We asked Anne Archambault what she would like to add to her gear for landscape and travel photography. Here's what's on her wish list:
Canon Rebel XT Infrared Conversion
Landscape photographers have captured beautiful and sometimes eerie images with infrared film, but shooting with a digital camera often eliminates that possibility because the sensor is covered by a filter that blocks light in the infrared part of the spectrum. Archambault would like to have the Rebel XT she has been using as a backup body modified for infrared capture. LDP (a.k.a. maxmax) is a company that does infrared camera conversions on cameras that are sent in by customers, and also sells new cameras that have been modified for infrared capture.
About $950 for a new Canon Rebel XT converted for infrared capture; inquire about modification prices.
Singh-Ray Galen Rowell Graduated Filter
This color-neutral filter is dark on top and light on the bottom, allowing the photographer to get a good exposure of a landscape with a bright sky. "I often have high-contrast situations that are impossible to expose," says Archambault. "Being able to enhance the sky is very handy." The Singh-Ray graduated filter is available with different levels of contrast between top and bottom, and with hard and soft transitions between the two areas. To use this type of filter, you'll also need to pick up a Cokin P filter holder, which mounts on the lens.
This lightweight aluminum bracket sits between the camera and a tripod head, and allows the camera to be quickly turned 90 degrees when you're alternating between photographing landscapes and people. As Archambault explains, "If there is one drawback to using a ball head, it's that if you want to shoot portraits, you have to flip the ball head completely on its side. It's less stable and more awkward to move. By having the L-bracket, you make it really easy to switch between landscape and portrait -- and safer and more stable." Kirk L-brackets are compatible only with arca-style quick-release platforms, so make sure that the tripod head it will be used with has one before making a purchase. Kirk designs its L-brackets to work with specific camera models.
From about $80 to $180, depending on the camera model it's designed for.
Canon TC80N3 Timer Remote Control
If you were wondering how Archambault captured the image of star trails that's in her slideshow, here is part of the answer. She borrowed a TC80N3 from a friend in order to set up the timelapse series that she combined to create the image. In fact, that photo was made by merging 340 separate 8-second exposures. The TC80N3 attaches to compatible Canon digital SLRs with a 2.6-foot cord, and includes a self-timer, an interval timer, and a long-exposure timer "It's also just a great cable release," says Archambault. "I use mirror lockup with it and it's perfect."
Like most photographers, Archambault admits that she's "really paranoid about my data." She takes a laptop on trips to download her shots at the end of the day, but can't carry it with her when she's hiking with a backpack. "I occasionally go on multi-day treks," she says, "where carrying a laptop is out of the question." This portable storage device, on the other hand, would be a reasonable addition to her pack and would hold up to 80GB of image files. It also has a sharp 4-inch LCD for reviewing images. If you're buying a gift for a serious hiker, consider wrapping up a P-5000 with a solar charger (see John Hyde's wish list for a suggestion on that).
ThinkTank Photo Rotation 360
Archambault told us that she's on a quest to find the perfect camera backpack. She hasn't discovered it yet, but she thinks this one might be a good candidate. Her criteria: the bag has to be comfortable to carry all day when loaded with gear, and it should provide a quick and efficient way to get things out. The Rotation 360 may be unique in its ability to meet the latter criterion: It has a bottom section that can pull out and rotate around the waist while a person is wearing it, offering quick access to the camera inside, even in places where taking the backpack off isn't an option. The bottom section can also be used separately as a belt pack.
Read our Field Test of the Think Tank Rotation 360.