in rectangular sheets made of glass. Not really. Even better. . what you need. Technology is driving the rapid evolution of DSLR’s and optics. 18 . .a. Sensor cleaning equipment. Tripods: http://reviews.html MTF Charts: to learn more? Sources of information for this article include: On Line: Tilt/Shift lenses: http://www.htm act=ProductCatIndexAct&fcategoryid=150 Camera/Lens Pricing: 19 .com/blog/canon-tilt-shift-lens-demo-video/ http://www.

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