Shooting a 300 foot redwood

26 02 2011

How would you photograph one of the world’s tallest trees? That was a question posed to National Geographic photographer, Michael Nichols. Who was tasked with photographing the mammoth tree. Using three Canon 1Ds Mark II, a few pocketwizards, a dolly used for cinema work and three 35mm f/1.4 lenses Nichols set to work photographing the tree. Each full image of the tree took over one hour to produce and Nichols and his team had spent 18 days photographing the redwood.
The picture was published in September 2009 and it became one of the most popular issues. In the video Nichols talks about the process he used to photograph the tree, and obstacles he overcame to produce such a breathtaking image.

(via fstoppers)

“Fast glass” makes the shot

14 02 2011

National Geographic photographer, Jim Richardson, recently spent 22 days flying around the globe to nine different countries to document what he described as an editorial narrative. His destinations included: Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat, the Taj Mahal and the Serengeti.

What does this have to do with “fast glass” and what does that even mean.

“Glass” is photographer jargon for lenses. “Fast glass” refers to lenses that have a very wide aperture such as f/2.8 or f/1.4. Wider aperture allows for more light to enter the camera allowing the photographer to use a faster shutter speed in low light situations without having to push the ISO up. ISO is how sensitive the sensor is to light. The higher the ISO the more sensitive the sensor is and the faster your shutter speed. However, using a high ISO will pump a lot of digital noise into your images, which can lower image quality.

Another benefit of using “fast glass” is that the wide aperture will allow for some pleasing shallow depth of field.

Back to Richardson now. Those 22 days had him shooting in a different style than he usually does. Instead of casing out a good location, then returning for the shot when the conditions are optimal he more or less raised his camera, clicked the shutter, and moved on.

From night shots of elephant polo to an Indian boatman. “Fast glass” helped Richardson make the most out of his 22 days by helping Richardson be ready no matter what the lighting conditions were.

Link to the photos

(via Nikon)