Wildlife

Regarded as the most challenging and amazingly adventurous type of photography, wildlife photography requires telephoto lens to capture insanely beautiful moments in the forests. With both risks and thrills, wildlife capturing also comes under one of the highest paid jobs in the world. Adventurous trips and treks throughout several enchanting landscapes, this photographic genre has endless scopes and opportunities. Wildlife photography requires a lot of practice at using different macro, focal length and underwater lenses to capture insects, birds, animals and marine life.

Wildlife Photography With A Wide-Angle Lens For Impact| Getting Your Subject & The Surroundings

Posted by on Apr 17, 2016 in canon, Featured, Food, nikon, Photography Tips, Wildlife

Wildlife Photography With A Wide-Angle Lens For Impact| Getting Your Subject & The Surroundings

Capturing wildlife with a telephoto lens is the technique of ‘traditional’ wildlife photography. It’s still commonplace and most certainly has its place, with many incredible photos taken using that approach. But put down your telephoto in exchange for a wide-angle lens and you’ll open the door to a whole new perspective with your wildlife photography. It may seem challenging, and to some degree it is, but once you are used to the technique it is not necessarily more difficult than using a telephoto – the results, of course, are just different. My lens of choice for this was a Nikon 14mm f/2.8, although I have since sold it and replaced it with a Nikon 18-35mm lens. I preferred the flexibility of a zoom lens rather than a prime. Equipment You’ll Need Aside from your DSLR and a wide-angle lens, you’re going to need a few more pieces of equipment. Joby Focus Gorillapod – This flexible tripod allows you to position your camera low to the ground in all sorts of terrains. YongNuo Shutter Release – These wireless shutter releases are cheap and robust. They work over radio signals, meaning they don’t need line-of-sight to activate your camera’s trigger. They have a range of up to 100 meters too, allowing you to stand at a distance and remotely trigger your camera. Setting Up Your Photo Think about what you’re trying to achieve here. The advantage of the wide-angle lens is the ability to introduce the surroundings into your photo. You are able to document the animal and its environment simultaneously, something that isn’t always possible with a telephoto lens. Positioning the camera as low to the ground as possible gives the unique perspective, and being below the eye-level of an subject makes the viewer feel smaller than the animal, turning our expectations of wildlife photography on its head. You can see in the above image that I’ve chosen to include the woodland surroundings of this red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris). To get the squirrel to come close to the camera, I placed some hazelnuts (one of their favorite foods) in front of the camera. You can do this for lots of different animals, but it is important to remain ethical with your photography and never use live bait. If you need to bait a carnivore, then you can collect road kill for scavengers. Once you’ve found your position, it’s time to set your camera up for action. Connect the trigger and make sure it is working properly. Switch your camera to aperture priority mode, allowing the camera to adapt to changing light conditions – something you can’t do yourself once you’ve stepped away. Make sure your focus is set to manual. You then can adjust the focus yourself, predicting where the animal will turn up. This is the tricky part, as any photo taken without the focus on the eyes will...

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How to Decide What Gear to Pack for a Wilderness Trip

Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 in Featured, Food, landscape, Photography Tips, portrait, Wildlife

