Skip to main content

Cameras and Lenses

Lesson 3 from: How to Get Started in Nature Photography

John Greengo

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

3. Cameras and Lenses

Next Lesson: Filters

Lesson Info

Cameras and Lenses

When it comes to equipment, I'm going to keep it very, very short in this talk, I talk a lot about equipment in many of my other classes and we just don't have time in a ninety minute class, but for the most part you're going to want a camera with manual exposure capability you're going to want to be able to make things lighter and darker and it just all those settings that you should know about at this point you are going to want to have manual focus capability it's okay t use auto focus I use auto focus almost all the time, but you're gonna want that ability to turn that off to make your own adjustments to it it's going to be best with interchangeable lenses it's going to give you more options? There are some pretty good cameras out there that have fixed lens is built into them, but they are limited when it comes to the range of nature photography because we often want to get whiter than most cameras have built in lenses and we occasionally want to do some wildlife work. This class i...

s not going to be really talking about wildlife, but it is very closely related but very different genre, but you'll often want to be able to do both at the same time, and I find this is best with an eye level view finder I really don't like a camera that doesn't have a viewfinder that I could hold up to my eye and it's because it's generally so bright outside I'm talking I'm not talking about bright sunny days I'm talking about just a cloudy day it's hard to really see the back screen of your camera for proper composition, color and especially sharpness and so you really need an eye level find her if you don't you're gonna be constantly struggling in any sort of bright environment let's talk a little bit about lenses obviously you're important let's talk about focal length of one's is your angle of view. What do you see from side to side so let's start off on the white ist angle lenses so these air the ultra wide lenses that'll get you about one hundred degrees from side to side if you are using a full frame camera, I'm talking about a sixteen millimeter lens range. A lot of people have the crop frame, the a p s one point five crop frame camera that's going to be about a ten millimeter lin this is not your standard lands the standard lenses probably going to be in the twenty eight to seventy range or a lot of the cameras the crop frames come within eighteen to fifty five, so getting down to ten millimetres is noticeably wider and this is a standard heavily used tool by nature and landscape photographers because they find them in self situations where they can't back up any further. This is in canyon lands and it's a little cave is an ancient indian circle in here, and you can't back up before mike tripod is against the back wall and I'm shooting this with a sixteen millimeter lands I cannot get back any further at all, and I'm trying to get in as much as possible and generally there's a lot of landscape photography that you are showing the grand environment, the whole area and this is where you need these wide angle lenses. This is mount hood in oregon, and when you use these white angles, you get a foreshortening effect and the foreshortening what it does is it's exaggerating the size of the foreground subjects so that little little bush that full flowering bush in the lower right hand corner is not as big as mountains foot shocking. If you with that did I all right and it's because of that wide angle lens, and I'm so close to it, I'm able to make that on an equal size scale as the mountain. So I could tell a little bit of an interesting story where I have two different elements involved and they're both visually the same weight because they're the same size, and you're gonna get that with those extremely wide angle lenses. Let's move up a little bit this is more of your standard wide angle I very much like a twenty four millimeter land it's one of my favorite angles of you for me it's a very natural without being too distorted view on the world this is going to be a sixteen millimeter lens and that's very close to where those eighteen to fifty fives are so if you have an eighteen to fifty five or kind of your standard twenty eight millimeter lens for full frame this is going to be pretty close to that and these they're gonna be very valuable when you want to show a wide area but you don't want to exaggerate anything this is the redwoods down in california we still can get some of that foreshortening effect with the white angle lens and this is marine lake and lake louise up in banff national park and I'm trying to increase the size of these rocks versus the distance mountains so I'm getting very close to the rocks. Next up is the thirty five millimeter lands this is kind of the photojournalist lands this is the street photographers lands very rarely does the nature photographer say I would like to shoot this with the thirty five millimeter lands they're often kind of forced into shooting it with the thirty five millimeter lens due to the size of the subject and their distances that they can be away from it but the thing that I do like about the thirty five millimeter lands is the terminology that I would give it is I would call it the wide normal because technically forty three is the normal lens, and this is just a little bit wider than that, so it's very, very realistic, very much the way that we see the world with our own eyes and a lot of times when I end up using this it's because I had to, there wasn't another lens and place for me to stand to shoot with another lance, probably the least used lens for the landscape photographer