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7 years, 4 months ago 0

The image above is from one of my favorite bird photographers, Wayne Bennett. He is gong to be one of six instructors at the Moab Event, in October with Scott Kelby. This isn’t an ad, it’s already sold out. I just love showing Wayne’s work, he is a great shooter and a dear friend.

Today I would like to do a little Tech Friday on Thursday. The question many photographers ask me is how do you know when it is time to buy a long telephoto lens and which one should I buy.
It’s a good question, so let’s talk about it.

First, what is a long piece of glass? The so called normal lens on most film cameras was a 50mm lens. The 50mm refers to the lenses focal length, which is a measurement of the lens elements in the system. On a film camera a 50mm lens made a photograph where objects were approximately the same size as seen with the naked eye. This would also hold true for digital cameras with sensors the same size as a piece of 35mm film. In the Nikon system some cameras have what are called DX sensors (currently D90, D300s, D40, D60, etc.), on those cameras, because the sensor is smaller, the “effective” focal length of a lens “appears” to be 1.5 times longer. For example, on a D90 with a DX sensor a 50mm focal length lens would produce and image in which the main subject would be 1.5 times larger than with the FX (35mm size) sensor, or like a 75mm lens.
This applies only to “apparent” magnification. Though it appears to lengthen a lenses focal length, it doesn’t, it simply crops out a smaller part of the scene.

So what effect does focal length have on the resulting image? If you photograph a person from ten feet with a 50mm lens on a FX sensor camera, the person would appear approx. the same size in the image as what you saw with you eyes. With a 100mm lens, the person apparent size would double. At 200mm, the person would double again, at 400mm they would double once again.
So every time the focal length doubles the subject size in the image doubles as well. Keep in mind with the DX sensored camera the subject starts out 1.5 times larger than you would expect because the lens and sensor size “crops” the image to 1.5 times larger. After that the same would be true about doubling of image size as the focal length doubles.

So when do you need a longer lens? When you want to get closer to the subject but may not be able to move physically closer. For instance if your in a Range Rover in Africa and want a closer shot of the lions face, but can’t (or shouldn’t) get out of the vehicle and walk up closer. The closer you want the subject to appear in the image, the longer the focal length.

Here are some common subjects and the focal length range most often used to photograph them;

Wildlife, mammals: 200mm to 600mm and beyond.
Wildlife, birds: 300mm to 600mm and beyond.
Sports: 180mm to 600mm and beyond.
Portraits of people: 85mm to 200mm.
Landscape photography: 70mm to 400mm.

This is a very limited list and opinions will vary widely on what lenses are best, but these can serve as starting point.

One thing is for sure, long glass is expensive and big. A 600mm f4 lens can cost up to $12,000.
and is a very large and heavy piece of glass. Consider carefully just what you will use a piece of long glass for, it’s a big investment. The Nikon 200-400 f4 VR lens is a favorite because it’s relative cost, around $6,000. is more reasonable, (a relative term), and it has a great range of focal lengths built into one lens. Also keep in mind that if you own a DX sensor camera the 200-400 would produce images much as if it were a 400-600 lens!

Long lenses are fun and expensive, so choose wisely. By-the-way, my long lens? I carry the
small Nikon 70-300 AFS VR lens (about $550.). It is a 70-300 on my FX cameras and a
105-450 equivalent on my DX sensor cameras. I find it covers almost all my long glass needs, is affordable, very sharp and if you break it, does not require a second mortgage on the house to
replace! Food for thought.

More food for thought, God loves you, love Him back…………….

the pilgrim

7 years, 4 months ago 0

I’m really proud to work for Nikon. Nikon has had a long tradition of supporting and providing photographic educational opportunities to the world of photography. I don’t usually go off about my company in this blog, but it makes me really happy to see what our company does to help great young people like these have the chance to learn more about shooting.

The Western Kentucky University team does a great job putting this workshop together and
Nikon is a major contributor to the effort.

Now what does this have to do with faith? Actually quite a lot. While we cannot earn our salvation, we certainly need to show how much we appreciate it in the way we help others. One of the great joys in life is seeing others lifted up by our efforts. Seeing these young people live out a dream this week serves is a good reminder of how much we can contribute to others, if we will only make the effort!

the pilgrim

7 years, 5 months ago 0

I took my grandson, Elijah, to an air show on Saturday this past weekend, he was mostly interested in the inflatable play area. I got this shot of him preparing to do battle with another young man on the jousting contest, inflatable.

