Telephoto Lens Cap for Canon & Nikon Camera Lenses

Archive for October, 2012

Choosing the Right Digital SLR for Your Nature Photography

[Note: This article does not advocate Nikon equipment above other brands. It simply offers some advice to people who are already shooting with a Nikon system.]

It is very true that it doesn’t matter what equipment you use — it’s what you do with the camera that matters. However, there is no question that when you’re hiking through a thick jungle in the middle of central america you want to pack light. Even though the Nikon D2x has the prestige of being Nikon’s premier “PRO” camera, you may not find it’s the best fit for your nature work. 

One of the first things you need to consider is how you’re going to use the pictures. Look up the magazines you want to publish your work. Send in for “submission guidelines” and find out their minimum mega pixel count. The same is true for stock agencies — browse around and decide which place you’d ultimately like to sell your work. Many organizations have their submission guideliens published on their websites. If you’re more interested in learning and doing nature photography for your own pleasure then by all means buy the less expensive models. There’s nothing wrong with a camera that takes a 5 or 6 megapixel image. You’ll still be able to blow it up to poster size if you want a special print made.

Choosing the Right Lenses

Unfortunately, no one can tell you which lenses to buy or “how to build the perfect SLR system for nature photography. ” Again, it depends on the kinds of photos you like to take, your personal preference and the market where you want to sell your image.

The great advantage of Nikon cameras is that you can use older lenses on your body. This allows a lot more freedom of choice and means you can get really amazing older lenses at shockingly affordable prices.

I’ll give you an example. One of my favorite lenses is a 300mm f4 manual focus prime lens from the 1970s. It cost only $350 CAD (meaning it would be much less expensive in American dollars) and the glass is still ED! Nikon especially developed ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass to provide pricise optical colour correction. This special glass (not available in all Nikon lenses) provides the sharp, clear resolution required for superb photographs. The other advantage (at least for me since I generally hike to find wildlife) is that it weighs less and packs small.

Another example — the 50mm 1.4 auto focus lens (that’s right f1.4!) sells for only $166 CAD (again, much less in American dollars). It’s actually an 80mm on your body. That means you have a prime lens at 80mm that can take pictures in the darkest settings. And, because Nikon has been perfecting its 50mm lenses since its inception as a company (Nikon used to include a 50mm on all its bodies until well into the late 1980s), it’s one of Nikon’s very best lenses. It’s cheap because 50mm on a 35mm camera is kind of pooey. But 80mm on a digial camera is marvelous.

Magnification – Use it to your Advantage

For wildlife photographers in particular, the one advantage of shooting with any Nikon digital camera these days is the magnification factor. Rather than create a sensor the same size as one frame of 35mm film, Nikon and most other digital SLR camera manufacturers decided to create a sensor that is smaller than the 24x36mm standard frame of the older film models. Having a smaller sensor means you aren’t going to capture all the information on the left and right and top and bottom of the frame. This may sound really bad… but there is no need to worry about what you haven’t captured because the viewfinder has been adjusted so that what you see optically is what is captured in the digital file.

The result is that the camera multiplies the magnification of all the lenses. Nikon’s magnification (depending on the camera you use) is around 1.5x. That means a 300mm lens is now magnified to 450mm. This is great news for wildlife photographers. The only drawback is that wider angle lenses (like a 17mm wide angle becomes a 25.5mm not-as-wide-angle lens. However, landscape photographers still have some options. I’ll get to those in a bit.

Lenses – Pros and Cons

While I can’t tell you the right lenses to buy for your particualr needs… I can give you some feedback/impressions about the particular lenses I am using or have used in the past.

Nikkor 10.5mm f2.8 Fisheye: I never thought such a specialized lens could provide me with so much use. For more information, I’ve written a short article about how to use a fisheye lens in your nature photography at http://www.naturestocklibrary.com/gallery/2472892

Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF AF-S DX Zoom – This lens is all right. I bought it as a kit lens a long time ago and it’s served well for the wider range. I wish I had saved pennies and purchased a 2.8 that offered a wider range (like a 12mm to 25mm).

Tamron 17-35mm f2.8: This is a great lens but, alas, I purchased it for a film camera and the magnification on my digital body means that it isn’t that useful in my photography right now. I’m planning on selling it (along with my other wide angle) and buying a 2.8 that has a wider range so I can do more with landscape photography.

Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D AF – This is the same lens I discussed earlier. It’s small, has a low price tag, allows you to shoot in really dark situations and it’s an 80mm on a digital camera. You really can’t go wrong.

