WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY IS RIGHT IN YOUR BACKYARD!

white and black birds piercing on tree branch
Photo by daniyal ghanavati on Pexels.com

It is always a good idea to keep practicing your photo skills. One way to do that is to go out in your backyard and look for the different types of wildlife there is in your backyard. That could include squirrels, birds, butterflies, and other bugs. They all become a great photo opportunity.

Photo by Korie Cull on Unsplash

USE A GOOD TELEPHOTO LENS FOR WILDLIFE

To get the type of photo, like the very first picture of the bird above, you will need a good telephoto lens. This allows you to get your image to fill the frame. And of course the big thing, is that you don’t scare the animal away. You just can’t go up to most of these animals and ask them if you can take their picture.

Photographer using a macro lens

USE MACRO LENS OR CLOSE-UP FILTERS FOR INSECTS

A macro lens is the best lens for getting close-ups of bugs, critters, butterflies, rodents, etc. The price of a good macro lens could run you over $500 or more, but, you could also accomplish some good close-up photography with a set of “close-up filters”. Practice your aperture settings with macro photography, because if you use F2 to F5.6, you might find that the front of the bug is in focus and the back of the bug is not. Sounds like tripod work might be in order, or adjust your ISO setting to around 800 to 1200. Then you can have some help still with your shutter speeds.

SPECIAL TRAINING SESSION ON HOW TO BE CREATIVE IN YOUR BACKYARD:

And now, some ideas of how you can be creative with your back yard photography, here is a great YouTube video on being creative with wildlife photography in your own back yard. This is a great video from Nikon, and the European rep showing how to do the best work in your backyard. Please watch, because even I learned some great things from this video:

Just click on the play button and you will have this amazing training session.
praying mantis on a succulent plant
Photo by suellen baker on Pexels.com

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ZOOM LENS, OR SEVERAL LENSES?

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

Zoom lens vs. several lenses has been a question a lot of photographers go through. For example, should you buy a 75-300 Zoom lens, OR 100mm Macro lens, a 85mm F1.2 lens, and a 300mm F2.8? When you look at the combinations there, it’s a matter of numbers and what they all mean. Let’s go through them:

WHAT DO ALL THOSE NUMBERS MEAN?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

MM OF THE LENS?

First, we are going to go through each set of numbers on a lens and tell you what the meaning of each is. Seems that these numbers mean something. And the first number we will talk about is the millimeter of the lens. Let’s start with a reference number:

The first number we need to know is the “normal lens millimeter”. In today’s digital camera lenses, a 28mm is about the closest thing to a normal lens. What is a normal lens? It’s about the same thing as what your eye sees. So, if you had a normal 28mm lens on your camera, you picked it up and looked through the camera lens, what you see looks about the same whether you look through the camera, or view the subject without a camera and lens. There seems to be no change in strength or wide angle. With that being a normal lens, then something that is double the magnification would be a 56mm lens. So, now the subject is closer by double, or 2X closer.

Telephoto lenses:

Telephoto lens and also a zoom lens

There is a couple of things to notice as you use a telephoto lens. 1- Your angle of view in the lens also decreases by half, the bigger the lens. For example: if you go to a 56mm lens, the amount of area you see in your lens vs. the normal lens is now cut in half. But, the advantage, of course, when you use a telephoto lens, is that the subject is closer to you by 2X.

If you went to a 112mm lens (although they don’t make a lens with that mm), you double the magnification again by 2X from the 56mm, or 4X closer than your normal lens.

Now, you can see what happens when you go to a lens that is 300mm. That is a little over 10X stronger than your normal lens or what you see with the naked eye.

And lenses get bigger than that, of course. And guess what the next problem is with a big lens? It is hard to hand hold a lens that has that kind of magnification. So, most lenses that are around 300mm or bigger, have a tripod mount, right on the lens.

As you can see on this big lens, there is a tripod mount on the bottom of the lens. That is a balance point for the weight of the lens and the camera. That is the place that is usually makes it balanced well.

