Forget the cameras, forget the lenses, polarizers, gradiated filters and tripods. Today's post is about ordinary things that every outdoor photographer needs in the field. If you fall into the group of landscape, travel, wildlife or macro photographers, who spend a lot of time in the great outdoors, you probably know, that there can always be something that prevents you to take photos you planned, forces you to think about other things and leads into the decision to come back next time, that time definitely more experienced and equipped.
10 things that every outdoor photographer needs in his backpack
1. The most important thing every outdoor photographer needs to have are good and sturdy hiking shoes. You can always find yourself in a situation, where you have to walk to the photo spot, and the shoes will give you suitable support. When you are walking around, you usually have to cross all sorts of traps (branches, roots, stones, mud etc.), even on the hiking trails. Make sure shoes have a good rubber outsole, preferably Vibram. I would definitely recommend waterproof shoes. With those you will not have problems standing in summer morning dew, and you will have no doubts to take a stunning image, even if that means standing in the middle of a waterstream.
Sometimes standing in the water gives you the best photo results.
2. When autumn and winter arrive to areas of continental climate we should use gloves when taking photographs in the morning and/or in the evening. Especially in the morning, which is usually the coldest part of the day, it is almost essential to wear them. Do not forget that tripods are often made of alluminium, so contact between tripod and your hand in cold temperatures can be quite painful. I prefer the gloves, which have holes for the fingers. With them you can easily manage your settings on the camera.
No more cold and I can still change my settings.
3. Waiting for the sunrise can be long and cold. Most of the people in the northern hemisphere prefer winter for taking sunrise photos, when they can avoid getting up in the middle of the night. Bad side of winter mornings is that it is often cold as hell. First, wear warm clothes, down jackets, hats and all other sorts of things. Second, try to use warmers. You can get them in almost every outdoor or sport shop. When you open them, they react with the air, and they will keep you warm for couple of hours. You can also get ones, which are powered by batteries, but remember - cold is the greatest enemy of the batteries.
Warmers are always useful.
4. Seat pad or mattress. Anytime you have to take a photograph, while you are sitting or lying on the ground, especially if it is wet or muddy - it will made your day. Definitely a must have for macro photography.
Not the dog, the mattress :)
5. Shower cap. It might sound funny, but taking shots of high waterfalls can turn into a real nightmare as soon as you get to close. The water mist is usually all around the scene and it makes the front of the lens blurry. We learned this trick from the famous Elia Locardi and tried it out ourselves. It works. Cover the lens with the cheapest shower cap you can get (one option is to get it in a hotel, normaly free of charge) and it will solve the problem. As they are transparent, you can position your shot and take down the cap just for setting the exposure and then again cover the lens.
Shower cap can be cheap and useful solution to prevent water mist traces on your lens.
6. Outdoor scarf. Scarf or balaclava is a very useful little thing. We prefer the sport scarfs that have many transformation options - a scarf, a hat, a band etc. You can use them to cover your nose, mouth and neck. It usually does a great job.
Siberian cheetah advises: Your body will appreciate some extra cold protection.
7. Extreme situations: Fishing boots. Disclamer: Valid only for extreme wildlife and macro photography lovers :) If you have to stand in the middle of the lake or pond get yourself a pair of high fishing boots.
Don't do this at home.
8. Microfibre lens cloth. Face it, your lens is always dirty. And in cases of photographing waterfalls or in strong wind, you will need to clean the front of the lens after every single shot. The cloth is something you do not want to leave out of your camera backpack.
Do not forget to check the front of your lens, especially while shooting at higher apertures.
9. Red jacket (not kidding). Landscape photography is amazing most of the time. But when you need to add something extra to your shot, make a selfie wearing a red jacket or ask a friend to do it for you. Red is a noticeable color and it pops out of the image. You can make already beautiful landscape photo even better, as the person on the photo gives the dimension to the whole scene. Ok, jacket of any other lively color will also do the job :)
The red jacket pops out and also shows the size of the main photo object.
10. Headlight. It is an all-around accessory. It illuminates your trail, helps you find the knobs for the settings on your camera, it is useful for short distance focusing, light painting and it can also be a good object for night or cave photography. Never leave your home without it and always have spare batteries for it with you, especially if you are photographing in the cold weather. We personally use Petzl's headlamps with high lumens or a very strong Fenix lamp.
Find your milky way