Nikkor Nikon 80-200mm f2.8D ED AF Zoom – This is a fantastic lens that stays at 2.8 no matter if you are shooting at 80 or 200mm. Again, magnification means it’s actually a 300mm zoom. Zooms are great because you can adjust your focus distance depending on where your subject is located. Not so great with subjects that are always far away (like the macaws seen here), but really awesome for docile wildlife like deer. It also has a macro function that works beautifully.

Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D AF Micro, or 105 Micro for short – This is probably Nikon’s most used macro lens, probably because the lens can serve triple duty. First of all, it is a macro photography lens and it allows you to take photographs at a 1:1 reproduction ratio (on a 35mm body), which means that a 24 by 36 mm subject will fill the entire frame. Second, it makes a very good general purpose short telephoto lens. Third, it is also at least a very reasonable portrait lens (although, with magnification it may be too much of a telephoto on a digital SLR). I really love this lens for macro photography.

Nikkor 300mm f4 manual focus – While a “prime” lens doesn’t offer the flexibilty of a zoom… it’s still an ideal choice for getting the best results in your work. This is the same lens I discussed earlier and, considering it cost only $350, it’s light & the focusing is so smooth, it’s one of my favorite lenses. I never leave home without it.

Nikkor 600mm f5.6 manual focus ED Glass – Again, I paid a lot less for this lens (which is actually a hefty 900mm on a digital body and also has the famous Nikon ED glass!!) because it’s an older model and it’s manual focus. I spent $1,599 USD – but consider that a newer model would go for at least $5,000 to $25,000, depending on the f stop. Some may argue that 5.6 is a bit too narrow of an f stop but I find the compression with telephoto lenses means that I wouldn’t want to shoot a 900mm subject with anything wider than 5.6 (2.8 would make the focus far too shallow on such a far away subject). Although… for closer subjects 2.8 is magic!

In the past, I have also used the Sigma 70-300mm 3.5-5.6 and the Tamron 200-400mm 3.5-5.6 and both served well as affordable zooms while I was learning about photography. I have since sold them to pay for the lenses I currently use.

Why I LOVE and Highly Recommend Manual Focus

I used to be terrified of focusing manually. On most auto focus lenses, the focus ring is small and more difficult to use… also there’s something really easy about just allowing your camera to do the focusing work for you. I was afraid I couldn’t react quickly enough to moving subjects and that I wouldn’t be as good as my camera’s auto focus. Now I see the errors of my ways.

For wildlife (or people), you want to make sure the main subject’s eyes are in perfect focus. You won’t be able to sell any image if the eyes aren’t in focus. If you shoot a subject 10 feet away at 2.8 and use auto focus, the camera will choose the object closer to the camera (usually the nose, cheek, or eye brow… not the eye itself). A 2.8 aperture means that you will have such a soft depth of field that the eyes will appear out of focus. The older (and more affordable) manual focus lenses have the most beautiful focusing rings you’ve ever seen. I find it much easier to use manual focus on my 300mm f4 lens from the 1970s than my newer autofocus 80-200mm zoom (using the auto focus feature). Unfortuately, I find the focusing ring on the newer models a little bit pooey… but I did want to make the case for why I think manual focus lenses from the 1970s are the greatest things since sliced bread!

Rule of Thumb for Fast Subjects

You may already be aware that your shutter speed should be at least the same as the distance of your lens. For instance, you need to shoot at least 1/300th of a second if you are using a 300mm lens or hand shake will make your picture look really blurry. And anything larger than 300mm should be put on a tripod (preferably one with a ball head for wildlife work). With magnification, you may be able to get away with shooting a 300mm (a 450mm on your digital) hand-held… at 1/450th of a second or higher…)in a pinch… but investing in a good ball head tripod will really improve your results if your lens is higher than 300mm.

Author Bio

Christina Craft is an award-winning professional wildlife and nature photographer from Victoria B.C. She is the owner and principal photographer of the Nature Photography Stock Picture Library

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Mastering the Art of Sports Photography With your Digital Camera

BP2_sports_photography_lens_capFor sports enthusiasts, there’s nothing more exciting than sports people playing their favourite game. The sight of the field, rink or golf course initiates the thrill and anticipation. This, combined with digital photography, can provide some amazing photographic opportunities. However it’s not a matter of point the camera at the person diving for the ball or puck and snapping away. It’s a lot more complicated than that.

In digital photography sports can be quite challenging. The sports people do not present an easy task of being photographed because of the amount of high movement. However, you can indeed achieve great sports digital photography. Most excellent sports digital photography requires good planning and execution.

Here are some exclusive tips for gaining fantastic sports shots in your digital photography.

