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  • Chris Nowell

Landscape photography

Whatever it may be, it is the human eye which initially sees the potential and our brain also creates the photo in our mind.

Therefore I wanted to have a quick look at some of the gear I use for my landscape photography. Knowing that it could potentially advise or helping someone else, especially someone at the beginning of the landscape photography journey.

Let's begin with one huge piece of landscape photography equipment and of course the most important is the camera however for me the tripod is actually set up before the camera. Composing the image can only happen after the tripod is also composed whether you later on move it or not to further find a proper composition it is always a good idea to set up the tripod before just taking a photo.

Temperature inversion at dawn
Dawn in the Peak District National Park

As a Vanguard ambassador I am proud to use a range of Vanguard tripods bags and accessories. New to the Vanguard range is the VEO 3+ set of tripods available in aluminium and carbon fibre there is a tripod to suit most needs.

A castle in the distance

If we think back ever so slightly at the line the fundamentals of landscape photography. Step one of this is the brain picturing in the mind what can be achieved. For most people this is whilst standing at your head height which most of the time is pretty much the same height as your tripod. Of course this does not always work if you're trying to get low or photographing some macro images however most of the time your tripod is that a standard high standing height therefore it makes sense to set out the tripod first compose through your mind and the rest will follow shortly. Nine times out of 10 for me I even want my tripod to be even higher which is why things like drones can be a huge amount of help.

Of course there are also different types of tripods available mini ones tall ones tripods that have funny shapes and can grab onto an object for stabilisation. Perhaps you are someone who uses a beanbag or your stable enough to not even need to try and put in the first place which I still would always recommend especially with low light conditions but however you make it work I would always highly recommend some sort of aid for stabilisation and for me Vanguard tripod helps me achieve that.

Please click on the photo below if you would want to learn more information about any Vanguard tripods or accessories as this will take you to the Vanguard photo UK website. Here you can see the tripods I use the bags are use and much more.

Camera Bag

Again the importance of a good CameraBag cannot be underestimated. I am not saying you have to buy a Vanguard bag or rucksack I am just saying that I've dropped my bag many times and watched it roll down very high hills and everything as always stayed safe and protected. It is not hugely important to have to spend hundreds of pounds on a camera bag however one with a good level of protection is needed. The majority of camera bags should hold decent padding within the bank and most times this pattern with Velcro straps can be removed or reshaped. At the end of the day there's no point spending all that money on camera and lenses when it could easily fall down a hill crack your glass and just be a very expensive morning out. Therefore why not invest on a bag which could potentially protect your gear and hopefully last few years.

Waterproofing and splash covers are very important although not telling a lie I take mine out just as they're quite bulky otherwise. When buying a camera bag it's important to think about if you want rear or side access or both. How does the bag feel on your back if you're going to be out for a full day of landscape photography the last thing you want is rubbing on your shoulders or hips. Therefore I highly recommend trying a bag on before you buy it.

One of the more modern bags available from Vanguard photo UK is this the Vanguard VEO Active 46. The look of the bag is by far my favourite of all Vanguard bags. Everyone who knows me knows I am happy out in the Peak District with nature and the great outdoors dressed in green, whether that be combat trousers or just a good walking pair of trousers and a buffalo style shirt/jacket in green I am happy and at my best. Therefore when this new bag was available from Vanguard I was very excited however just a note it is also available in a grey/ Black colouring and available in a few number of sizes. Initially I wasn't over the moon the fact it had no side access to easily get to the camera equipment. However this was a silly idea anyway in my thought process because I never take a photo whilst holding my bag on one arm anyway. It's always good to put your camera down in a dry safe spot almost pacifically put the bag down therefore there's no need for me to have side access instead rear access which is what this bag of us has worked incredibly well for a long time now. Making this by far my favourite of all Vanguard bags.

Same as before, clicking on the photo above with Vanguard will direct you to the website and more specifically the bag area

Fujifilm XT3

Using a mirrorless camera is something I put off for a long long time. I understood the benefits already however I was too reluctant to say goodbye to the old digital SLR which had served me very well. I already understood the benefits such as keeping the weight down and a more realistic image whilst composing on the back of the digital screen or display, and the very big one focus peaking which on reflection has been a game changer with my site limitations. In the end however it was a slight accident that caused some damage to the old workhorse of a camera waste forced me into researching for the mirrorless market.

My first camera when I was injured back in 2007 was actually a Fuji film bridge camera. It served me very well when I was getting into my photography however by the time I knew landscape photography was my journey I wanted a bit more for the future. Which is why I happily used the Canon 5D Mark three for many years. However I did not take long for my interest to look towards the Fuji film XT 3 and as I mentioned when I had that damage caused to my camera it was the obvious choice after 10 years of Canon. I instantly loved using this camera from Fuji. The focus peaking element made everything so easy for me to fine-tune a sharp focus. The menu of the camera was so easy to navigate due to the clever design and it did not take long for me to familiarise myself with shortcuts to help me on my way. The incredible low weight of the camera makes long journeys or wild camping in the Peak District that little bit more easier with it being under 900 g. Apart from the hope of one day owning a Fuji film GFX which goes back to a larger camera again I cannot see me ever switching away from Fuji again it is a pleasure to use for my landscape photography.


more recently I thought why should I limit myself, yes I am registered blind and yes with that comes a whole new set of obstacles when it comes to flying a drone. However it's not video that I'm really interested in, instead it is the more different compositions available. Being higher than my tripod will allow me to get for example. Potentially capturing an image above a low cloud inversion. These are the factors that led me to finally jumping in with both feet then finally purchasing the DjI mini 3. Overall this is a fantastic drone for me at the beginning of my journey to aircraft photography. Once I got past the initial fear and gained a bit of confidence I have really enjoyed thinking out of the box with my photography now it is available to me.

