Wednesday, January 17, 2007
From national parks to foreign lands, travel means new places and new sights for your camera. Here are tips on bringing home your best travel shots ever.
by Rob Sheppard
Our national parks offer everything from stunning mountain vistas to close-up spring flower abundance to rugged rocky shorelines to incredible wildlife sightings. This diversity means you have to do some preplanning to determine what gear might be best. Still, you can usually carry a bit more equipment to these locations and use your car as a base from which to work.
Lenses For National Parks: If your park is one of wide-open vistas, pack a wide-angle zoom and possibly a wide-to-tele-zoom to focus in on distant details, too. If you're visiting a great flower location, include a macro lens or close-focusing accessories like extension tubes or achromatic close-up lenses. When the park is filled with wildlife, use the recommendations from the Safari section of this article.
The Compact Camera Alternative: If you think you might do a lot of hiking, consider a compact, even pocketable digital camera that includes a reasonable zoom range and full control over ƒ-stops (many of the little ones do).
Panoramic Gear: Many national parks are ideal for taking multi-shot panoramic photos with your digital camera (you take a series of photos across the scene and bring them together in the computer). If you're really serious about this, check out panoramic heads for your tripod that help you better control the shooting. If you want to experiment, check out the compact digital cameras with panoramic features, including Hewlett-Packard's, which actually stitches together the final panoramic in-camera.
Filters: There are two valuable filters to have when photographing in a national park: the polarizer and the grad ND. The polarizer rotates in front of your lens to make skies look richer (at certain angles to the sun) and to enrich colors. The grad ND (graduated neutral-density filter) is half clear and half gray. It lets you reduce the light from the sky and balance the brightness in a landscape scene so it's recorded better by your sensor.
Tripods: For optimum sharpness, take a tripod. The latest carbon-fiber tripods are light and sturdy. If you're on a budget, check out the newest metal tripods. Aircraft metallurgy has made them stronger and lighter than before. Try different tripod heads at the store to find which one works best with your gear and your way of photographing.
• 10-22mm wide-angle zoom
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