gear

A Match Made in Heaven, Part 2

In an earlier post I discussed the benefits of keeping your feet warm (or cool) and dry as an essential part of your foot care when hiking long distances. In this post we are going to address the next element in keeping your feet happy. While I have not historically been a big fan of boots, some locations require good ankle support and waterproofing. As I am known to do, I did some research and settled on the Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX Hiking Boot. 

That picture above is me, in Moab, during a long day in the desert. You'll recognize my People Socks and those are the boots. Tough, comfortable, stable, and they required very little 'break-in' time. In fact, I'd consider spending a long day with a new pair of boots to be risky behavior, but let me say that my feet faired very well with no blisters or rubbing. If lesser socks were worn, then maybe the boots wouldn't have been as comfortable, but like I said, these two items are a match made in heaven. As far as long term wear and durability, I'll have to keep you posted. These are headed to Iceland with me in just a few days. 

A Match Made in Heaven, Part 1

You have to pay attention to your feet when you find yourself on the road headed to a destination where walking (dare I say hiking) is in order. How you pay attention to your feet varies from person to person, but for me a good pair of socks is the beginning of the conversation. I searched high and low for socks that fit the bill when it comes to durability, dryness, comfort, and padding. What I found is certainly something worth writing about. I'm talking about People Socks people. Yep. You heard me. Based in Brooklyn, the socks are designed right in NY and manufactured in North Carolina.  Read about their story HERE.

I found these happy socks on Amazon and optimistically pulled the trigger on a 4-pack. Coming in at less than $10/pair is a good price for quality hiking socks. So how do they perform? Lets just say that I spent all day in near 100 degree heat out in Moab, Utah and my feet had never been happier. I'm headed to Iceland at the end of the week, so we will see how they perform in cooler conditions, but as for me and my feet, we are pretty stoked to be traveling with People Socks in our luggage. 

Essential Gear

Most landscape photographers will tell you that having an ND (neutral density) filter or two in your kit is an absolute necessity. There are many choices on the market, and it's often difficult to figure out what is what in the world of ND filters. So lets take a look at one of the better offerings and what exactly an ND filter allows a photographer to do. 

 

At the most fundamental, a neutral density filter reduces the amount of light hitting the sensor, causing shutter speeds to increase in proportion to the number of stops that the filter cuts out. There are graduated ND filters, which allow for selective adjustment of extremely high contrast scenes and result in a reduction of overall contrast in the final image. More recently variable ND filters have become more common. We will look at the Promaster variable ND filter with a range of ND3-ND400 which basically means an approximate 2 stop-8 stop reduction in exposure. Now to put some numbers to these values, if your measured shutter speed is 1/2000th, this filter could make your shutter speed as slow as 1/10th of a second. Additionally, if your shutter speed is 1 second, this filter could help you arrive at more than a 6 minute exposure at the same aperture! This is huge, when desiring to record fast moving water or slow moving clouds over a longer period of time. Having the flexibility to adjust the exposure by simply rotating the filter allows you to adapt quickly to changing light conditions and to create a wide range of images at a single location. 

When traveling in areas where running water is of photographic interest, definitely have one of these in your bag! 

UPDATE: In recent testing with a new ProMaster ND filter that I purchased to fit a new lens, I discovered that the copy I received was defective in construction. This issue caused a significant loss of sharpness in the resulting image. Make sure that you test your gear before hitting the road on your travels! I'm certainly glad I did. I'm working on an exchange now.