How to Decide What Gear to Pack for a Wilderness Trip

Each year, I spend many weeks guiding, and exploring, in the mountains and rivers of Alaska. The trips are a mishmash of different adventures; base-camp trips, mellow canoe trips, backpacks over rugged terrain and high peaks, or multi-day whitewater rafting trips. One thing that always plays a part, no matter what type of journey I’m taking, is photography. The gear however, varies. Different types of trips demand different kinds of equipment, and there are a number of things that need to be taken into consideration. For me, photo equipment decisions are a multi-step process, and there are a few things to consider. Here are three and my tips at the end for packing a kit. #1 – Weight Limitations A DeHaviland Beaver, the classic Alaska bush plane, on a riverside gravel bar in the Brooks Range of northern Alaska. This is a constant in the backcountry. Weight is always, ALWAYS an issue. On backpacking trips, every ounce of camera gear has to be added to clothing, tents, food, cookware, and safety equipment that cannot be left behind. When I’m guiding backpacking trips in Alaska’s wilderness, this can mean that on top of my usual backpacking gear, I also have an expedition first aid kit, satellite phone, ground to air radio, and more than my own share of food. My pack is heavy, long before I add camera gear. Making sure that anything extra is as light as possible, is my priority. Sometimes you can carry a lot of gear, as you can see from this camp along the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, but even here every pound has to be loaded and unloaded daily. Other types of trips are not as restrictive, but weight is always a concern. Most of the trips I lead involve small bush planes to get to and from our start and end points. These tiny aircraft have limits on the amount of weight that be carried. So even it’s a rafting trip where there is plenty of space in the boats, the number of pounds of excess gear is still a concern. Even photography-specific trips are limited. Any time you are in the backcountry, you will have to carry your gear, so it’s got to be compact and light enough that you can get it where it needs to go, quickly, and without fuss. I often find it helpful to run the numbers. How many pounds of total gear can I handle? For example, on backpacking trips I know that the most weight I can carry comfortably for extended periods without risking injury is around 70 lbs (31.75 kg). If non-photography gear weighs 60 (27.2 kg), then I’ve got 10 (4.5 kg) to play with (though I’m always happier with less!). For the guided trips I lead, we set a weight limit on our clients which is necessary to keep our cargo...

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Mongolian Eagle Hunters: Stunning Portraits of a 4,000-Year-Old Tradition

Posted by on Apr 2, 2016 in canon, Featured, Food, Photography Tips, portrait, Wildlife

Mongolian Eagle Hunters: Stunning Portraits of a 4,000-Year-Old Tradition

Following a text from fellow photographer and videographer Cale Glendening, Sasha Leahovcenco got the chance of a lifetime to travel to the mysterious land of Mongolia (which he referred to as a “bucket list country”) and take a step back in time. When I say back in time, I mean a place where dinners are cooked in a clay house over an open flame, where cell phones and modern conveniences like TV and the internet are not commonplace. This is a land where for more than 4000 years, the families and people have been tracking and hunting wildlife with eagles they trapped and trained from the wild. They do this, not only as a way to carry on tradition, but as a way to provide food and clothing for their families in this stunning, but harsh environment. While on a trip from a commission for a news agency, a small group of friends were able to live with and partake in the life few have seen with such closeness. Chatting with Sasha, one of the things that came up was this idea of being involved. What allowed these kinds of intimate photos to take place was that Sasha and the team decided to live with the hunters and their families for a week while doing the photos. Sasha spoke about the experience of the shoot saying, “I think you always go into situations like this where people live without the ‘luxuries’ we have like cell phones and computers expecting to impact them or influence them in some way. What has ALWAYS happened to me though is that they seriously impact me. Their love of simple life and traditions moved me.” [RELATED: MASTER YOUR USE OF LIGHT WITH THE LIGHTING 101 COURSE] The Setup The setup of the entire shoot was relatively simple by design. Sasha said he likes to travel light, but also doesn’t like to have an intense setup that distracts from the story. The 35″ Octabox from Paul C. Buff, powered by the Alien Bee B800 made setup quick, and the large, soft light made for a perfect contrast to the stark and bare surroundings. The main light source was typically placed a few feet from the subject at a typical “down at a 45” setup. Complete Gear List: Main bag: ThinkTank Airport Security 2.0 Shoulder bag: ThinkTank Retrospective 30 Camera: Canon 5D Mark III Lens: Canon 24-70mm II Main Light: 35″ Octabox with AlienBees B800 Battery pack: Vagabond Mini 120VAC Light stand: 10-foot light stand [rewind: ONE LIGHT, ONE PHOTOGRAPHER. SHOOTING DRAMATIC PORTRAITS WITHOUT AN ASSISTANT] To see more of Sasha’s work, check out his personal site here. Images by Sasha Leahovcenco Director/Organizer Cale Glendening Images edited by PRATIK NAIK CREDITS: Photographs by Sasha Leahovcenco are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify, or re-post this article or image...

