You Need the Right Gear
A lot of photographers (myself included) talk about how the most important factor in getting a top-notch shot is you and not your gear.
However, though that might be the case, it still really helps a lot if you bring along some gear that will make better shots more likely.
This includes a solid tripod, preferably with features like a center column hook, integrated bubble level, and metal foot spikes that help you stabilize the tripod, even on rough terrain.
The Sirui W-1004 shown above and below fits the bill beautifully.
Not only does this tripod have the features I listed above, but it also has a waterproof design for those days when it’s rainy or snowy out.
Additionally, this tripod has a built-in monopod so when you need to work fast and light, you’ve still got something to give your camera the stability it needs to get a crisp, sharp photo.
With automatic leg locks, variable leg lock positions, and split center column, tripods like this one give you everything you need to make better landscape photos more likely.
Another critical piece of kit you need to maximize your ability to get breathtaking landscape photos is a set of good filters.
Filters fell out of vogue a few years back with many photographers because they thought “why can’t I use filters in Photoshop?”
Though you can mimic the effect that filters have on your images by using Photoshop, if you ask me, it’s just not as good of quality as you can get when you use real filters in the field.
There are several must-have filters for landscape photographers.
First, you need a polarizing filter, which, among other things, reduces glare off non-metallic surfaces like water, as shown above.
Next, you need a graduated neutral density filter, which is dark on the top and light on the bottom. This helps reduce the brightness of the sky while leaving the darker landscape alone. The result is an image that has a much more even look to it and a controlled dynamic range.
Lastly, a neutral density filter is a must-have if you want to take on long exposure photography during the day.
These filters have a consistent level of light-blocking power, which enables you to extend your shutter speed to blur movement of features like rivers and clouds.