When you head out into the wilderness armed with a pro camera and big telephoto lens to tackle some awesome wildlife, landscape, and bird photography, you had best be sure to have the right accessories for your adventures! Let’s take a look at the best accessories for wildlife photography because—trust me—you don’t want to be the only photographer out there without a cool camouflage lens cover!
I’ve said it before and I am saying it again: the tripod is the single fastest way to improve image quality. You need a stable camera, sparkling optics, and good focus to get a sharp image, and the camera and lens can only help (image stabilization) with the stable part. Use a tripod to maximize your stability. Here are links to my articles on Recommended Full-Size Tripods, Recommended Travel Tripods (save some weight), and The Tripod Explained.
While it does not give as much stability as a tripod, the monopod does help reduce some camera movement and is great for keeping your rig flexible when the scene before you is action-packed. Monopods are considerably lighter than equivalent-sized tripods (probably a third of the weight?) and that can make a big difference to the weight of your pack when you head far off the beaten path.
If you are shooting with a large telephoto lens, the best tripod head to have is a gimbal head. The gimbal head mounts on the tripod foot of a large telephoto lens and allows for smooth, controlled, fluid movements in the pan and tilt axes—great for capturing moving wildlife and other action scenes. The movements can also be locked to maximize stability for static shots.
If you are not using a large telephoto, the ball head is probably your best option for the top of your tripod or monopod.
Trekking or Hiking Poles
Trekking or hiking poles are great for helping you remain stable when walking over uneven, rugged terrain (extra important when carrying heavy loads) and they also reduce some strain on your knees with each step—pretty awesome! As a bonus, some of the trekking poles we sell at B&H have removable hand grips that reveal a 1/4"-20 thread so that they can double as monopods!
Alternate Camera Supports
Depending on the kind of shots you want to take or how lightly you want to travel, a tripod or even a monopod might add unwanted weight and complexity to your kit. Some alternative camera and lens supports might be perfect for your gear and shooting style, like bean bags or sandbags. You can fill the bag at your shooting location, plop it on a rock, stump, etc., and rest your gear safely on it.
For some other alternative supports, check out this article.
Lens Skins & Bumpers
Cameras and lenses are tools and, when tools get used, they get scratched. But that doesn’t mean we have to like it! Also, trying to follow wildlife discreetly with a large white camera lens might be problematic. Enter the world of lens skins and bumpers. Lens skins wrap around your lens to protect it, add a thermal barrier, and, in the case of the camo versions, help you blend into your surroundings. If camouflage isn’t your favorite fashion look, you can get black, white, or even pink!
Lens bumpers are rubber rings that go around your lens to protect them from impacts or give them a softer place to lie when placed on a table or other hard surface.
Digital Camera Skins
Now that your lens is wrapped in a protective skin, don’t forget to wrap your camera body with a digital camera skin. These camera skins are usually made of flexible silicone or neoprene and provide great protection from light bumps and potential scratches. And, like the lens skins, the camera skins are available in different colors to help you stay camouflaged or accessorize with your favorite outfits.
Camera and Lens Wraps
Similar to a lens skin, but way more versatile, a camera and lens wrap is designed to protect all kinds of gear by quicky and conveniently wrapping said gear in a padded enclosure. Many wildlife photographers go into nature wearing hiking—not camera—backpacks. Wrapping your gear in a camera and lens wrap can basically turn any backpack or bag into a camera backpack or bag.
Camouflage Shooting Covers
Now that your lens and camera are wrapped in camouflage and mounted on a camouflaged tripod, it’s time to hide the rest of you and your gear. Our camouflage shooting covers are portable photo blinds that help you disappear seamlessly into your environment so that wildlife can get closer to you, allowing you to get the ultimate photograph. These are also great for protecting you from flying insects!
A lot of today’s photography equipment affords some built-in weather protection, but not all. Also, having water on your camera lens is a surefire way to ruin even the most amazing wildlife photograph. Added rain protection can help keep you from having to test your manufacturer’s stated IP rating, helps keep water off the front of your lens, and gives you some peace of mind when the skies open up.
Flashlights, Headlamps, and Lanterns
Excursions deep into the wild don’t end when the sun goes down. When it gets dark, you need light, and B&H is a top supplier of all things flashlight, headlamp, and lantern. From the latest high-power LED torches, to night-vision-saving red flashlights, to camping lanterns, we can light up your night!
Isn’t it awesome when your favorite camera and electronics store can outfit your whole expedition so that you don’t have to head to an outdoor store before you head outdoors? B&H has a ton of field accessories for the wildlife photographer, including compasses to keep you from getting lost, portable solar power to keep your gear charged, warmers to keep you toasty, multi-tools to let you repair your kit in the field, folding stools to rest your legs, and survival gear like paracord, carabiners, whistles, and more.
What wildlife photography accessories are you looking for? Or what gear and accessories have you found invaluable in your outdoor photography adventures? Let us know in the Comments section, below!