WIDE ANGLE LENSES:

Back to our reference point of 28mm: if we go the other direction, say 28mm and go to a 14mm lens, you do the opposite of the telephoto lens. It tends to look like the image in the camera has been pushed way back away from you. It is 1/2X power. But, the reason people pick up wide angle lenses is that it shows more area in the lens. You see twice as much angle in this wide angle as you do with the normal lens. Ideal for scenery and landscape photos.

ZOOM LENSES:

A zoom lens is a lens that is configured to give you a variety of lenses, all in one lens.

An 18-300mm zoom lens

If you look closely at this zoom lens, you will see a ring that goes from 18mm to 300mm. That means this one lens, has an 18mm lens in it. A wide angle lens. 28mm can be dialed in as well, so you have a normal lens. And now it goes up to 300mm, which is a powerful telephoto lens. All of this in one lens. One lens takes care of almost all of your photographic needs.

OR DOES IT?

Let’s take a look at our model lens again:

This model lens here is also a zoom lens, but, it covers only the area in the wide angle area: a 10 -18mm lens. That is super wide. Let’s look at the other number we need to be aware of: It says: 1: 4.5 – 5.6! If you remember how your aperture works in a lens, they will sometimes go from 3.5 – 5.6 for your kit lens. That is the maximum the aperture will range from at the biggest opening. The aperture is what lets in so much light. The lower the number, the more light gets through the lens. That is the number they put on the lens so you can see that it doesn’t really let in much light, but, not bad.

That is the problem with a zoom lens. It has this moving lens system within the barrel of the lens, that takes away the amount of light getting through the lens. If you could buy a zoom lens with a smaller F number, like a 2.8, you would also have double the amount of actual glass, or more. And the cost goes way up.

LENSES WITH LOW APERTURE NUMBERS:

The above lens here is a Canon 100mm F2.8 macro lens. List price on this lens is: $1399.00 US dollars.

The above lens here is a zoom lens that goes from 75mm – 300mm, and it’s low aperture capability is F 4.5 -5.6, meaning that at 75mm the aperture is at F4.5, and at 300mm it is 5.6. It does have a 100mm in this lens, but at 100mm it has an aperture capability of around 4.7. The list price of this lens is: $249.95US dollars.

WHY SO MANY CAMERA LENSES?

HERE IS THE COMPLETE LENS SELECTION FROM CANON. ALL OTHER MANUFACTURES HAVE ABOUT THE SAME NUMBER OF LENSES.

Every lens the manufacture makes is done for a specific purpose. That 100mm f2.8 macro lens’ purpose is to do extreme close-ups that not any other lens can do, plus, with a maximum aperture of 2.8, it is capable of doing it in lower light than any other lens that Canon makes.

SO HOW DO I CHOOSE WHAT LENS I NEED?

When you finally get to a point of getting a new lens, then it will be easily decided by what type of photography you are going to do. If you need help in getting the right lens, then get with someone who can help you. This is a service that 123PhotoGo can provide.

If you ever have a personal question about what lens you should buy, or even what camera you want to buy, I have set up a personal email hotline to ask questions. Email me to ask any technical questions you have by going to: question.123photogo@gmail.com

HOW TO TAKE PHOTOS OF BIRDS:

photography of small blue and brown bird
Photo by Tina Nord on Pexels.com

Only a few people even really notice birds. As a photographer, I don’t think I noticed them much until I watched a bird feeder. I thought all small birds were “sparrows”. But, in reality, I noticed red ones, yellow ones, black and white ones. So, I got curious and started looking at books and birds that reside in my area. Then I found out I had sparrows, finches, buntings, and cockatiels. My world was open now to birds.

Then, I noticed how some of these birds are really beautiful. The small ones are very colorful but they do seem “hyper” they way they fly around, and move around. But, it was important for me to get a good picture of one of these birds. The real challenge is “how” to get a great photo, because they generally don’t let you come close to them.

three long beaked small birds perched on brown tree branch
Photo by Aashutosh Sharma on Pexels.com

I have a list of what you will need to get the best results for great bird photos. Let’s start with:

  1. A good DSLR camera with manual control, that you can control the aperture and shutter speed.
  2. A good tripod, one that is sturdy, and one that will allow you to move the camera easily on it’s mount.
  3. A good sized telephoto lens or telephoto zoom lens, so you don’t have to get close to the birds.

