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Nature and Landscape Photography

Lesson 4 of 27

Lenses for Nature and Landscape Photos

John Greengo

Nature and Landscape Photography

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

4. Lenses for Nature and Landscape Photos

Lesson Info

Lenses for Nature and Landscape Photos

so let's talk about lenz is obviously very important in the first aspect I want to talk about on lenses is the focal length of the lands what do you see from side to side and so as we were just talking about how do you measure these corner to corner side the side top to bottom I'm thinking as you hold the camera and the normal horizontal position what do you see from side to side and so a fifty millimeter lands of course is your normal lens but if you have a crop frame sensor like a nikon that has a one point five crop the thirty five gets you the exact same angle of you because you have a different sign sensor if all of this is confusing check out my class fundamentals of digital photography so landscape photographers wind shooting landscapes are often shooting wide angles because they want to show the larger environment you are going to want a lens that gets down to the equivalent of twenty four millimeter lenses of a twenty four millimeter last it's about sixteen on a crop frame cam...

era if you don't you're going to be really struggling to try to get everything in there and to be honest with you if you're really into this you should have something that gets down to the equivalent of a sixteen millimeter lands every professional landscape photographer out there has a lens that gets down to sixteen that I have ever met it's just part of the tools of the equipment that you're going to use it's also very valuable having a telephoto lens so that you can isolate individual subjects a short telephoto lens around one hundred you're going to want at least up to a two hundred millimeter lands you're probably not going to need anything further than that and that's one of the great things about shooting nature in landscape is you don't need to carry around a huge hunk in len's unless you also want to shoot wildlife that goes into that separate category that we're not gonna talk about every once in a while though it is kind of nice to pull out that four hundred millimeter lens and shoot a shot that's just it's got a different look and I'll show you some examples here so let's just kind of go through these seven different example starting with the very wide angle lens so one hundred degrees from side to side it's what we do called in ultra wide lands sixteen millimeter land why would you use this well you find yourself in certain environments that are very very tight you can't back up this is false kiva in canyon lands it's not a very well publicized but it's well known among photographers and it's essentially just a little cave and my back well actually my back is up against the wall but my camera is practically up against the wall this is a cz far back as I can get with a sixteen millimeter lands and I didn't want to do any stitching I mean could have done some stitching but this is just one basic shot so you working in very tight environments from time to time one of the main reasons that people use this wide angle lenses for a foreshortening effect and this basically means you're exaggerating the size of the foreground in relationship to something that's in the background and so this little purple plant is much much smaller then mount hood in oregon we all know that but by getting very close with a wide angle lens I can make them about the same size so they're there now of equal importance in my photograph so we're going to use this not quite for macro photography but we are photographing subjects that are very close to us in the slot canyons having that wide angle lens is very very helpful to accentuate the lines in the walls enabling us to see as much as possible from side to side and so having a good white angle lands I think is kind of one of the key camera purchases that you're going to want to look into if you don't have that ultra wide lance most cameras comes supplied with a moderately wide lands of around twenty eight millimeters on full frame or eighteen millimeters the eighteen to fifty five kit lands is the most popular kit lands but I think having something a little bit wider is something that I prefer and you'll find as you get to know your photography better that you'll have certain favorite focal vocally is that really see the world the way that you do and I really like twenty four millimetre lands as much as I like using that ultra wide I kind of like something that's not quite so exaggerated it's more of a natural wide angle lands I can still get that foreshortening effect where I'm using it with subjects in the foreground drawing a relationship between them and what's going on in the background and yes our title slide I chose for the title of this whole program was with a twenty four which is one of my favorite which just makes me feel good that I'm choosing the right stuff twenty four millimeter lands in that case next up is what I would call the moderately wide lance and very seldom does the nature photographer say get me that thirty five millimeter lands that's the lens that I want it's usually the lens that you need to use because that's just where life has put you and that's where you have to have the lens in order to get the shot you know if you're out on a boat shooting an iceberg sometimes just got it zoom it to wherever you need to be in order to get the shot and so it's valuable tohave that sixteen to thirty five lens sixteen to thirty five millimeter lens that canon nikon sony and so many other manufacturers have that ultra wide zoom is just really a very valuable tool for the nature and landscape photographer probably the least used lands well I shouldn't say probably I know this for a fact the least used lands that I have for you doing this type of work is the fifty millimeter lands it works out in some situations because you're forced into shooting something from a particular location you zoom back and forth and you put the lens on and you say this is the content that I wantto have in the photograph in the fifty millimeter happens to be the right lands generally it's not the case usually you're trying to shoot something wider angle sometimes you want to shoot more telephoto but sometimes you just don't have much control and one would think that when you're not in the studio and you're out in the free world you can go anywhere you want and shoot pictures and the fact of the matter is is that your you're on a trail and you're not allowed to walk into the wild flowers or you're on the top of a ridge and you clearly don't want to walk on either side of that ridge and you are forced into shooting into very few positions which is one of those reasons I would love to fly so I could just hover over and do a let's be right over here to get that shot and that's why having some zoom lenses are very very valuable the short telephoto lens is not what the amateur thinks about is being a valuable lens for nature photography but it's actually an extraordinarily valuable lance this is where you get to isolate subjects okay maybe the entire scene of everything you're looking in front of you is not the greatest image in the world but a portion of the images this is also where you were going to find macro lenses and we'll talk a little bit about macro lenses in an upcoming section but isolating details pulling details from the environment around you and because these details can be at various distances this is where the seventy two two hundred lands and shooting it at two hundred becomes very very valium all this is the longest lens that most people really need to carry around with them if I have a seventy two two hundred I know that I'm good to go on the long and and so shooting from a boat up in alaska pulling off some details of the fog and forest we're starting to get into the effect of compression compressing various subjects that I'm shooting together a group of trees down in portland oregon we're just outside of portland oregon compressing the little hoodoos at goblin valley state park in utah and it's nice to have these air kind of these air the cool ends is these are the lenses that your friends think you are a great photographer because you have this big four hundred millimeter lands and