Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spring Is In The Air

Grassland Sunrise

I love this time of the year and everyday is worth getting up for, with some mornings better than others. Looking out my bedroom window at 6:00am got me moving quicker, as the fog in the distance with clear skies above would prove to be wonderful at sunrise. Spring has always signalled the renewal of the world; mating takes place, and baby animals are born. It is also a time for photographers to head out to take pictures. With just a little work, anyone can make eye grabbing pictures. The key is to get out with your camera and shoot as much as possible. It is important to be honest when it comes to equipment. It is not realistic to take full frame pictures of eagles in the wild when using a point and shoot camera. This does not mean that high end telephotos are needed for every type of nature photography, but the equipment has to fit the application. If using a DSLR camera, take a look at the lenses in your camera bag. With a DSLR camera, somewhere between 180mm and 500mm will be needed for wildlife. For landscapes, carry something in the 20mm to 70mm range. For flowers, a tripod and a lens capable of doing macro will do the job. Although aftermarket zooms are slower to work with, they can be a big savings on weight and the pocketbook. Look through the classified ads for used lenses. Some camera brands allow the use of older lenses that can represent huge savings. Consider using a tele-converter, as it will multiply the existing focal length, usually by 1.4x or 2x. Look at renting a lens from a photography store like the 'The Camera Store' here in Calgary if an outing demands a lens that you do not have in your arsenal. Need a place to shoot that is nearby? The zoo can be a good environment for the nature photographer. Many images used professionally came from captive shooting situations. Make a point of getting to know the zoo staff as they are a wealth of information. When shooting in a zoo, try for tight compositions to eliminate man made backgrounds. Get the camera lens right up to the barrier fence and open up the aperture to create shallow depths of field to eliminate the wire. At f2.8 to f3.5, chain link fence won’t even show up in a picture. Spring announces many births in the animal world. It is also the time that birds and waterfowl are in their prime mating colours. Head out to the local park, or a great location here in Calgary is "The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary' or the Weaselhead area to capture spring shots. When around animals, move slowly and never chase wildlife. Instead of walking directly to an animal, take a zigzag course that is not threatening. Always give moms and their babies enough room so they are not disturbed. So, enough talk about spring photography, lets get out and shoot.

No comments yet