telephoto lens

Albuquerque up close from far away with Sandias

Albuquerque up close from far away with Sandias

ABQ in long view

If are a subscriber to my business Facebook Page, then you see my regular Facebook Live videos from the many rural land real estate shoots I am on in remote northwest Rio Rancho and the unique views that area offers. Through the eye of my telephoto lens, you can see nearly all of Albuquerque and Rio Rancho sprawled out at the feet of the Sandia Mountains.

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Cormorant of La Jolla California bird photography

Cormorant of La Jolla California bird photography

Get the background and the bird right

In La Jolla, California I was pleasantly surprised to have the opportunity to do bird photography. I knew there would be a chance for seal photos, but having birds also was great. I miss the bird photography I could do almost anywhere in Florida. Check out this anhinga for example. What makes a good bird photograph (or any photograph) assuming you have a good looking bird as the subject? Then for a bird photo to stand out it is a matter of having good light (it was only so-so in this shot) and having a good background. The latter made up for the former in the above shot with the creamy bokeh created by my Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 G2 lens. The blue in the bokeh is the Pacific Ocean.

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Photography Tip - use a telephoto lens for subjects that are close to you, not just far away

Many of the 155+ photography tips I have posted on my site come from the over 300+ one-on-one photography lessons I have taught over the past five years.  From a photography student's question, or from something I teach in the field, I find things that can make for a photography tip blog post.  Such is the case with the subject matter of this photography tip.  During a recent 1-on-1 photography lesson I had a student switch from a wide angle lens to a telephoto lens to help fill the frame with a subject and to make the background disappear and become bokeh.  This is something that I have had every photography student do during lessons, but only upon reading email feedback from this particular student did it occur to me that it may not be obvious to use a telephoto lens to photograph subjects that are close or even very close to you.

Using a telephoto lens for subjects that are close creates bokeh easily and adds another use for a long lens.He told me that he had not thought to use his 70-300mm lens for subjects that were close to him before, but only rather for subjects that were far away.  He went on to say this changed his entire perspective on using that lens.  Thus, I decided to make it a photography tip so that in case anyone else has not necessarily used their telephoto lens for close subjects before can do so and get the benefits of using a lens with a long focal length on a subject close to the photographer.

In the above portrait example, the model was very close to where I was standing, but I still used the lens' maximum focal length of 200mm to create a more personal composition and also of course bokeh in the background.  So try going out this weekend with your telephoto lens and photograph close by subjects and let me know the results. 

Photography Tip - use a monopod with your DSLR and telephoto lens

For a very simple piece of photography gear, a monopod is very useful in many different ways.  Traditionally, a monopod is used by sports and wildlife photographers who shoot with large, heavy telephoto lenses.  Using a monopod with such a setup it suddenly becomes weightless, something you can balance in place with one finger.  If you are shooting with a lens that has a lens collar (see above photo, which allows one to attach the monopod to the lens not the camera body) then using a monopod is highly recommended for prolonged shooting.  If your lens does not have a lens collar available, but the weight of holding even a non-f/2.8 telephoto lens or sub-500mm lens is taxing, then a monopod will help with that also.

Other ways you can make use of a monopod even without a telephoto lens?  You can shoot from a very high perspective by elevating the camera way up in the air holding the monopod at its bottom most point.  You can see photographers trying to get shots of someone surrounded by a group of people using this technique.  

Also, if you are shooting in a low light situation, but there is not space for the large footprint of a tripod, then a monopod will add a lot of stability helping reduce camera shake, especially in the vertical axis.  

How do you use your monopod?