Old warhorses never die

Mostnica is the most well-known gorge in Bohinj. It is a great place to visit with the whole family since the trail is very easy and there are numerous spots of interest that are quite safe.

To photograph some of the more difficult places, however, you need to bring at least one long lens.  Wide angled lenses are well, too wide for some shots. The problem is that professional-grade lenses are big and heavy, and since you will be shooting with small apertures there is thus no need for a ‘Pro’ lens.

This is where the old warhorses come in. One of the most famous old-timer is the Nikon 75-150mm f3.5 Series E lens. This lens was made famous by the late Galen Rowell who used it to make the iconic Rainbow over the Potala Palace shot.

As well regarded as this lens is, it is a difficult old beast to use. First, it has that zoom creep signature and secondly the focus ring is loose as a goose. To get the most out of this lens you need to put a rubber band around the barrel to stop it creeping. Otherwise, as soon as the camera is angled downwards the lens will creep down to 70mm. All shots then need to be composed using Live View and at its maximum aperture of f3.5. When you get the focus right, only then do you stop down to the aperture that you want to shoot with.

But hey, the results are worth the effort. So, don’t even think of retiring those old warhorses. Like me, they just need that extra touch of TLC (Tender Loving Care) to get the best out of.

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By | October 24th, 2014|Categories: Tips|Tags: , |0 Comments

The Blue Zone

Aleš mentioned to me some time ago that Slovenia’s most famous photograher – Arne Hodalič – refers to the light around dusk as “Blue Light”.

This is when there is a perfect match between light above and light at ground level.

However, this is not what I am interested in here. I am interested in the period that I call the Blue Zone. This is about 15 minutes after the Blue Light period and there is now only a trace of light in the sky and the ground is almost dark. What I want to capture is some brilliance in the sky but man-made lights on the ground, and to work with deep shadows.

So, here are the tips:

1. get to the location at least 30 minutes before sunset and work the composition
2. fix the focus point now as later on it will be too dark for the camera to lock focus
3. put on a 3 stop ND filter (or 2 stop ND or CPL) and attach remote shutter release that can lock
4. switch to M-mode and biggest aperture (f2.8) and make sure ISO is 100
5. check metering and adjust shutter speed as required until correct reading is 13 seconds
6. you are now in the Blue Zone
7. change aperture to f11 and shutter speed to Blub
8. release shutter for 300 seconds
9. if you find that you didn’t get enough lights on the ground try again with a 2-stop ND but use 600 seconds
10. you are now out of the Blue Zone
11. wait until it is completely dark to capture the stars or go home

Easy right? No. Come on a tour of the night sky with Aleš and I, and we will take you through the steps slowly.

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By | October 22nd, 2014|Categories: Tips|Tags: , , |0 Comments