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Sony Releases A 50mm 1.8 & 70-300mm Full-Frame Lenses & The RX10 III

Posted by on Mar 30, 2016 in Bokeh, canon, Featured, Photography Tips, portrait, sony, Wildlife

Sony Releases A 50mm 1.8 & 70-300mm Full-Frame Lenses & The RX10 III

This is one of those weeks that Sony users can and will be smirking and gloating after this news of new lenses, because first, Sigma announced their Sigma-to-Sony FE adapter series which would have Sigma lenses behave like native Sony lenses on Sony cameras like the vaunted A7RII, and that meant 15 Sigma lenses, including the much-adored Art series glass, would be able to be used on Alpha cams. Sony FE 50mm 1.8 I truly hesitate to say the term ‘game changer’ for fear of watering down its meaning, but I just did, because it is. If you wanted a high quality, fast 50mm for your A7, you’d likely have to go with the Sony Sonnar T* Zeiss 55mm 1.8, a great lens in its own right, but at around $1k, not inexpensive. Sigma’s release opened up new avenues, making it possible to use the beloved, and faster, 50mm 1.4 Art on your Sony for less than the Sonnar. Now, if even that’s a bit rich for your blood, or you want something smaller and perhaps more casual without the need of an adapter, Sony has finally released the FE 50mm 1.8, and they’ve priced it at a very competitive $250. It comes in at a weight of less than 7oz, even with a solid metal mount, with an aspherical element Sony suggests will rid the lens of aberration problems, and thus lending to sharp images and higher resolving power. It also has a 7-blade circular aperture for a soft and round bokeh and a DC AF motor. The lens will be available in May, and you can get B&H to notify you precisely when, which is recommended. Get yours here. This means that Sony is now offering well-priced fast prime natives to their system, only needing to be rounded out by an 85. Sony 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS This Sony 70-300mm immediately becomes the longest focal length E-Mount lens yet, and it’s clearly being aimed at Canon’s EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS USM. The new Sony telephoto is a touch slower on the short end but the same racked out, and the Sony comes in a hair’s breadth cheaper at $1200 versus $1250 of the Canon. How it compares in the field will be interesting to see, but perhaps more interesting is how much desire there is for a lens like this to begin with. That said, the Sony comes with four aspherical glass elements, 2 Extra-Low Dispersion elements and Sony’s own Nano AR coating, which are all technical names given to feature that are meant to solve the issues of aberration that’s both spherical and chromatic, and distortion. At 300mm, it’s the first FE lens to reach that focal length, but it’s also surprisingly decent for close objects with a minimum focusing distance of around 3 feet. Find it here. [REWIND: SONY A7II | PROOF SIZE ISN’T EVERYTHING,...

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3 Reasons Why Mirrorless Cameras are Better than Digital SLRs for Focusing

Posted by on Mar 30, 2016 in canon, Featured, landscape, nikon, pentax, Photography Tips, portrait, sony, Wildlife

