Monday 25 May 2009

Long Lens Technique

Every wildlife photographer wants/needs a long lens-300mm+ and more than usual 500mm+, This is a great tool to have but brings its own specific problems, Dont just think that now you have a mega lens that your photography will improve, If anything for a while it will go downhill until you find a technique that will give consistently sharp results, This is called Long Lens technique, The longer the lens then more magnification on any movement you will have will be shown up in the final image,If you have a body with live view just turn it on and zoom into maximum zoom on the screen and lightly tough the lens-you will see that even the lightest of touches will create a massive blur-So firstly only have your tripod set as high as it needs which in reality should be minimum height but sometimes you will need to have it higher and that's when things really need to be tightened down and for you to shoot in a calm and calculated manner, there are 2 methods that i use, Firstly by jamming my fist between the lens foot and lens barrel and secondly by having my left hand holding the top of the lens-why would you do this-well firstly it balances the lens and secondly and most importantly it takes out any vibration down the lens that is caused by mirror slap (when taking the shot the mirror in the camera body causes a small vibration that can travel down the lens and causes a soft image) I would say it took me a good 3 months or more to get a technique that i was happy with when i first bought a 500F4 lens 9 years ago, In extreme instances when shooting in lowish light i have actually placed a beanbag on top of the lens to do the same job-When getting a long lens for the first time practice a lot and find what works for you


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