Choosing the Right Lens

The most common question I hear upon arriving on scene at nearly every photo workshop photo opportunity is;

“Hey Jeff, what lens should I use?”

Palouse-Barn-01-sm
Palouse Barn | 105mm | 1/250sec @ f/8 ISO 400

In most cases, I’ll recommend the lens that will provide the best composition, but I always encourage the attendees to bring along a couple of different lenses to create different variations of the scene. Nearly every landscape will provide opportunities for wide-angle, normal, and close-ups interpretations.

Palouse Barn  300mm  1/160 sec @ f/8  ISO 400
Palouse Barn | 300mm | 1/160 sec @ f/8 ISO 400

During one of my recent Palouse Photography Workshops, our group was up before sunrise to capture the first light on the iconic Palouse Barn. Being respectful of the freshly sprouted Winter Wheat, we remained on the shoulder of the highway and used a variety of different lenses and perspectives to quickly compose and capture various images this amazing barn at dawn.

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Palouse Barn | 11mm | 1/250sec @ f/16 ISO 200

Changing position, lenses, and framing creates a diverse collection of images, but it requires vision, dexterity, and the discipline not to “over-capture” 30-40 frames of the same exact scene. By coaching attendees to change their location and focal length, they all captured a comprehensive collection of the Palouse Barn and the surrounding wheat fields in pristine early morning light.

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For more information on the  2015 Palouse Photography Workshops, visit the Workshops page at www.jeffreymgreene.com .
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10 Essential Items For Your Camera Bag

When hiking and camping in the wilderness every experienced outdoorsman packs their “10 Essentials“, the basic necessities required to survive in case of an emergency.  For photographers I would like to recommend the following 10 Camera Bag Essentials. In addition to my camera, lenses, and flash, these are items that I keep in my bag at all times so that I can “Be Prepared” for any situation.

1. Extra Batteries

IMG_0002 (800x602)I always carry an extra camera battery, AAs for the flash, and “button” batteries for my intervolumeter.

2. Extra Memory Cards

IMG_0004 (800x576)

Got a few smaller 2GB cards that you don’t use much anymore? Keep them in your bag for the rare occasion you might forget your memory card case.

3. Headlamp

IMG_0005 (800x525)I prefer a headlamp since it allows me to work with both hands in the dark. I also prefer the type that offers a “red lamp” option. It offers enough illumination to work in the dark while still preserving my night vision.

4. Multi-tool

IMG_0019 (658x800)I own a bunch of these, but my black anodized Leatherman is my favorite. Crucial for field repairs and adjustments.

5. Remote Release

IMG_0035 (800x426)It makes no sense to mount your camera on a tripod only to trigger the shutter by hand because you forgot your remote release. Keep it in your bag. (Hint: If you don’t have a release, use your 2-second timer to trigger the camera. This works great for landscapes, but not so much for action.)

6. Polarizing Filter

IMG_0040 (800x533)A circular polarizing filter is absolutely essential for every outdoor and landscape photographer. It enhances photos by reducing unwanted glare and reflections allowing the underlying colors to appear. It separates the amateurs from the pros and you can not replicate it’s effect in Photoshop.

7. Business Cards

IMG_0051If you’re a pro, semi-pro, or even just an avid enthusiast, carry some business cards with your contact info. You never know when a potential buyer might inquire about viewing your work. Be sure to include your phone number, email, and website.

8. Microfiber Cloth

IMG_0053 (800x502)I keep several microfiber cloths in my bag and one in my pocket at all times. They’re great for cleaning my eyeglasses, lenses, and smartphone screen.

9. Wide Rubber Bands 

IMG_0059 (800x510)I always carry several #84 rubber bands in my bag since they are 1/2″ wide and very handy for a myriad of uses. Here are few examples:
Mounting attachments to a flash | Bundling cords and cables | Removing stubborn filters from lenses| Securing a Smartphone to a tripod | …and snapping inconsiderate photographers who walk into my frame…

10. Office Supplies

IMG_0061 (762x800)I use a small notepad, pen, pencil, and a Sharpie to record contact info, location notes, and reminders. Yes, I know, smartphones can do all that; unless the battery runs out.
I carry a pencil in case the pen runs out…

Bonus Item:  Gaffers Tape

In the photo above you’ll notice that the pencil is wrapped with a length of Gaffer’s tape. I also have several short strips taped to the inside of my camera bag flap. Gaffer’s tape or “Gaff” is invaluable since it is very strong, can patch up just about anything, and most importantly, it leaves little, if any residue. DO NOT USE duct tape for photography. Trust me, spend the extra money for real gaff.

These are the items I consider essential for every photographer’s camera bag. Later, I will provide another list of 10 not-so-essential-but pretty-darn-useful items for your bag.

Stay tuned.