3 Reasons Why Mirrorless Cameras are Better than Digital SLRs for Focusing

A lot has been written about the drawbacks of autofocus performance from mirrorless cameras. Most of this focuses on the tracking of moving subjects – an area where the phase detection autofocus found in digital SLRs is still superior (although the gap is closing). But when it comes to focusing on still subjects, the mirrorless camera is a better tool. Surprised? If you’ve never used a mirrorless camera, you may be. Let’s take a look at the reasons why. 1. Phase detection versus contrast detect autofocus Mirrorless cameras have a different autofocus system than digital SLRs. In a digital SLR most of the light coming through the lens is reflected up by the mirror, into the pentaprism and through the viewfinder. A small part is deflected downwards to a dedicated autofocus sensor. It uses a system called phase detection autofocus to calculate the camera to subject distance, and tell the lens where to focus. The red lines in this diagram show the path that light takes through an SLR camera with the mirror in the down position. Most of the light is reflected into the pentaprism and the viewfinder. Part of it is reflected downwards towards the autofocus sensor. The advantage of phase detection autofocus is that it’s fast (generally speaking – but it also depends on which camera you have) and very good at tracking moving subjects. It’s the best system anyone has managed to come up with for an SLR camera. However, phase detection autofocus has a significant weakness – lack of accuracy. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that most digital SLRs have a combination of cross-type and single line autofocus points. Cross-type autofocus points are the most accurate, and should always be used when focus is critical (for example, when using a prime lens at its widest aperture), otherwise the camera may not focus where it is supposed to. Your camera’s manual will tell you which of its AF points are cross-type. Whenever you use a non cross-type autofocus point, you cannot rely on the camera to focus accurately. This is fine when using small apertures, which give you plenty of margin for error, but not when focus and accuracy is critical. The second reason is to do with camera and lens calibration. Even when you use a cross-type autofocus point your camera may not focus exactly where it is supposed to. For accurate focus, every part of your camera setup – from the autofocus sensor, to lens and autofocus motors that tell the lens where to focus – must be working in perfect harmony. It only takes a small degree of misalignment to throw the accuracy of the system out. Most of the time you won’t notice, because there is sufficient depth-of-field to make the focusing inaccuracies irrelevant. But if you use a wide aperture, especially with a telephoto lens,...

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9 Things You Need to Know to Become a Nature Photographer

Posted by on Mar 29, 2016 in Featured, landscape, Photography Tips, Wildlife

9 Things You Need to Know to Become a Nature Photographer

Nature photography is a very popular field to be involved in. That’s no surprise though, as it gets you outdoors and seeing our planet in a way that others may miss. When I first started as a nature photographer, I began to see things differently. It sounds cliché, but I paid more attention to my surroundings and saw things from different angles. This tutorial will look at some of the most important things to keep in mind if you are looking to become a nature photographer. #1 You’ve got to love it Luckily this isn’t a very hard thing to adhere to, but you must love nature to excel at capturing it on camera. Nature photographers spend a lot of time outdoors. If you’re a landscape photographer, you’ll spend lots of your time hiking through scenic areas for just a few clicks of the shutter. Wildlife photographers often spend hours and hours sitting in one place, waiting for an animal to appear. Without the passion and drive behind you, this can be mind-numbing. So it’s not for everyone, but if you’re reading this article, then chances are you have that interest programmed within you already! #2 Be different While it’s great that nature photography is so popular, this brings with it one big challenge – everybody is doing it. This means you need to figure out how you can be different (assuming you want your photos to be noticed). This could be anything from focusing, and specializing on a single family or species of animal, to developing an artistic quirk and style in your photography. Personally, I spend a lot of my time photographing red squirrels – thousands of hours actually, to give you some idea. All this time has allowed me to learn about the animal, and capture behaviour that others have not managed. #3 Take risks By taking risks I mean with your time, not necessarily something dangerous to your wellbeing. As the saying, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” suggests, if you don’t take risks then you are unlikely to capture those truly mesmerizing images. Recently in the North of England, there was a display of the aurora borealis. Typically, it is hard to predict this phenomenon, and the available forecasts only look an hour ahead. It can finish as quickly as it starts, so planning for such an event is not really possible. I decided that I wanted to capture the Northern Lights with a particular castle in the foreground, but it was over two hours away. Nevertheless, at 2 a.m. I dropped everything, and raced off to the coast. When I arrived the display was weakening, but I waited a further two hours and the lights erupted in front of me. I got home at 8 a.m., but it was well worth it. I’m particularly pleased with this result as photographing the Aurora Borealis can be...

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