these can be helped from time to time when you have very distant scenes that you want to get up close to but there's really no physical way to get that close up to it so this is el cap on yosemite national park or oregon painted hills using that compression effect to kind of take all those rolling hills and compress them altogether in one image working up in alaska shooting an iceberg that's far off from the belt being ableto reach out and grab that and fill the frame is very very nice to be able to do with that long lands with the lenses we can kind of divide him into two categories the primes and zooms so the fixed lenses in general they're sharper they're faster and they're smaller and those all sound like pretty good things but the zooms have one thing going for it versatility and you'll find that in landscape photography as I just mentioned it's really hard to put yourself in the right place and having that zoom is very very valuable and when I say the primes are sharper most of that is going to be I noticed when you shoot them wide open and you don't shoot wide open in nature and landscape photography ah high percentage of the time and by the time you stop either of these lenses down you're going to find the sharpness to be virtually identical and so most photographers doing this type of work are going to work with a couple or three zoom lenses there's there are reasons for prime lenses but for the most part if I carry a couple of zoom lenses I'm really set to go now as many of you know I'm a little bit of a geek and I like technical stuff so I decided to dive into my light room catalog I filtered out everything that is not a landscape or nature related and I wanted to see what lenses do I shoot with most frequently and so here are the results from my little survey I use a sixteen millimeter lands fourteen percent of the time now I said that I really like the twenty four millimeter lan and as you can see I use that almost a quarter of the time as I mentioned I don't use the thirty five and I don't use a fifty very much just the lowly little three percent for the standard fifty but I was frankly very surprised at how much I shot with a short telephoto lands around a hundred and then just a little bit of usage with the four hundred so you can see now this is just my style of shooting your style you're going to have your own curve but I would guess that it might not be too different from this and I look at this and I realized that if I take the sixteen to thirty five and I take my seventy two two hundred I have covered ninety percent of the things that I would likely shoot and so that's just two lenses which is kind of nice just two lenses you need a sixteen to thirty five and a seventy two two hundred now what I consider some great set ups let me give you some recommendations if you own icon if you have a full frame camera they have a very nice sixteen to thirty five and they have a great seventy two two hundred I like the's fo resumes because in nature photography we rarely need the two point eight or faster lenses the f orest find their smaller they're lighter they're very very sharp if you were working with night cons cropped frame sensor I would look at their ten to twenty four millimeter lands and their seventy two three hundred I think that would make a nice set up you could just simply go out shooting those two lenses with cannon full frame they just came out with a brand new sixteen to thirty five that is very sharp really well made the seventy two hundred has been on a legend that since it came out several years ago very good lands a big proponent of those two lenses for the crop frame they have their ten to twenty two and there's seventy two three hundred now the lens quality is a little bit higher with their full frame cameras to meet the higher quality of the sensors but I think this is a nice basic setup and you know just before somebody calls in with a question the nikon fort eighteen to twenty four which is a very popular lands for nikon landscape shooters is an incredibly sharp lands and a lot of people really like it if if I shot with nikon I don't know that I would be interested in it it's really big it's heavy and it's really hard to filter I mean it technically you can filter it but it's really hard to use a split neutral density filter that I'm going to talk about in the next section on it and so it depends on your style for some people it fits perfectly for other people it doesn't work as well into their system and so with that I'm going to throw it over to questions from all of you about what you might have about this lens or that lands this is the time and the place to ask that sort of question all right fantastic jam watch him chatting with jim well I'm all for going on today here john let's take some questions for the internet and then go to break and john in the audience let us know if you have any questions okay so interesting question that several people voted on from colin is can you actually tell the difference when looking at an image if it was taken by a full frame camp but by a full frame versus a crop sensor linds I would say that camera it would be hard to tell in many situations yeah I could look at a picture and I could determine kind of were it fit on the quality scale because it could be a brand new crop frame camera and it's gonna look pretty good and I could look at it several year old full frame camera and go with that one doesn't look so good and so it could actually be better than older because everything just keeps getting better and you know the best way is just to go out there and shoot some photos in large um print him off do whatever you're going to do with them and see if they meet your quality standards now most people's quality standards get higher and higher and in the construction of this class basically what I did is I would look for photos this is the way I would look for photos I would click on my nature and landscape filter ok though so that and then what I would always do is go to the most recent photos and then I would go back two years and then four years and then I got really desperate I'd go back like six or eight years but everything just keeps getting better and better and there's only a few images that I have in this presentation that our film scans and it that things just don't hold up in quality I think I've gotten better as a photographer but the quality just keeps getting better as I've said before yeah okay cool then if you want to talk about this yet we are talking about lenses but we've got eight vote on katima motive dodo loves question which is about protecting lenses from dust when you're out in the field cleaning lenses for that now let's talk about it talk about it so there's a lot of different philosophies and I've seen different photographers do different things and that your choice you get to do what you want to do some things to worry about is dust on the sensor and so that's always a problem the cameras these days have sensor cleaners that worked pretty good but they're not perfect you know we're heading off to morocco for a tour that we're doing and I was checking my cameras I was shooting you know a white sheet of paper at f twenty two and I'm downloading looking these pictures and I got a few little specks in there and so I was going in cleaning the sensors on dh there's only so much you khun d'oh and so you've got to be careful about when and where you change lenses I remember one time we were in the sahara desert and the wind was blowing we would go into the suv to change lenses because we didn't want to do that outside at all where things air blowing around now when it comes to you know keeping things clean I have a slightly different philosophy than a number of other professionals a lot of other professionals don't use filters and they say why would you put a filter in front of a very high quality optical glass and I have an answer for you and that is it's very easy to make one very clean sharp piece of glass and it's very difficult to replace a front element on the lands so my philosophy is is I put high quality b plus w filters on all my lenses that I can and I never use lens caps lens caps never get used if you ever want to buy a used lens from me the lens cap will be in pristine condition because I take those they go in the box I put the filter on I used the hood and they get thrown in the back what lenses that I always got something for sale

