While many of you might think this new tip from my good buddy, Ossian, is more for beginners, take a look at the image above. The exposure and composition are hardly the mark of an amateur. In fact, it's one of my favorites from Ossian's portfolio.
My point is, every one of Ossian's tips are great reminders for beginners right along with professionals who are some times just moving too fast and need to remember some of the basics.
There's a new trip coming up in November to Argentina and it's one of Ossian's favorites. Imagine how good your skill set is going to get spending a week with an artist like Ossian, not to mention the fun of a trip like this and the comradery with other photographers. Just click the link below for more information.
When beginners buy their first long lens, they always have high expectations. It's as if owning great glass is going to suddenly raise the quality of their images. What often happens is that after their first outing they find many, or all of their photos are blurred. The results are disappointing and far from those expected. Too often the poor images are the result of shooting at too slow a shutter speed.
Shooting with a telephoto lens is NOT the same as working with a wide angle lens. You've got to pay more attention to your shutter speed to obtain great results.
I know this might be basic for many of you, but let's go back to a very simple rule in photography, “The Reciprocal Rule.” The basics of this rule are simply if you’re hand-holding your camera, your shutter speed should not be slower than the reciprocal of your effective focal length to avoid “camera shake”.
It sounds complicated, but it is very easy to apply. For example, if you are shooting with a Canon 5D Full Frame with a 50 mm lens, your shutter speed must not be lower than 1/50 sec. If you shoot with a 100 mm telephoto, your shutter speed should not be lower than 1/100 sec and so on.
But here's one other aspect of the rule - the rule says “The effective focal length,” which means you have to consider the “crop factor” of your camera. For example, if you are shooting with a Nikon D7100 that has an APS-C sensor with a crop factor of 1.5x your safe speed for a 100 mm will not be 1/100 anymore, now it's 100 x 1.5. So, your safe speed will be 1/150. If you are shooting with many of Panasonic's LUMIX cameras with micro 4/3's sensors, your crop factor now is 2.0x. Your safe shutter speed, when you shoot at 100 mm, for example, goes up to 1/200.
Remember though, if you put your camera on a tripod this rule does not apply, because your tripod avoids the camera shake. And, one more reminder, this rule works when you have a still subject, but when you are shooting wildlife things change. Your shutter speed should go up dramatically because you want to freeze the action. See my post about “Shooting hummingbirds”.
The image above: This photo was taken in the region I live in NorthWest Argentina. Usually when I shoot landscapes I use a tripod, but here I was walking around this lagoon with a Sigma 150 - 500 mm without a tripod because my intention was to get a good shot of a flamingo in flight . Suddenly the light became terrific. There was a storm in the background, black volcanic lava to add drama, no wind on the water, superb reflections and the grass in the foreground.
I choose a high shutter speed because I wanted to avoid any chance of camera shake: 1/800 sec. Then I chose a small aperture to get a wide depth of field f /16