Lens shades - Using an efficient lens shade (hood) or even your hand to block extraneous light from entering your lens will improve the contrast of your photos. This is particularly important when your camera is pointed in the vicinity of the sun without the sun actually being visible in the frame (photos 1 and 2 in slide show). Flare Buster® makes a great sunshade on a flexible arm that attaches to your camera hot shoe. If your camera is on a tripod, this frees up your hands to perform other tasks (photos 3 and 4).
Tripods - Using a tripod is the single most important way you can improve the overall quality of your photos (photo 5). It takes the camera out of your hands (which move) and allows you to slow down, study your subject more closely and craft your image. Without the tripod, we have a tendency to shoot indiscriminately with less regard for assembling the elements of what it takes to make a successful photograph. The tripod gives us the ability to use all the features built into our cameras including all the shutter speeds and the full range of f:stops (photo 6).
Remote Switches, LCD magnifiers and note pads (photo 7) - In the film days we called these cable releases. In digital photography they are remote releases and are available in two forms. One is plugged into your camera (wired version) and the other is a wireless version either infrared or radio. Whatever your method the ultimate purpose is to release the shutter without using your finger pushing something on the camera and thereby minimizing the resulting movement vibration; essential for long exposures.
LCD magnifiers are used to cover the LCD display in bright light conditions and magnifies the LCD display so you can make an easier judgment of exposure and subject expression. There are many to choose from and the one I use comes from the darkroom section of your local camera store.
The old fashioned notebook hasn't been replaced by the digital world's "metadata" camera and exposure information imbedded in your photo file. Metadata can't tell you what filter you used on the lens or how many and can't tell you how many degrees of tilt or swing or millimeters of rise or fall used with a tilt/shift lens. Nothing beats accurate notes in the field. I've been carrying notebooks in the field over 30 years.
Hot Shoe Bubble Level - This simple level device (photo 8) allows you to keep your camera level and could help minimize tilted buildings, trees, mountains and any other subject that might show convergence distortion from a non-level camera. All landscape and architectural photographers I know use them.
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