Photography experts help you pick out the right camera
In a day when we can easily snap pictures on cell phones and disposable cameras, getting the full beauty of the outdoors is often more complex than a simple point and shoot.
It is hard to describe the beauty of the outdoors in mere words. Photographers attempt to capture these sights from around the globe for the enjoyment of many more. However, it's important to consider that you will be lugging around all that gear.
"Choosing camera equipment for shooting on location takes some thought," said Allen Birnbach, a 30-year commercial and fine art photographer in Denver, Colo. "First, you have to consider the size and weight of the gear, especially if you will be carrying it around all day or plan on hiking into remote locations for an extended trip.
"One must think about the build quality, and how the equipment will hold up under the jarring and jostling of getting to the location, and deal with weather conditions once you are there."
Birnbach's commercial assignments for advertising and corporate clients have taken him to over 20 countries around the world. "I often times work in remote locations in transitional weather, and I want images that have the resolution to jump off the gallery wall at 30x40 inches," he said. "From the standpoint of rock solid dependability in that situation, my choice would be a Canon 1DsMkIII camera," which has a 21.1 megapixel digital single lens reflex, or DSLR.John Bulmer, owner of John Bulmer Photography in Albany, N.Y., has shot adventure sports and remote landscapes in the Adirondack Mountains for more than 15 years."Mid-range DSLRs such as the Nikon D90 coupled with a 70-300mm f/4-5.6 lens offer a wide range of options without the bulk or weight of the heavier and more expensive pro-level cameras," he said. "The D90 reduces the learning curve with a variety of scene modes and in-camera image enhancement features.Outfitted with a remote shutter release and a lightweight tripod like the Gitzo G1158T Traveler, the D90 can handle almost any shooting situation."The D90 also has a more economical price tag for the average outdoor photographer, said Bulmer.
Ann Hawthorne, a National Science Foundation Antarctica program participant from Washington, D.C., knows firsthand how weather can affect your shooting.
"Digital cameras are not only battery hogs but battery dependent. An old Nikon FM2 and rolls of film can go forever in extreme temperatures — not so digital," she said. However, "my solution for working for days at a time in temperatures as low as 50 below was the simple, perfect, hard working Digital Camera Battery [or DCB]. Throw that charged puppy in its case with shoulder strap across your chest, under your arm inside your parka to keep it warm — connect it to your digital SLR and never miss a shot.
"I use the 40 watt version — small enough to hardly notice the added weight — and powerful, sturdy enough to never give it another thought. I am a dedicated, major fan. I could not have done the months long field work I have in the Antarctic without my DCB."
Outdoor photography means more than scenery for many photographers. Shooting wildlife with your camera means subjecting yourself and equipment to the same environment that your subjects feel most comfortable in — even if it is a 120-degree summer day to catch a tiger drinking from a waterhole or a dusty jungle in India.
Former U.N. photographer John Issac now concentrates on wildlife and nature. He prefers an Olympus E-3 has built in stabilizers and dust reduction features. "One has to remember when you are trekking and carrying a lot of our necessities on your back, you have to travel light. I carry a monopod sometimes because when the light is very low you need a little support," he said.
One more item many photographers say is necessary for good outdoor photography is high-quality photo editing software. While a photographer will look to take the perfect shot, sometimes poor lighting or other natural element can get in the way.
PHOTO CAPTION: The ideal camera depends on your skill level and what you need. For example, the Nikon D90 is portable and easy to use. CNS Photo courtesy of Nikon
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