Foundations of Photography: Specialty Lenses
Illustration by Petra Stefankova

Shooting close


From:

Foundations of Photography: Specialty Lenses

with Ben Long

Video: Shooting close

So we've come inside the conservatory. If you ever come to San Francisco, this is definitely a destination you want to see. There is a botanical collection here that is extraordinary. There's also a fine display of varying degrees of humidity throughout the conservatory. Some rooms are really humid and some rooms, not so much. In fact, it's so humid in here that both I with my still camera and the crew with their video cameras have had to wait a while before we can shoot anything. We had the cameras in an air-conditioned car. They were very cool when they came in here, so we walked in and lifting the camera up to my face, it fogged over.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 4m 10s
    1. Welcome
      1m 46s
    2. Roadmap of the course
      2m 24s
  2. 3m 53s
    1. Words about focal length
      2m 6s
    2. Understanding camera position
      1m 47s
  3. 39m 19s
    1. What filters are for
      2m 37s
    2. Shopping for filters
      3m 55s
    3. Understanding neutral density filters
      4m 53s
    4. Applying neutral density filters
      3m 55s
    5. Polarizing filters
      3m 4s
    6. Some shooting tips for working with a polarizing filter
      2m 32s
    7. Using infrared filters
      9m 15s
    8. Processing the infrared image
      6m 7s
    9. Handling stuck filters
      3m 1s
  4. 38m 37s
    1. Working with ultra-wide lenses
      7m 19s
    2. Using a wide-angle lens
      4m 43s
    3. Understanding fisheye lenses
      4m 2s
    4. Working with fisheye lenses
      3m 59s
    5. Understanding fisheye exposure
      3m 3s
    6. Taking fisheye further
      4m 16s
    7. Processing fisheye and wide-angle images
      7m 38s
    8. Correcting tone in fisheye images
      3m 37s
  5. 35m 37s
    1. Understanding super telephoto
      6m 21s
    2. Shooting distant subjects
      8m 26s
    3. Compressing the sense of depth
      7m 53s
    4. Working with shallow depth of field
      5m 35s
    5. Working with teleconverters
      2m 38s
    6. Editing telephoto images
      4m 44s
  6. 16m 47s
    1. Understanding macro basics
      2m 47s
    2. Shooting close
      4m 52s
    3. Shooting macro
      5m 20s
    4. Working with a point-and-shoot for macro
      1m 58s
    5. Using a two-lens strategy
      1m 50s
  7. 16m 39s
    1. Understanding tilt shift
      3m 37s
    2. Correcting perspective
      4m 29s
    3. Creating the toy effect
      4m 41s
    4. Deepening depth of field
      3m 52s
  8. 32m 39s
    1. Working with specialty lenses
      2m 43s
    2. Using the Lensbaby
      9m 13s
    3. Working with the Lensbaby Macro attachment
      3m 50s
    4. Shooting with a Holga attachment
      3m 4s
    5. Using an alternative mount lens
      2m 18s
    6. Using super-fast lenses
      1m 47s
    7. Correcting Lensbaby images
      9m 44s
  9. 39m 48s
    1. Correcting perspective
      10m 41s
    2. Creating the toy effect
      6m 31s
    3. Getting the lo-fi Holga look
      11m 17s
    4. Reproducing the effect of a Lensbaby
      8m 17s
    5. Cropping and enlarging images
      3m 2s
  10. 2m 47s
    1. Choosing whether to borrow or buy
      2m 0s
    2. Goodbye
      47s

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Watch the Online Video Course Foundations of Photography: Specialty Lenses
3h 50m Intermediate Dec 17, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Subject:
Photography
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Ben Long

Shooting close

So we've come inside the conservatory. If you ever come to San Francisco, this is definitely a destination you want to see. There is a botanical collection here that is extraordinary. There's also a fine display of varying degrees of humidity throughout the conservatory. Some rooms are really humid and some rooms, not so much. In fact, it's so humid in here that both I with my still camera and the crew with their video cameras have had to wait a while before we can shoot anything. We had the cameras in an air-conditioned car. They were very cool when they came in here, so we walked in and lifting the camera up to my face, it fogged over.

