Anasazi Tower(About this image)
There’s a lot of truth to the advice, it’s not the camera that takes great pictures but the user behind it. While this might be a philosophy to stand by, tools suited to the job can go a long way. These quick pointers are written with the outdoor photographer in mind. First up well look at landscape and panoramic photography. Unless your willing to spend a lot of money for a one or two shot panoramic head (http://www.kaidan.com) you’ll be doing a lot of photo stitching in a program like REALVIZ (http://www.realviz.com) or PTGui (http://www.ptgui.com). Thats where a wide angle lens comes in. With a 28mm lens you’ll be taking more images and spending more time correcting those images in Photoshop – but the quality of the final picture will be sharper with less distortion or correction by using the stitching software. With a 17mm lens you’ll take less pictures which might save you time and effort but the final results will be be distorted using the stitching software. This is not so much an issue if your presenting only on the web but might be noticeable when it goes to print. Anyone who has tried to do a cubic panorama by hand will tell you the fewer the frames the better; ultimately it comes down to how much time your willing to invest. The other two main categories for outdoor/nature photographers are wildlife and macro scenes. The best way to capture breathtaking wildlife images are a). Have the stalking instincts of a lion or b). use a lens with large focal length. All this equipment can be quite cumbersome to carry on an extended hiking trips so I’d suggest finding a comfortable medium like a 28 – 300mm lens. For us this covers most scenarios we encounter and leaves us more space for those backcountry essentials.