That’s the basics of what you need, and that is all I have needed to get a good bird photo. One more thing I might add to the list is *Patience. It takes work for the right pose from the bird, or if they fly away, just when you get ready to push the button, and then wait for them to come back. It is a bigger challenge than I thought, but, it seems so worth it.

A photo I took of Mourning doves, waiting there turn to get to the feeder. They are so patient!

With the camera on the tripod, and your big telephoto zoom lens, take a moment and find the bird you want. Think quickly, because they could be gone in a flash. Now zoom in on the bird you want, focus, and see if that is what you want.

One thing that has helped me a lot in taking photos of birds or other moving things is a “Tripod Ball head” for my tripod. Click on the red lettering so you can see what type of product this is. It just allows your camera to be mounted on this Tripod Ball head and move around easier if you are trying to take a photo of something moving, like birds.

white seagulls near water
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

If you want to get a good photo of birds in flight, then make sure you are using a fast shutter speed, so you can stop action of their wings. Use a higher ISO setting if you need to. I might recommend an ISO of 800 to 1600 depending on your lighting too. But you need to use a shutter speed of 1/500 to 1/2500th of a second if your camera will allow it.

One more thing to watch out for is the background, behind the bird(s). See the above photo how nice things look….. no background clutter. One worth hanging on the wall?

LEARN HOW TO TAKE PHOTOS OF THE “NIGHT SKY”

person under delicate arch at night
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We are seeing on social media many great photos of the night sky, including the Milky Way. And I think we will see many more of these type of photos due to the recent improvement in cameras and the ISO settings getting so high, and their ability to take photos at night. Pentax K3 Mark III recently released a camera that is capable of shooting at an ISO off 1,600,000 makes night photography exciting. But, there are certainly steps you need to make to get night photography to happen correctly.

51 different subjects in photography, and we are doing them all. This subject is on “night Photography”, just one of the many subjects. Look back on past blogs to see what subjects have been done.
snow covered mountain
Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

Let’s take a look at what we need to make night photography work for you:

1- The shutter on your camera will be open for a period of time, that should require a camera tripod. If you do not use a camera tripod, your photos will be blurry. Period. Doesn’t matter if you are using a cell phone for your camera, if it has to see the dark night, your camera will open the shutter for a period of time, and you just won’t be able to hold the camera still enough. If you are a cell phone photographer, they do make a tripod for cell phones that is not a lot of money. I have a tripod for cell phone, and use it a lot. In fact, here is one of my night photos taken with my cell phone:

Photo by Lanny Cottrell Photography. Notice how the street lights are able to light up the surrounding area, giving it all a unique feeling to the picture.

2- But for night sky shooting, let’s give you a point to start with. Nikon USA recommends the following:

  • A good starting exposure for most star shots is to use the widest aperture on your lens, expose for 20 seconds, increasing the ISO as needed for a good exposure.
tall palm trees under purple sky
Photo by Brady Knoll on Pexels.com

Most of the time, when you shoot with your cell phone camera, your moon will hardly be noticed, similar to the photo above. In order to get a moon shot that looks like this:

woman holding a moon
Photo by Ruvim on Pexels.com

Or, even to get detail on the moon:

waxing moon shining in cloudy sky
Photo by David Selbert on Pexels.com

Here is what you need to do:

To get a great Moon shot and little else, set your camera to ISO 100 or ISO 200 and the aperture to between f/5.6 and f/11, and adjust your shutter speed to between 1/125sec and 1/250sec.

Next, if you want to see the moon, like the bottom picture, it will require a telephoto lens. Most cameras have a wide angle lens in them, which actually pushes the image of the moon back further than what you see. They even make telephoto lenses for cell phone so there is no reason anymore to not get a good photo of the moon.

Here is another way to look at this photo idea: If you will realize that the moon is lit by the sun. It is nothing more than a big rock, that’s round, sitting in the sunlight. So, what would be your exposure during the daytime of the earth when it is in sunshine? Usually ISO 100 at F8 or F11, and the shutter speed at 1/125 second. Bingo, you will have a perfect exposure of the moon.

