Whether you're hiking at Chewacla State Park near Auburn or at DeSoto Falls in northeast Alabama, having the right gear can make the difference between a day struggling to work around gear problems or a carefree day enjoying nature.
We work so hard and long at our jobs, it's critical that we spend our free time well. For me, that means buying quality, flexible gear that is good for many situations. That way, I can just grab my bag and go to maximize my time enjoying nature.
If you want to support our efforts to document all of the state's waterfalls, this page is a great way to help. We get a small percentage of any equipment purchase you make on Amazon (at no cost to you!), and it helps pay for the cost to host this site and share photos with you.
Our trips are about getting to a quiet space and making memories. And, having great pictures lets us take those awesome moments home to share with y'all too! So, that requires a camera and the right gear to capture shots in a variety of situations.
We've been shooting with a Nikon D90 for years. It's got a reasonable weight for packing and features just about every option we need for shooting great waterfall and landscape shots.
Normally, we like the Nikkor AF‑S DX 18‑105mm f/3.5‑5.6G ED VR for it's wide range of zoom to help us get just the right shot even when it's hard to get the right distance from the subject (because of things like water!). But, we'll usually carry the lightweight Nikkor Telephoto 85mm f/1.8 because of how well it does in low light situations.
Tripods: For multi-day trips, the Joby Gorillapod tripod can turn any surface or tree into a stable platform for my camera. For day hikes, I just strap a Manfrotto 804RC2 to my backpack.
The Manfrotto is sturdy, has a lot of reach to perch across rocks, and it's aluminum, so it's not too heavy. Plus, the legs kick out wide to help get those really low-to-the-water long-exposure shots that look so great!
I use Hoya 67 mm circularly polarized, UV filter, and neutral density filters to capture shots. They make reaasonably price, quality glass. You can definitely go more expensive, but these will get most shots you'll want to make.
The UV filter absorbs ultraviolet rays that often make outdoor photographs hazy and indistinct. The circular polarizer helps cut down the bright reflections off of waterfalls and lets you improve color saturation in and around the waterfall. The neutral density filter is used to reduce the light entering the lens to let me use longer shutter times on bright days to get those whispy waterfall effects even when the sun won't cooperate.
One of the biggest struggles shooting around all of that water and after a long hike is keeping your lenses and filters free of dirt and water. There's nothing worse than hiking and driving a couple of hours back home, pulling up that epic shot on your computer, and seeing that you had a drop of water on your lens that you didn't notice!
You won't eliminate all of those, but having the right equipment to clean your lens often will make the difference in keeping the glass you spent SO much money on scratch-free and as clear as the day you bought it for years to come.
For the price you pay, it's well-worth it! I picked up an Altura set that has served me well for years.