Sunday, April 1, 2007
Wings Of Spring
Try these 10 tips from renowned professional Tom Vezo and get your best avian images this spring
2 Know your location. Find out what awaits you before you even start photographing. "What do the backgrounds look like?" says Vezo. "For me, the backgrounds are as important as the subjects. If they’re too confusing or bright, I usually won’t shoot in the area. I’ll look where the light is coming from. For most of my photography, I like to keep the light behind me."
A little planning will allow for the best lighting of colors and feather patterns. But there’s more to prepare for than photography. Vezo stresses the need to be conscious of the difficulties, the terrain and the weather that one may encounter.
3 Lens choice. For effective bird photography, Vezo recommends a lens with a bare minimum 400mm focal length and with the fastest ƒ-stop you can afford. His standard lens is a Canon 600mm ƒ/4 lens planted securely on a Gitzo carbon-fiber tripod with a Wimberley tripod head, and even then, he sometimes adds a 1.4x or 2x teleconverter for added reach.
4 Accessories. A compartmented vest makes for easy-to-reach gear, and Vezo feels it’s much more convenient than a backpack. His 8x Steiner binoculars are a constant companion, saving him many a long walk. Vezo uses a Visual Echoes Flash X-tender to throw his flash’s light farther and stronger. A beanbag always comes in handy to steady a lens if shooting from an awkward place.
5 Learn to be patient. Vezo shoots shot after shot of the same subject, working patiently to ensure he gets the best possible photos of his animated subjects. "Some of the slightest variations in the photo can make a difference between a good one or a great one," he says.
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