The reason it is hard to get a good exposure with an automatic camera, or a cell phone camera is that the light meter that is built in, sees so much dark area around the moon, and tries to expose for both, thus giving a bad exposure. That is why doing it with a manual camera in manual mode, you can easily get a good exposure of the moon.

Just a reminder: When you click on any of the words in RED, you will be automatically linked to see that product, so you can get an idea of what they cost, and a description of how they work. If you want to purchase them, you can certainly do that, by completing the “purchase” information.

Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan on Unsplash

One more point that needs to be made about taking photos of the night sky:

  • You cannot get these type of photos while still in the city. The lights from the city will block the ability to get the sky dark enough to see all the stars. All good night photographers, will go far away out of the city to get their best night photos. Absolutely you want to get away from any interference from light that will destroy your night photos.

I hope you enjoy taking photos at night time. Please remember that to get the same results as you are seeing in the post today, you will need to follow these directions closely. Your automatic camera just may not cut it for you. A manual camera will get you what you want.

HOW TO TAKE PICTURES AT THE BEACH !

seashore under white and blue sky during sunset
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

51 Different subjects in photography, and I am going to do them all. Today’s subject: “How to take photos of the beach!”

The beach is something that everyone loves. The sound of the calming waters, the feel of the sand through your toes, the beautiful sunsets, the sunburn you get the first time. It is all just a special place in so many people. So, there is some special tips I would like to share with you about taking photos at the beach that will help you out to get great photos.

  • Make sure you focus on something, even if it’s way out there.
  • Use the “Golden Hour” to take your photos before sunset and after sunrise.
  • Bring an air blower, and a lens cleaning brush with you.
  • Use a tripod
  • Polarizing filters will do wonders for your photos
  • Play with shutter speeds when taking photos of the waves

Ok, let’s take a look at some of these ideas so you can see what we are talking about.

silhouette of a person on a swing
Photo by Asad Photo Maldives on Pexels.com

Find something you can focus on. Take a look at the above photo, and notice that the person on the swing is very sharp. Also, look at the background, it is also in focus. If you can set your focus, with setting your aperture right (F16, F22, etc.) you can get it all in focus, but, if there is something in the foreground, focus on that.

green grass during sunset
Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

Taking pictures during the “golden hour” will just give you a warm glow to the entire photo. It is so pleasing. And also, especially at the beach, you will get the warm colors that make things so perfect. Try this: take a photo of the beach around 12 noon, vs. 8pm, and you may never take a photo again at noon.

Cómo limpiar el objetivo de tu cámara de fotos - Lecciones de Fotografía

The beach is a dirty place. It seems like you always find that your camera equipment gets dirty. Two pieces of equipment you should always have is: lens cleaning cloth, and a blower brush for lenses.

photographer shooting on photo camera near ocean in cloudy day
Photo by Lachlan Ross on Pexels.com

This just has to be a tool that you need to get used to using: tripod for cameras. It will improve your photos more than you could imagine. Sharp photos = tripod for cameras.

Circular Polarizer Screw-In Filter - 25CP – The Tiffen Company
Before and after with a polarizing filter

The above photo should show you enough reason why you should use a good circular polarizing filter. If you care about the colors in your scenery photos, and especially the beach photos, please use a circular polarizing filter.

Just a quick note: if you click on the words in red, they will take you to a link that gives you more information about that word. Try it: circular polarizing filter

frozen wave against sunlight
Photo by Hernan Pauccara on Pexels.com

This is a great example of just one of the things you could try with a telephoto lens and a fast shutter speed. The telephoto lens will get you out on the water, and the fast shutter speed will stop the action of the waves. Have fun trying different things with controlling your shutter speed.

people surfing on sea waves
Photo by Jess Vide on Pexels.com

Another great example of a high shutter speed, and a good telephoto lens.

white row boat on body of water
Photo by Nuno Obey on Pexels.com

Find beaches that are not so crowded with people, and get some different types of photos. A telephoto lens may be able to get you this kind of photo, and get you away from the waves. There are a lot of beautiful things to take pictures of at the beach. Go enjoy.