Macro Photography

I love macro photography, I am terrible at it, specially the focus, but I really enjoy it, so I am going to dedicate the month of November to macro month. This way I should learn more about it. But is is not just about close ups and macro, I might add some photos that are not in that category but have been taken by a macro lens. But I am sure I will have fun taking all the photos and sharing them.

african lily
Macro of an african lily

Harsh Light – Make the most of it

Harsh light is not the best for photography, but what happens when you don’t have much choice? I think it is better to take photos any time of day is better than to take none at all.  And also it depends on your location. I, for example, live in Ecuador, living close to the equator which means the light is harsh most of the time, even more so around midday.  And it also means that sunset and sunrise (I don’t enjoy getting up) are really quick, often only a few minutes long so if you are not quick enough you have missed you photo opportunity altogether.

So what what are your best options if harsh light are when you take photos. This really depends on what your subject is. I take mainly landscape photos rather than portraits so it is difficult to say find some shade for your model/s.

Harsh light
Harsh Light, Harsh Landscape.

You could use a polarizer, this will enhance the blue in the sky. Personally I do not own a polarizer, I might buy one some day, but right now the budget for a decent one just doesn’t allow for it. But here in Ecuador when the sky is blue, the sky is intense blue.  The above photo was taken in the Cotopaxi National Park, one of my favourite places to visit, at 11.30 AM, here I think the harsh light adds to the photo as it enhances the harsh landscape.

El Boliche
harsh sunlight through the trees

Try and photograph your subject in the shade, again, not always the best option, the above photo was taken at 1 PM this time, the sun glows through the trees and they also create shade.

rider
A traditional chagra

I could hardly ask the organizers of the event to change the time of day just because the midday light is harsh. Embrace the light you have and enjoy it. Photo taken at 1.40 PM

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Do you need an expensive camera? Opinion

No, the answer to the question is no. But do you want an expensive camera, probably. But there are many ways of taking beautiful photos with cheaper older cameras which do not require selling your kidney to enable you to buy it.

I am a fan of taking photos with what ever camera you can afford, surely it is better to enjoy the addiction rather than say you cannot afford the latest camera, or you can’t do that because your camera doesnt have the capability, etc, etc. Surely it is better to learn and understand your camera than go out and buy a better camera you can’t afford?

Each camera, whether it is expensive, cheap or medium priced will have it’s positive and negatives points, learn how to use these to your advantage, read the manual, learn the rules and then learn how to break them if you want.

You don’t need expensive lenses, or even a camera that changes lenses as I for one,  in the past have sold plenty of photos and printed large prints with some bridge cameras. Maybe they were not the best results, but hey, I have earned money from them. With time and more money I was able to buy cameras a little bit more expensive, which have better sensors and better specs than my previous cameras.

Will having an expensive camera help? Probably, but if you don’t know how to use it or never take it out of auto mode, then no, as I have never had a really expensive camera I can’t help you there, (I might in the future take a few photos with my cameras to do a comparison), but what I can say is watch this fun video from Peter McKinnon to help you make up your mind.

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National Recreation Area El Boliche

One of the places we visit a lot is the El Boliche Recreation Area, this is one 30 mins drive away and provides us with quiet, sometimes we are the only people on the trails, which we enjoy, the isolation, the peacefullness and it is a great way to catch up and talk just the two of us.

It is located next to the National Park Cotopaxi. El Boliche is famous for its pine and cypresses plantations, that cover 200 hectares, and has almost completely replaced the moorlands. The first trees were planted in 1928 in what used to be Romerillos ranch, with the idea of recovering the eroded soil and to reforest the moorlands.

alpacas
Alpacas live wild in the park

Those were other times: today we know that these plantations affect the soil and biodiversity of this ecosystem, and that the moorland needs to be filled with trees.

train
The train station at the entrance to the park

Next to this area is the “El Boliche” station of the Empresa de Ferrocarriles del Ecuador (Ecuadorian Railway Company), and thanks to it every weekend thousands of visitors arrive to experience the attractions that this protected area has to offer.

polylepis
Polylepis tree on the side of the path

There are a variety of walks, none of them are all that long, and some only about 30 mins, which is great for those with younger ones.

trail
At the start of one of the trails, view of the Ilinizas Volcano

In addition to the trails there is a space for camping, with bbq sites with roof, cabins some with and some without fire places and a play area.

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Lets Talk About Lenses

There are soooo many of them they can get a little confusing, from native lenses for your camera and third party lenses, also your budget needs to be taken in to account, etc.  the choices are a little overwhelming. gear-lenses.159d91fc463dcc02c1d452b6090633f6

I am far from an expert on lenses, after all my budget is next to nothing and the lenses for my full frame Sony camera are incredibly expensive. You might have already read other bloggers saying that if you have invested in a full frame camera you need to invest in really good lenses,  you will also see so many blog posts, vlogs, facebook posts, etc that there are lenses you just have to buy,  16-35 for wideangle landscapes, 24-70 zoom lens, 70-200 zoom lens, 100-400 super zoom, prime lenses….. these are what most bloggers say you need. But do you really?

Well, if I had the money, I might just consider some of them, but as I don’t, I have a rather heavy SEL24240. weight 27.6 oz (780 g). What does that mean? The zoom goes from 24mm to 240mm. i find this lens to be great, not excellent, but great. But why did I go for this lens. First of all living in Ecuador I am limited to what I buy, it is difficult to buy lenses, and more difficult to buy third party lenses which can be cheaper. So how did I make this choice?

lenses

I thought about my purchase alot. After all there is a lot of money involved. But from what I think is important is what you are going to take with the lens you want to buy. So ask your self a few questions like: What do I enjoy photographing? Wildlife, landscapes, macro, travel photography, or a bit of everything, like me.

As I take a little bit of everything I found the mega zoom from 24-240 an ideal choice. Wide angle for landscapes, enough zoom for those elusive owls we have living in the tree and plenty of choice in between.

This of course is my opinion. Others will have theirs and they probably won’t agree with me, but for me, this is the perfect lens. And of course, no changing lenses to expose the sensor and fill it up with nasty dust. Win-Win.

But as most photographers say, the best camera you have is the one with you and with whatever lens you can afford. So go and shoot.

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