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Beautiful landscapes are all around us – they are a joy to experience, but a challenge to capture in a single photo. In Nature and Landscape Photography, you’ll learn the essential tools and techniques for taking photographs that reflect the splendor of landscapes and the captivating details of nature.

In this class, award-winning photographer John Greengo will use illustrations, animations, and photographs of destinations from around the world to teach you the thought process behind great nature photography. You’ll learn which gear is suited to the environment you want to shoot and how to plan for ideal light and composition. John will help you master exposure and focus so you get a better shot in camera and improve your edits by taking you through hands-on photo critiques.

From complicated cameras to challenging environments, several obstacles stand in the way of you taking a photograph that reflects the landscape as you see it. This class will help you take nature and landscape photographs that reflect your unique perspective.

This course is part of the landscape tutorials series. 

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Composition Keynote

Equipment Keynote

Exposure Keynote

Focus Keynote

Light Keynote

Subject Keynote

Timing Keynote

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Thomas Hamlin

Most of nature's beauty has been photographed by lots of people over the years. However, nothing compares to actually visiting famous places, buildings, mountains, etc. and taking your own photographs. John Greengo provides the necessary equipment information, photographic principles, and techniques in a manner which inspires you to put in the extra effort to take the best nature photographs that you can with the gear that you have. His unique illustrations, actual real life photographs, and easily understood explanations are top notch. I highly recommend this outstanding course. I have several of John Greengo's photography courses, and I highly recommend them all. His vast experience with film and digital photography, gained through traveling and working with some well known photographers, gives his courses a unique perspective.

a Creativelive Student

I love this course, John. It is one of my all time favorites. First of all I loved your effort scale. I knew as soon as you went through the scale that you are a guy that I want to listen to. To me, the effort part IS the fun part of photography. When you asked the question about one wish ... the first thing that came to my mind was that I wish I had more time for photography. I like the technology, but I do not wish for any special powers. To me, that would take the challenge away. Photography is wonderful because every subject challenges the photographer to get the angle right, the light right, the settings right ... I love that challenge. I think you do too, John, and that is why this course is so special. The attention you pay to every detail comes from the drive you have to meet the challenges with every thing you've got. That is why your class is so special. Your work ethic is exceptional. SandraNightski

a Creativelive Student

While delving more thoroughly into Nature and Landscape photography in a smaller format, John Greengo provides us with an amazing companion to his outstanding courses Fundamentals Of Digital Photography and Travel Photography. Here he gives us another necessary treatise to study before packing our gear and heading out in a car, a plane, a boat (or just for a long hike), and it’s as entertaining as the others. Thank you again John Greengo and Creative Live for these expert and brilliantly illustrated programs. I just hope you keep finding more subjects to photograph and provide the instructions for.