When we grow up our battles are not over. If you are a regular reader of the Pilgrim’s Chronicles you know what this blog is all about, but just in case you just dropped in, let me explain. The process of committing your life to Christ and then walking in fellowship with Him is not a make believe world. In the real world there is a God, He’s real, and He is the ultimate Good. Unfortunately there is also evil. The enemy, Satan, is very real. While God’s desire for your life is for you to live it abundantly, the enemy’s goal is your destruction. Now the ultimate battle of good and evil was fought and decided long ago. The final outcome is decided. When Christ gave up His life to die on the cross, He defeated the enemy.

If you believe and have committed your life to Christ, then your eternal destiny is not in question, however you must still live in this world and it is still influenced by that same enemy. Even if you belong to Christ, the enemy can try to defeat you here and now, while you’re still living in this world. Our mission is to deny the enemy any foothold in our lives.

While you can be tempted and may even fall and stumble, the enemy cannot defeat you. The enemy is called the great deceiver, and honesty is not in him. He will lie to you and fill you with fear, and suspicion for others. You must resist those efforts and hold fast to your faith.

One of the enemy’s greatest deceptions is to convince world that he does not even exist. What a masterful plan. Why would you pay any attention to an enemy that is not even there. If you fall into that trap, he already has a foothold in your life. Can you really look at the world we live in and see all the terrible things we have done to one another and doubt the existence of evil? You can make up any excuse you want for the fall of man, but when you boil it all down, it was explained to us long ago by a man named Jesus.

Get to know Him and you will have victory over this world. Are you ready to do battle?

the pilgrim

7 years, 5 months ago 0

One of the great things about a daily walk with God is; He will change you. I was assigned by Nikon to attend and assist with a conference held at Western Kentucky University for minority high school students with dreams of becoming photojournalists. Ten bright, young students were chosen to be immersed in photography for four and half days under the capable tutelage of Barry Gutiearrez, a Pulitzer Prize Winning photojournalist, from Denver, Colorado, http://barrygutierrez.com/ and James Kenney, Department Head of Photojournalism for Western Kentucky University. A number of great WKU students are also assisting with the administration of the workshop.

To be honest, I had no idea what to expect. What I’ve experienced so far has been a pleasant surprise. Barry has been artfully and effectively giving these students a good lesson in the better attributes of being a photojournalist. Barry has been quick to emphasize that a good photojournalist does not approach a story with an agenda, but rather with and open mind and empathy for the subject. This morning he told about covering a story about a young soldier that had been given leave to come home to see his newly born daughter, but volunteered for one last mission before leaving for home. He was killed by a sniper on that mission. The image that Barry captured, with the full approval of the family, was among the most powerful I’ve ever seen. What impressed me the most was the lengths he went to to be sure the family approved. If you go to his website above, it will show that image fourth in the opening slide show, of this young soldier in the casket with the photograph of his daughter tucked into his dress uniform opening at the chest.

The gulf between what we all believe to be self evident truths, is wide and varied, but the need to treat others with respect and kindness should not ever be a gulf between any of us.

I started my career as a photojournalist, and by the time I left the profession, I was pretty disgusted with the whole thing. The last major story I covered was the Scotia Mine Disaster in which 25 men died in an underground coal mine explosion. A day later 20 more men, in a rescue team, were killed in a second explosion. As a young photojournalist covering the story, I watched countless helicopters, all the networks, and hundreds of reports and photographers descend on this tiny Virginia community. The behavior of many of my cohorts in crime was disappointing, to the say the least. I left the profession, shortly after this assignment, with a pretty good level of disgust.

Today, I changed my mind, o.k. maybe God changed my mind. I saw one good man, doing good things, for the right reasons, and then sharing it with some deserving young people that need to know, this side of the story, of photojournalism.

Thank you Lord for reminding me what I once loved about being a a photojournalist. I can only hope that more men and women that care, and want to show compassion in telling their stories will step forward, and help others to follow their path.

As a follower of Christ, I can do nothing more important than to offer His love and compassion to others. Thanks Barry, for the powerful reminder.

the pilgrim