Photography News Issue 41

Photography News | Issue 41 | absolutephoto.com

Technique 25

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Get creativewith your long lenses Five simple projects to shoot with your telephoto lens – get out there and try them today! PART 3

1 Look for the details

Landscapes aren’t just the preserve of wide-angle lenses; telephotos bring great benefits, like picking out small compositions in the wider scene and compressing perspective, to pack more into the frame to create textured studies. They work especially well from high vantage points, looking down on a landscape. With the camera set to aperture-priority (A or Av) frame up, and set a middling to small aperture like f/11 or f/14. Switch on your image stabilisation and check the shutter speed. If it’s much less than the focal length, increase the ISO to compensate. 2 Take a telephoto landscape

Telephoto lenses are great for travel and candid photography because they let you pick out small details in confusing scenes; if you’re in a busy environment, they can simplify things nicely. To find those details, set a long focal length, and make sure you have image stabilisation switched on as the light may be low or changeable. In aperture-priority mode (A or Av), set a medium aperture like f/5.6 or f/8, and a medium ISO of 400-800. Focus up on your subject, composing to remove any clutter and shoot away.

A lot of telephoto technique is about minimising camera movement to get the sharpest results, but intentional camera movement can create great pictures, especially if you’re able to follow moving subjects – a technique called panning. Using shutter-priority mode 3 Try a telephoto panning shot

(S or Tv), set a shutter speed of between 1/15sec and 1/60sec. For fast moving subjects, like cars, you can set a high speed; for slow-moving subjects, a slow speed. Focus on the subject (continuous AF is good here), and follow smoothly, firing off a shot as it passes your position.

5 Shoot a telephoto portrait

4 Shoot themoon

To easily blur the background in a portrait, frame up on your subject using one of the longer focal lengths you lens allows. Now switch to aperture-priority mode (A or Av) and dial in a wide aperture. You can use the longest setting and widest aperture, but, as mentioned previously, quality can be better if you throttle back a little. Now focus on the subject, shoot and you’ll find them nicely isolated against a blurred background. If you need more blur, try positioning them further from the background and closer to the camera.

Shooting the moon is a great use of your telephoto lens, but if you’ve ever tried you’ll know it’s quite tricky to do. The first problem is that the moon is smaller in the sky than you might think; about the size of your thumbnail if you hold it up at arms’ length. To get around this problem, you’ll need a very long focal length of 500-600mm, enlarging the moon to a decent size. Each 100mm gives the moon (and the sun) a size of 1mm on the sensor, ie a 500mm lens gives a moon 5mm across. To avoid shake, set your camera on a tripod, and in manual mode (M) dial start with f/8 and a shutter speed of 1/250sec, at ISO 400 – the moon gets a similar level of light from the sun as we do. Focus and shoot, then assess the results. If the moon is too bright, increase the shutter speed, and if it’s too dark, increase the ISO.

Next month In the second part of our Ultimate Guide to Lenses we take a look at wide-angles with what to look for when buying, how to improve results from them, and creative projects to try.

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