First things first; know your digital camera. I recommend taking note and practicing first all the settings that sports photography needed. You may find yourself going for the faster shutter speed, increased ISO and burst mode. Let’s take a look at all these things on your digital camera and see how they can be applied to give you sensational sports photos.

High shutter speeds:

As with all moving objects, in order to capture the “frozen in time” look in digital photography a fast shutter speed is required. The faster the movement the fast the shutter speed will need to be. In digital photography the general consensus is that the shutter speed needs to be faster than that of the subject. For example if you have a sliding puck across ice and there is a someone about to take a dive for it then its necessary to quickly mentally assess how fast that person might be traveling at. If they are traveling at approximately 50 kilometers (approx 32 miles) per hour then you may find a very fast shutter speed is needed for this digital photo.

A very fast shutter speed in digital photography may be anything from 500th of a second or higher. For high speed movement you may want to consider an even faster shutter speed of 1000th of a second or something in that range.

Keep in mind that in digital photography a fast shutter speed works to reduce some of the light which is why a higher ISO is often necessary. (I’ll talk about that in a minute.) Usually a if a ball, such as a baseball going at around 145 kilometers an hour (90.09 miles per hour) a shutter speed of around 1/4000 will get you that “suspended ball in mid air” type of photo. For physical movement, such as someone leaping to catch a football, a shutter speed of 1/500 or over is a good place to start.

Now this is all very well if your scene if well lit. But what if you are taking your digital photography shots indoors at night and the light is not quite enough to provide enough light? In most instances, an indoor stadium at night time will be well lit, but that doesn’t always ensure good digital photos. In sports photography we need to understand that we can only control the artistic value and input of our digital photo and the control of the camera. We can’t control the lighting on the scene being such a public event. In digital photography sports photos we must realize that it’s going to be a challenge to begin with. So here are something’s you can in your digital sports photography to increase the amount of light.

If you have a light tool on your digital camera such as a histogram you can get a good idea of what the light levels are like on your sensor. With this handy tool you can adjust the ISO at the time of your pictures taking.

Increase your ISO: A high ISO in digital photography simply means the sensitivity to light that your digital camera has. In a nutshell the more ISO you have increased the image to, the less light the sensor needs. In sports photography an ISO of 400 or higher can work really well. The downside to this is that it does increase noise. To combat this you can use noise reduction software in the post editing process such as Noise Ninja or increase the LAB mode in the post editing process. Don’t be afraid to try a few shots at 400, 800 and even as high as 1600.

Burst mode:

In most sports digital photography this will be one of the settings you will turn to. Burst mode is also known as ‘continuous shooting’. This ‘continuous’ shooting mode allows you to get a sequence of shoots in succession. You can increase your chances of getting that ideal “split second perfect shot” that you might not be able to get by pre-emption or in normal shooting. This also works so beautifully if your digital camera has a painfully long lag time. I’ve used this so many times to get around the high lag my Sony Cyber shot has got. Some cameras have 3 frames per second and some go up to 12 frames per second. You simply select this mode and hold your finger on the shutter button and it will fire off as many shots in 1 second as it can.

Okay so I’ve been talking about your digital camera and the setting’s used for ideal sports digital photography, so what about any external equipment? If you have been thinking about this you’re spot on. You can take as much time with your settings but there’s not much point if you can’t get close to the action. There’s no point having a picture with perfect lighting and perfect action if the players are like dots on a sheet of paper. You need a good telephoto lens if you can’t get close up. A telephoto lens brings you closer because of its long distance capability. It will get you closer to the action but will need a faster shutter speed.

Many fantastic sports digital photos are taken with an emphasis on a very fast shutter speed, an f stop of around the 2.8 mark to blur the background and focus in on the subject. You may find that if your sportsperson is visually separated from the background and you take the digital photograph with a telephoto lens you’ll have a more shallow depth of field which can give you a more powerful feeling in your digital photo. You can get away with a good optical zoom lens, but you’ll get far better digital sports shots with a proper telephoto.

So what about the artistic side of sports photography with your digital camera? Plenty!

Pre-emption and Emotion is the key to good art.

When taking sports photography you probably won’t find a more public display of human emotion. The emotions of a sports person range from intense anticipation to extreme disappointment or extreme exhilaration. Pre-empting when these emotions take place is they key to getting artistic and impressive sports photos. This comes with practicing your digital photography.

SO much pressure is placed on our athletes, expecting them to perform so we can enjoy the show and the investors can enjoy their returns. This is another reason why I say to get a telephoto lens so you can capture the emotions on their faces and their body language. It makes for superb photography. For ideas on ice hockey, have a look at some ice hockey images that are great study tools.

