Tuesday, September 3, 2013
The Many Looks From Telezooms
Daniel J. Cox took an 80-400mm telezoom to the Galápagos to have a single lens that could create a tight portrait or back off to photograph behavior
The tight portrait makes the animal's personality come alive and encourages viewers to take an intimate look into the detailed beauty of the animal itself.
When done correctly, with proper optics, you'll see the tiniest of feathers, the wispiest of lines radiating out from the pupil or calcium-based keratin flaking off the beak. Discovering the most delicate details is like solving a mystery, seeing more than you can imagine, all of it right before your eyes. Only the highest-caliber optics can resolve this.
Another helpful option for making the most of zoom lenses is to use the back-focus button on most current cameras. The key to gaining the benefits of the back AF button is to make certain you disable the front shutter AF first. The default setting on all cameras is to initiate focus by pushing halfway down on the front shutter-release button. The idea is to remove AF from the front and exclusively rely on the rear AF Start button to initiate focus.
Without disabling the front AF, pressing the shutter to take the picture will refocus the lens after you already used the rear AF to set your focus. If the front AF isn't turned off, the two buttons are fighting each other and effectively canceling each other out. Using the rear AF Start button is even more important when using a zoom. It allows you to compose your subject more effectively. The rear AF Start button lets you point the AF sensor at your subject, push to focus, release to lock the AF, recompose, and shoot a more professional composition. Many photographers use a similar technique by holding the front shutter button down halfway. That works, but the rear AF is much easier because you don't need to delicately hold a button halfway.
Another advantage to the back-focus AF is being able to leave your camera in Predictive AF or AI Servo at all times. Using the back AF button is very similar to having your camera set to Single Shot AF when needed, with the added ability to change to Predictive AF instantaneously. When capturing a stationary subject, pressing the back AF button to focus, then releasing to lock, you now have replicated the camera's Single Shot AF option even though you're technically in Predictive/AI Servo. When your subject starts to run or fly and the action gets heated, your camera is already in Predictive AF; by simply pushing the back AF button, initiating Predictive or AI Servo now easily tracks your fleeting subject.
See more of Daniel J. Cox's photography at www.naturalexposures.com.
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