Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thoughts on subects and focal lengths

Just a short entry today, some thoughts on subjects, and different ways of looking at them. When taking pictures I often take time to think about what I'm looking at, and if there is a better way of looking at the subject(s). Sometimes you don't have the ability to get the perspective you want due to any number of issues, like not having a wide, or long enough focal length, maybe you cannot get close enough, but you still want to get the shot anyhow. In those situations there isn't a lot to do, although there are options for shooting wide pictures without having a wide angel lens, such as stitching photos together to make a panorama.

For me, I find that more often than not, I cannot get close enough to the subject, especially with birds. Since I am not making any money with my photography the idea of spending several thousand dollars on a 500mm lens is out of the question, so what can I do? Most of the time I have to do some cropping with images from my 300mm F4 Nikkor, but sometimes I'm lucky and the subject comes close to me! I find that happens more often if I notice a good location, such as in the image to the right. There were three or four photographers waiting around to get shots of this Anna's hummingbird, in fact I sat around for three or four hours to get just over 200 shots, of which only 10-15 were really any good, sometimes due to the fact that my SB-800 didn't recycle fast enough.

In a situation like this one, framing the photo was very difficault because the mother would often land on a different spot on the nest each time she came with food for the babies. Due to the speed of the situation, as she would only be on the nest a few minutes at a time, re-framing the shot each time wasn't really an option, so I had to do some cropping of the image. I am very pleased with the results though, considering it was the first time I shot hummingbirds. It was an honor to capture such a powerful moment.