So if you do come to a place like this to shoot, a hothouse where it's very humid, you may have to wait till your camera warms up before the lens and the viewfinder are not fogged. So I found this nice flower here that I want to shoot. And I do not have a macro lens on my camera. Before you run out and buy a macro, I want to encourage you to try some close-up photography with the lenses you already have, partly just to see if you really like close-up photography that much, but also so that you can get a sense of what power you might already have on your camera. So what I have here is the Canon 24-105.

It's a very nice lens. It is actually a kit lens that is provided with several of their cameras, so this may be a lens you already have or you might have something similar. So, again, this is a 24-105 at the telephoto lens. I've got 105 millimeters. So I'm going to try taking a shot here. I've zoomed the lens in all the way, and I am focusing just like I normally would. I'm using autofocus to focus on the flower. And that's in focus. Now, the problem is it's a little small in my viewfinder. If I take this shot, a lot of my frame is wasted with some extra stuff.

I'd really like to zoom in there on the flower. So I'm going to--I can't zoom anymore, so I'm going to get closer. I'm going to move into here so that the flower really fills the frame. But now, autofocus isn't working. I'm pushing the button and nothing has happened. So I'm going to grab the focus ring and turn it and sure enough, I cannot get it to focus. Here is the thing. Every lens has a minimum focusing distance. There is a certain point that you just can't go closer to something and still achieve focus on the camera. So let's just find where that is on this lens. This is in focus.

Oh, the rain's are coming. This is in focus here. If I move forward just a little bit, it won't find focus, so minimum focusing distance on this lens is about this far, maybe a little bit over a foot. So if I can't get the framing that I want there, I'm either going to need to crop in camera or run out and buy a macro lens. But let's see what we can do with this lens. Again, if I take this shot at the closest focusing point, I get this.

It's looking pretty good. You might think, well, why don't you zoom out and move the camera in closer? All right! I'll try that. I'll go all the way to 24. This is as wide as it goes, and then I can fill the frame like this, but I still can't focus. The minimum focusing distance does not change with focal length. Even at full wide, my minimum focusing distance is still out here, the exact same distance we had before. So that minimum focusing distance is simply something you have to deal with with each lens. This lens actually marks an area of focus.

This is my focus ring here, and it actually marks an area as macro. That's to let me know that I'm in the macro focusing distance of this lens, which isn't really macro. I won't ever get true one to one, but it will let me focus very closely. So I'm going to just make do with this lens. I'm going to frame as close as I can, which is about here, and I'm ready to take my shot. Now, one of the things to know is when shooting up close like this, depth of field is going to be very shallow. It's not too bad, but if you notice the back petal there is just a little bit soft.

So I'm going to go to a smaller aperture. I'm going to dial out to F9. And now my thing to worry about is shutter speed. When I do that, my shutter speed drops to a 50th of a second, and this flower is moving a little bit. We have got some ceiling fans going on that are creating some air currents. The flower is moving a little bit, so I'm a little worried about getting a sharp image. So I'm going to bump my ISO up a couple of stops to 400. That gets me a shutter speed of 160, and now I get this. So notice also that the background is changing. I've got the whole flower in focus, and I have got a little more sharpness in my background.

I can maybe back off from f/9 and try to find out where's the depth of field that's going to give me the whole flower in focus but still give me a very deep focus background if I want that. So depth of field is simply something I can play with. I can of course use the depth of field preview button to try and get an idea that ahead of time. Remember, judging depth of field on the LCD screen is a little bit complicated because images always appear more in focus on the back of the camera than they really are. So I'm liking this, but I really wish I could get closer, and I just can't on this lens because of its minimum focusing distance.

So next, I'm going to switch to a macro lens, and that's what we'll take a look at in the next movie.

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