Rucksack

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A good kitbag is vital, and there are hundreds available on the market. Check our comprehensive buyers' guide in AP 3 January for a detailed overview of some of the best around, but here we've picked out a new model, the National Geographic Walkabout 5070. We tested this rucksack recently (AP 23 May) and we love its lightweight, durable hemp construction and generous storage space. Six accessory pockets plus a large dividable main compartment mean that it can take a surprising amount of gear, and a laptop pouch make this bag ideal for day trips as well as longer excursions.

6 June 2009 I www.amateurphotographer.co.uk 57

As you'll know from our test on pages 62-65 of this issue, neutral density graduated filters can make a huge difference to landscape photographs, especially when a large brightness difference exists between sky and land. There are plenty of choices from several respected manufacturers, but a decent ND grad is an essential addition to the landscape photographer's kitbag. ND grads are available in 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 densities, which can darken skies by 1,2 or 3 EV respectively.

Have you ever wondered whether you have one leg shorter than the other' It can be difficult to judge whether or not a horizon is straight when peering through a camera's viewfinder. The Seculine Action level is a highly sensitive electronic spirit level that fits onto a camera's hotshoe and uses LEDs to show whether the camera is straight. The benefit over a traditional fluid type is that the LED lights are visible with the camera held to your eye. Also, it's slim enough not to foul a pop-up flash.

Not only does a tripod keep your camera level, it will also allow you to shoot at slow shutter speeds without fear of camera shake. The downside of carrying a tripod is that normally it adds considerable weight and bulk to your kit. The Manfrotto 190CXPR04 is one of a new generation of lightweight carbon-fibre tripods that does not sacrifice rigidity for weight. Check our comprehensive buyers' guide in AP21 March for more information, as well as a range of recommended tripod heads.

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Photoshop is a wonderful thing, but there are some things you can't do on a computer. Polarising filters don't just colour the light, they also block reflected light from entering the camera's lens. This allows you to reduce reflections from shiny objects and water, and greatly increases the saturation of blue skies, as well as enhancing contrast and definition in clouds and foliage. This filter (price quoted is for 49mm) is multicoated for maximum light transmission, and has a very slim bezel. This is important to avoid vignetting on full-frame cameras. Polarisers come in linear and circular types. If you shoot with an autofocus SLR you'll need the more common circular type.

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