Taking up photography as a hobby or as a profession usually requires the collection of numerous photography gadgets. However, when it comes to Nature Photography, there are certain things you should consider taking with you, outside the realm of gadgets. If you’re going to be out in Nature, where things are unexpected, there are 9 items, plus the camera and the tripod, which every nature photographer should have at hand when out and about.
Photo by Mark1960
1. Trash Bag: You never know when an unexpected downpour can happen. So, in order to keep you and your entire equipment out of the rain, bringing a large plastic item along, such as a trash bag, is an excellent idea. Furthermore, trash bags are extremely light and can be compacted down in order not to take up much room in your bag. A trash bag is also cheap and doesn’t require any technical adjustments. Just slide it over and wait for the rain to stop.
Photo by Hidden-Target
2. Quality Clothing and Water-Resistant Boots: Often times, people will find extreme weather conditions to be a perfect time to take photographs so you need to be prepared with the right type of clothing for those conditions. If you’re shooting somewhere cold, take the necessary precautions and buy the right type of clothing that will keep you warm and dry. On the other hand, if you’re shooting somewhere hot with a lot of sun exposure, sun screen, possibly long sleeves to protect yourself from sunburns, sunglasses and a hat are all very good ideas. Another idea, if you think it may rain, taking rubber boots or some form of water resistant shoes is to be considered. Most of the time, people who are going to be outside for a long amount of time, need to be able to withstand whatever conditions are happening to get the best photos. Standing in wet shoes for 8 hours is a terrible situation.
Photo by Tom Montgomery
3. A head lamp: Not only is a head lamp and/or flash light a good idea, in case it gets dark, but also because you don’t know what you’re going to come into contact with when you’re out in the wild. Most nature photographers by profession hike in the dark either before the sun has risen or after it has set, so you need to be able to see where you’re going. Furthermore, your photographic interests may take you to places like a cave, and without a light, you may miss a photograph of a lifetime. Additionally, a flash light or head lamp can be used as a light source for your photos to sustitute an external flash.
Photo by P0RG
4. Extra batteries: I cannot stress this more, even for a wedding or portrait photographer, you must have extra batteries. However, in Nature Photography, it is extremely critical to make sure you have a back up, or even several backups. You don’t know exactly how long you might be staying, and you don’t want to miss any photo opportunities due to a lack in battery power.
Photo by Gilad
5. Repair kit: Sometimes, just like the weather, the unexpected can occur. If you’ve hiked a long way to get to that perfect spot for your photographs and by accident, you dropped your camera, you need a repair kit with you to get you through the rest of the day. It may also be a good suggestion to bring a hex key and some extra sockets for your tripod for any unexpected issues.
Photo by Goodwolf
6. Bug Spray: Even though bug spray may seem like common sense, it is quite often overlooked and photographers will say, “I wish I would have brought some bug spray!” Since you’re going to be outdoors, and if it is the right season, bringing bug spray will help alleviate any annoying bug biting problems.
Photo by Bull04
7. A compass: A compass isn’t always necessary to use, but it can come in handy especially if you find yourself in some foreign territory. Additionally, not only is a compass great for getting you out of a lost situation, they are very handy to know where the sun will rise and set so you can better formulate where to take your photos from.
Photo by Reality Dream
8. Alarm watch: An alarmwatch is a very good item to bring on your nature photography excursion for several reasons. For example, you may want to know how long it takes to get back down to your car so you know when you should leave or you may want to know when the sun will set or rise in order to have ample time to set up your tripod.
Photo by Vincentfavre
9. Toilet Paper: As funny as this suggestion may seem, it’s essential if you’re going to be outdoors for a lengthy amount of time. Nature has yet to install bathrooms for civilians, so a nearby bush is your only option. Furthermore, you don’t want to be out there without a way to “clean up” with nature calls.
Photo by Kkart
All of these items can be quite useful when performing nature photography. In your experience, what have you found to be essential for nature photographers to bring when they are going to be out in the wild all day?
If you have more essential items to share with us, we’d love to read them in comments below.