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Join photographer, author, and teacher Ben Long on location in San Francisco as he explores the creative options provided by the kinds of lenses and lens accessories that don't always make it into most camera bags.
The course begins with a look at several common and inexpensive lens attachments, from polarizers to neutral density filters. The course then explores ultra-wide angle and fisheye lenses as well as ultra-long telephoto and macro lenses. The course concludes with a look at tilt-shift lenses, which are useful for architectural photography and special effects, and at offbeat lenses, such as Lensbaby and Holga attachments.
The course also contains Photoshop postproduction advice and examples that illustrate the creative possibilities that an expanded lens collection provides. And because some specialty lenses are extremely expensive, the course also contains advice on renting gear.
One of the great things about some of the lenses that we've looked at here is that they're extremely affordable. Some of the other things that we've looked at here are not so affordable. Tilt-shift lenses, very long telephoto lenses, high-quality ultra-wide lenses, these can easily start at a thousand dollars apiece, depending on the specs of the particular lens you're looking at. And before you think, "Well, then I'll never be able to shoot with any of these," consider the possibility of lens rental. It used to be that to rent a lens you had to have a good rental house in your area, but with online rental you can now rent just about any type of lens no matter where you live.
In fact, several of the lenses that you've seen in this course are lenses that we have rented. And we've rented them all from borrowlenses.com. Borrowlenses has a huge assortment of lenses for various cameras, great pricing, and they're very easy to deal with. If you think shipping the lens back and forth is going to be a hassle, it's really not, thanks to Borrowlenses' easy-to-use packaging. So even if you're loaded or even if you're a serious photographer who makes a living shooting, you might want to consider rental for certain types of lenses. For example, I don't actually own a fast telephoto lens because for the types of things that I typically like to shoot I just don't need one.
They're big and heavy so I just can't imagine myself lugging one around just in case. But a couple of times a year, I find myself shooting, say, a live performance in a dark venue with mediocre access, and I realize that a long, fast lens would really make a difference. So for under a hundred bucks I can get a lens for the weekend, get the shots I need, then send it back. I could do that for a lot of years before I ever actually pay the full cost of the lens. And along the way I'd always be getting the latest technology. So if you find that there are lenses that you sometimes use but can't imagine using every day, then it's worth checking out some rental sites.
Rental sites are also a great way to test the lens before you buy and to get practice with the lens that you don't normally use or feel you understand. So if you've seen me using something here that you thought looked cool, don't let cost be an obstacle. Check out a rental site and see if there's a path for you to get your hands on some of this really cool gear.
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