would be the normal standard fifty millimeter lands and it's, just rare that you would kind of picked this out of your bag and start shooting with it. You're generally trying to do something with it on the wide angle or telephoto side, but the same thing is true is I was just saying about the thirty five millimeter lens, you're kind of forced into the situation. I couldn't move any closer to these volcanoes down in chile because the lake was there and I couldn't move any further back because there was kind of little hills that was in the way, and so that's just end up where you were. This is a fun place to go shoot. If anyone is down in utah goblin valley state park, they filmed a couple of movies down there to make it look like it because it looks like an alien world down there and it's just a really fun place to shoot because there's a lot of freedom about where you can go and shoot so that's, what the fifty million our lands as well. Now as we get two more narrower angle of youse were getting tomb or telephoto, and this is going to be really good when you want to pick out an area of the scene to look at and really identify with a small section. And this is great for people who have an eye for details, and this is where you're going to find your macro lenses that eye for details. Next up is probably the longest lens that the nature photographer needs to have, and that would be something around two hundred millimeter lands. For those of you with the crop sensors around one hundred thirty five. If I have a two hundred millimeter lands, I feel fully confident going out shooting nature photographs. I generally don't need anything longer than this, so these are going to be smaller. Angles of you subjects that are a little bit further away we're also getting that compression effect now with telephoto lenses where one subject may be a fair bit of distance to the next subject, but it looks very close. When photographed with the two hundred millimeter lands, these trees would look extraordinarily different with a wide angle lens. I wish I would have shot him with a wide angle I couldn't because they were on private property and I couldn't get across the fence and didn't want to get across the fence, and so I had to shoot it with a telephoto, but I like the look of the telephoto I generally don't bring a four hundred millimeter lens with me out in the field. I do have that reach on my camera and it is occasionally nice tohave you, khun really do some interesting things with landscapes that are far off in this case, this is the painted hills down in oregon on I'm compressing these hills, and so I'm getting very much of that compression effect in yellowstone national park grand prismatic spring there's a hillside that has some very interesting trees on it, which have some very cool looking branches, and I wanted that background to go out of focus and that's going to be easier with those telephoto lens is not the most common thing that you're going to be doing in and landscape photography. But it's a great way of pulling out those details way have a question in class. Okay, yes, different not only with the lenses, but also with the sense, or like, like a small assessor will give you more than fulfilled, like you would choose to carry one body off camera to get more versatility of a lens. Maybe, like, for instance, you can shoot that same tree photos with the wider aperture on a smaller body, right? So sometimes, you know well that you you're opening a a rat's nest of questions in potentials, and that is the, you know, the difference between the different size sensors. Most of the serious landscape and nature shooters are using full frame cameras because they have the greatest resolution and that's probably the most important thing, because a lot of times we are shooting just at s o one hundred. I am a big fan of the crop frame sensors as well, because they are smaller and the more portable and landscape photographers do. Like that depth of field, you end up being able to get that with the full frame cameras in most all cases, it's not a major advantage using a crop frame camera other than in the weight and size of the equipment, but off. If you were planning to make a living as a nature and landscape photographer, you would definitely want full frame. Because that's, what all your competitors are doing. If you're trying to take good pictures yourself, you, khun absolutely do that with a crop frame camera or four thirds camera. I think once you start getting below that, things get more challenging. And so you need something with kind of that intermediate toe, larger size sensor. All right.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Nature and Landscape Course Notes

Ratings and Reviews

Danette Zak

I got this course for free thru View Bug and John Greengo is an amazing teacher. He explains nature photography with a sense of ease and he really makes you want to get out there and keep trying to get THE photo, that the day you go out there may not be the right day or right time, but to keep trying and you'll get it! He also encourages you to get out there to the same places other great photographers have been and make it your own, to get your own experiences. Yes, I recommend this course and any courses he instructs, I hope to take another one of his courses in the near future!

a Creativelive Student

Very instructive! And John Greengo is a great teacher. He knows very well how to go deeply without putting you in a difficult situation. I have followed almost all of his courses, and this one is one of the best! Don't hesitate if you are a beginner or even and advanced photographer interested in Nature photography.

Vilius Senkus

Perfect class, loved it. Short, concentrated, nice examples, pasionate speaker. Just want to grab my cam and go apply new knowledges.

Student Work