I rant and rave about the pitfalls of gear lust in our industry and how this expensive little vice can ruin a photographer’s creative spirit. Folks that hear me speak or attend my workshops get the same worn out lecture over and over (just ask Glenn).
However, to be a successful landscape photographer you really do have to invest in a sturdy but light-weight carbon-fiber tripod and a good quality ball head & clamp. This is the one area where you just can’t “go cheap” and get by on something less. And folks, this is going to set you back over $750. (Sorry Lesley, I just had to write this!)
I strongly urge you to buy a Gitzo carbon-fiber tripod and a Really Right Stuff ball head & clamp. Or if you’re feeling very generous, look at one of RRS’s brand new carbon-fiber tripods made in the USA. Either Gitzo or RRS gear will last a lifetime (or longer) and your back will thank you on every hike you make to capture those great landscape shots.
Getting a shot as sharp as the image below takes a rock-steady tripod. Hiking the miles it takes to find this type of location takes a strong back and a lot of stamina. Try lugging around a ten pound tripod and see how many of these shots you miss from sheer exhaustion. Do yourself and your craft a favor. Get yourself a carbon-fiber tripod!
By way of a disclaimer for the FTC, I have a very good relationship with both Gitzo and Really Right Stuff. I pay them for their fine products and they happily accept my money just as they do for thousands of other photographers. 😉