Nature close up

Nature can be beautiful, as in the snap I made in downtown Toronto yesterday afternoon:

Bird, Fountain and Flowers (Toronto, 29 August) - photo by Michael Willems

Bird, Fountain and Flowers (Toronto, 29 August)

Sometimes, as in this example, nature is best seen close up; sometimes better using wide angles.

That is the kind of thing we will be going over in the upcoming full-day Nature Walk workshop, which, take note, has now been brought forward to 11 September. It is also one of the subjects I go through in the Henry’s “Creative Urban Photography” half day walkaround I do in Oakville.

Choosing the right angle is a very important part of making (not “taking”!) a photo, and it is one of many subjects covered.

Oh, the photo? A 70-200mm f/2.8L lens, set to f/4 (I wanted the bird to be sharp, and these birds never sit still for more than a moment). At 200 ISO, that gave me 1/250th second. I used the Canon 7D camera, because its 1/6 crop factor gave me a longer reach (the 200mm effectively became 320m).

Piece it together

I have mentioned this before: the need to have your audience piece things together themselves.

One way is to use selective depth of field. Like in this snap from a recent outing in Mono Cliffs Provincial Park:

Mono Cliffs Provincial Park, photo Michael Willems

Mono Cliffs Provincial Park

You see the apple first, then a blurred out view of the photographer, then you figure out what it is, then you slowly see what’s happening.

This snap also shows the benefit of wide angle lenses. As does this:

Mono Cliffs Provincial Park 2, photo Michael Willems

Mono Cliffs Provincial Park 2

Depth! And I also used a bit of flash, with a half CTO gel.

And one more, finally: colleague Joseph Marranca in the park at the lookout point. Also shot with a little fill flash with a half CTO gel, with the camera’s white balance set to flash. After first exposing properly for the background, of course.

Mono Cliffs Provincial Park 3, photo Michael Willems

Mono Cliffs Provincial Park 3

What we are doing there? tracing out  the route for the upcoming Nature Walk course!

All those shots were taken with a wide angle lens. Wide meaning 16mm (or 10mm if you have a  “crop factor” digital camera, i.e. one that is not “full frame”). Wide angles rock.