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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Best Lens For Macro

Lenses That Get You Close • Stabilizing On Monopods And Tripods • Remote Camera Control • The Wildflower Photographer’s Toolbox

Labels: How-ToColumnTech Tips
Recently, some new wireless setups have hit the market; these employ camera transmitters that speak to phones or tablets. I'm using a great new system from CamRanger (www.camranger.com), where I connect the transmitter to the camera's mini-USB port and it sends a signal to my Apple iPad. I can see the "Live View" and control the camera and the lens focus. This connection is good up to 150 feet. Another system you might look into is onOne Software's DSLR Camera Remote (www.ononesoftware.com). From either a laptop connected directly to the camera or from the manufacturer's expensive WiFi transmitter, you can control the camera wirelessly from your tablet or smartphone.

The Wildflower Photographer's Toolbox
When you read this there will be flowers popping up all over the place. In the Southwest, they will be in full bloom, while in other parts of the country, the temperatures will just be getting warm enough to get the plants sprouting. April is prime time for wildflowers near the Central Coast of California where I spent nearly 30 years pursuing images. There seems to be more moisture this year in that area so I'll be back on my knees and belly capturing their color.

Aside from cameras and lenses, a number of tools are important to me when I'm photographing wildflowers. As I get older, knee pads are among the most important! I find these in the local hardware store, and if I forget to pack them, they're easily replaced near my destination. (I now have three sets.) Also useful is a 3x4-foot moisture-proof cloth; mine is black ripstop. I also use it to cover myself and my iPad when I'm looking at images in the field or as a black background when the area behind the subject is too busy or bright. A small knife with scissors is needed to trim out the occasional dead twig or finished flower to save time in postprocessing. No, I'm not a purist.

A right-angle viewfinder is a photographic tool especially useful for wildflower photography. It keeps me from having to dig a hole to get low enough to see through the camera when working at ground level. Most camera manufacturers offer this accessory, or check out the aftermarket finders from Hoodman (www.hoodmanusa.com). Actually, the CamRanger wireless camera I described can help you here, as well. I'll be putting mine to work this spring for low-angle flower shots. Don't forget a focusing slider or rail, available in simple form or as an adjustable two-axis rail from Really Right Stuff (reallyrightstuff.com). With higher magnification close-ups, it's easier to precisely slide the camera/lens than it is to move a tripod/camera/lens a few millimeters to achieve your focus and framing.

Speaking of getting low and keeping the background clean, I recommend the Wimberley Plamp (www.tripodhead.com) to either immobilize a subject or hold back something you don't want in the photograph. With an accessory from Thompson Photographic Accessories (www.fmsmacrosystems.com), you can add a spike or diffuser/reflector clamp to the end of the Plamp.

We'll finish this off with my choices for low tripods, the best of which is the Really Right Stuff Ground Level tripod. My other regular tripod is the Gitzo Explorer (www.gitzo.com), which comes in a number of versions. This tripod will steady a camera all the way down to ground level. It's the best all-around nature tripod available today, especially if macro is part of your agenda.

Follow George Lepp's exploits, see his latest photographs and be part of the discussion on his Facebook page: www.facebook.com/georgelepp. And Lepp is now a part of the OP Blog on our website, www.outdoorphotographer.com/blog/author/glepp.


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