Don’t just look at these digital photos, you must study them. Take on the attitude that studying sports photography will improve your digital sports photos ten fold. You will have a style to emulate and copy to start with then eventually, when you become confident, you’ll start to adopt your own style.

Happy shooting,

Amy Renfrey

To study digital sports photography check these sites out: http://www.espn.com/ andhttp://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/ and http://cbs.sportsline.com/

About the Author:

Amy Renfrey is the author of two major successful ebooks “Digital Photography Success” and “Advanced Digital Photography”. She is a photographer and also teaches digital photography. She’s photographed many things from famous musicians to portraits of babies. Amy also teaches photography online to her students which can be found atwww.DigitalPhotographySuccess.com

Article Source: ArticlesBase.com – Mastering the Art of Sports Photography With your Digital Camera

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Close Up Photography, an Emotional Approach to Nature Photography

BP3_nature_photography_canon_nikon_IMG_8843From wide open spaces to rugged mountains, rolling meadows to dramatic coastlines they all play an important part in the nature of landscape. However, with such a view it is often hard to appreciate the beauty because there is nowhere for the eye to settle and concentrate on.

Why not take a fresh approach to nature photography and concentrate on part of the view and take time to consider color, shape and texture to really appreciate the finer features of the scene.

Enter the world of close up photography that lies just beyond the familiar but so rich in detail and beauty. If we look through our close up lens with an open mind, imagination and childlike curiosity there are many close up photography opportunities for us to consider.

As nature photographers we can take this concept further, for example that distant bright yellow patch becomes on closer inspection a riotous stand of broom flowers. Closer still we see clearly the intricate detail in each flower and seedpod that we can record in our close up photography.

Now go really close, look at the seedpod with its gossamer covering of fine hairs and we start to appreciate how things fit together. Whilst this is not a scientific approach it provides a raw and basic understanding, offers enlightenment and lets us become an integral part of nature. So by going close up and concentrating on a small part of the whole we have simplified our close up photography subject, made it basic, powerful and memorable.

There is no need to go far, finding close up nature photography opportunities should be seen as a journey of the soul, inner vision and contemplation rather than visiting a far off place. Often the deeper we look into our close up photography subjects the more rewarding they become. Without hesitation they reveal their treasures allowing us time to admire their quality. With this awareness the nature photographer with a passion for close up photography is indeed privileged.

Appreciating that all these parts form an important relationship with each other makes it is easier to understand that the whole is made up of many unique parts and like pieces of a jigsaw they combine together to create a complete picture. Indeed, only by appreciating the significance of the smallest parts of our surroundings can we can start to make sense of nature as a whole and incorporate this awareness into our close up photography.

Emotion and drama and be found in often overlooked close up photography cameos, like a delicate flower growing defiantly in a boulder crevice, its tenuous grip on life dependent on the sustenance from the crevice debris. Yet it lives on year after year, testimony to its determination and resilience. It is this inter-action that is so enduring and compelling that makes these interesting subjects perfect for nature photography.

As a close up photographer getting close up to nature allows a greater understanding and appreciation of the beauty of the natural world. For example a cold clear winter day with breathtaking crispness can be ideal for close up photography, in these conditions there are magical patterns in snow, frost and shimmering icicles. Ice patterns make perfect winter close up photography subjects; they literally capture a moment frozen in time. Depending on the prevailing weather conditions some have smooth curves whilst others show harsh jagged lines providing creative close up photography opportunities.

Early morning in spring and summer can be a wonderful time to find close up photography subjects. Flowers and grasses covered with dew or fine rain make fascinating close up photography studies, the fine hairs hold onto droplets of water almost defy gravity. In the right conditions there may be insects that after a night’s inactivity have become encrusted with minute droplets. Butterflies make excellent close up photography subjects and look stunning covered in dew as they sparkle like a myriad of jewels.

Light quality plays an important role in our close up photography, if it is too harsh the increase in contrast will actually block out the very close up detail we are trying to photograph. It is far better to have diffused light that occurs with high thin cloud cover. It provides a much softer quality of light and allows the detail, texture and nuances to be clearly seen and recorded in our close up photography. Color also influences our interpretation of the subject, vibrant colors like red and yellow for example suggest dominance and power, whereas muted tones like grey and browns convey basic, earthy and tranquil feelings.

So, if we approach our close up photography with childlike wonder and a renewed vision the natural world is undoubtedly a beautiful place. To fully appreciate it requires a little time and an inquisitive mind, it will reward you with the knowledge that even the simplest of things can bring satisfaction, contentment, harmony and inner peace.

About the Author:

Phil McDermott, Scotland Commercial Photographer and Close up Photography Workshops Phil McDermott Photography. See our Photography Blog for Photography Tips and Ideas.

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