As a landscape photographer, there are some tools that you just have to have if you want to get sharp images: Tripod, Head, Bracket. There is a dizzying array of options out there. Lets start with the tripod, now keep in mind this is from a landscape point of view. I chose a Gitzo 6x carbon fiber 3 leg with a flat plate, the reason behind my choice, the G3530s was light weight, 3 leg extension for better stability, flat plate with no center column again for better stability, short folded up length and finally its ability to hold a large lens, as with everything it has its shortcomings but I found it to be the best compromise for my work. Next I needed a system for mounting my camera and the main system is the Arca-Swiss style mount which several manufacturers have adopted for use, including Arca Swiss, Really Right Stuff and Kirk Enterprises, just to name a few. My choice was with Kirk Enterprises, for cost, design and build. The BH-1 ball head is simple and robust, it does what its intended and will stand up to being abused and keeps on ticking, even after a pretty good fall from the top of my jeep. One last item is the way you mount your camera to the ball head, you have two options with the mounting plate on the ball head a single plate or an L-bracket, really its one choice and that is the L-bracket, this allows quick change from portrait to landscape mode, it also acts as a little roll cage for your camera as a little bonus (note: remote shutter release can still be used with L-bracket). With this set up you can backpack, shoot a city or do Panoramas or long exposures and you wont have to buy another set up for a long time, most photographers go through buying several before they figure out that they should have got a good one to start, including me. This will give you a rock solid mount at a reasonable cost and a good weight. A good alternative and less expensive ball head is the Gitzo with a Kirk clamp installed on it, like the above image.
Ross Murphy Images In Light