Potentially there are so many new compositions available with a drone. This can include returning back to some of my favourite hotspots for a whole new view or just thinking about something completely different. I believe the drone is allowed to fly at 500 m although I've adjusted mine to only 110 m just because there is no need at the moment to go any higher and I'm still a bit nervous with it. The functions such as return to home are a fantastic option for me. Plus spending some time researching on YouTube and in my own thought process over the last few months has really given me more confidence to enjoy some time out with the drone.

I look forward to more time with the drone over the next few years so watch this space in time I hope to have some good projects out with the drone. As I mentioned this is a photography aid for me and nothing else I cannot see myself doing much video with it just because I feel very uncomfortable chucking something in the air of such a value. However walking to a location calming down and taking my time to slowly get an aerial view for a photograph works perfectly.

Filter system

Firstly, what are filters and why are they used? When I first started taking photos filters were a option to protect your glass. You would use a cheap version of a filter which does not add any colour cast or polarisation and it would just stay on the lens to protect the glass in case you dropped or scratched your camera in anyway. It is only when you start researching on using lenses correctly, do you need more and understand how you can control the light with filters. Basically filters are the same as us using sunglasses. It is a good way to control the light from the Sun or slow things down and just add better colours. Therefore in the end hopefully not needing to do as much post processing. You can use the filters with the camera to try and get the best out of the image therefore not needing to spend as much time on the computer later on. For me these days this is a good thing because I really need to encourage myself to start post processing. I'm okay when I start and get into it, but realistically I like to have zero distractions so I can just concentrate on the job in hand.

there are a number of brands available now, creating good optical glass for your photography. I have been using kase filters for sometime now and because it is a winning team that works I can't see me ever using anything else. These filters offer much more than just a filter for your camera. They are also water and splash resistant, meaning the water practically slides off and they are also easy to clean. In a dusty environment. I have never experienced any scratches or issues from dirt and dust so it really is a winning team, which I am happy to stick with.

I was very happy using the order larger systems of Kase filters but at the same time I knew no different however there's no denying they are strong and they work very well. More recently however with the option of the new colour-coded revolution magnetic filters it was a game changer that I didn't even know I needed. These newer filters are smaller and the weight is practically nothing which is ideal for landscape photography. Each filter has its own colour which is good to identify the right one for the job. For example the white code filter is the job for the polariser and the red coloured filter is a 10 stop filter.

Same as before if you require any more information about these filters or would like to see for yourself check out the photo above which will direct you to the Kase filters UK website.

Realistically it is not long now until the photography show where you can visit the stands for everything I've talked about today and see if I yourself. March is only a few months around the corner so hopefully some of this today has helped you and if you much time you can see for yourself.

Cold weather gear

making this blog at the end of August into September which means autumn and winter are only around the corner. This is a great time to look at some of the clothing which helps us as landscape photographers battle the elements. The right gear cannot be underestimated after all if you are warm and dry and comfortable then you can concentrate properly grabbing the shot.

I am not someone who often wears a coat just because I find it quite distracting. Specially when you're walking for miles it's just one extra thing you have to carry and in the end feel too warm. Instead I like wearing something similar to the Buffalo systems which is an ex-military design of clothing designed to be worn on or just under the skin therefore the movement of your body is how the clothing gets its warmth and quick drying element. I've owned a buffalo shirt for over 20 years and although it still works perfectly of course it doesn't look as bright as it did but for 20 years that can be expected. More recently I came across another brand designing something practically the same and this was from a company called ridgeline. Very similar indeed to the Buffalo system therefore I would highly recommend checking out both companies for this sort of system.

Ridgeline also offer other types of outdoor clothing such as coats fleeces and Smocks. All of the items from ridgeline look and feel fantastic again it is what you expect as they are designed for the great outdoors. The company has a presence in the UK and New Zealand therefore you can check out the link below and see for yourself. However I've been using the ridgeline Buffalo style shirt for nearly 2 years now and it is my first obvious choice on those cooler mornings.

To go back ever so slightly to Buffalo one of the thing from Buffalo that I've used for many years now and I would highly recommend is the Buffalo mitts. Of course I need to take these off when I'm taking a photograph however that moment when your fingers start to go cool turn blue and you know it's getting cold. The second you put these back on it is a huge comfort because these mittens are outstanding and by far the best gloves I've owned.

Thank You

Anyway thank you for checking out my blog. I have been trying to tidy up my website for a bit which is why I deleted all the other content from the past and wanted to restart this page. I have a few better plans coming up soon and look forward to sharing this with you all soon.

Before I do go however I just want to quickly mention an exhibition I will be holding with a fellow landscape photographer in December. Both myself and Matt Oliver are very much looking forward to welcoming people to our exhibition which you can find at the Dronfield Hall barn between the 13th and 17th of December. There will be more information going soon however a look at the photograph below will also give you a heads up.



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