Creative Jump Start: Shooting with Fisheye and Ultra Wide-Angle Lenses

Creative Jump Start: Shooting with Fisheye and Ultra Wide-Angle Lenses

Seán Duggan is a fine art photographer, author, educator, and an Adobe Certified Photoshop Expert with extensive experience in both the traditional and digital darkroom. His Jump Start series provides photographers with the informative ideas to effectively experiment with alternative photographic equipment. Creative Jump Start: Shooting with Fisheye and Ultra Wide-Angle Lenses by Seán Duggan On my recent Autumn & Aurora Discoveries workshop in Iceland, I decided to step outside my usual focal length comfort zone and do some experimenting with a 15mm fisheye lens on my full-frame Canon DSLR. BorrowLenses.com is a great resource that makes it easy to take different gear for a test drive and I really appreciate the large selection they have. Sometimes a lens is needed for a very specific purpose but at other times I’ll try out a lens simply because it offers such a different perspective from the lenses I normally use. This was the case with the 15mm f/2.8 lens. Most of my wide-angle shots are made at the 24mm focal length, with occasional images made with a 16–35mm. I knew, however, that the 15mm would offer a much different perspective than the 16mm. It is technically only one millimeter of focal length difference but the level of distortion is significantly more with the 15mm lens. Although the super wide angle-of-view was quite useful for some shots, it was actually the distortion that I was most interested in. Shooting straight at the horizon yielded an image that was very wide with not too much distortion but tilting the camera either up or down yielded a very pronounced curvature of the horizon. Tilting up...
What do Meditation and Macro Photography Have in Common?

What do Meditation and Macro Photography Have in Common?

Macro photography is much like a meditation practice: there must be a willingness to experiment outside your comfort zone, practiced patience, and a dedication to learning. The genre has been a popular niche for decades and now with easier accessibility to the tools it takes to create this kind of photo, there are a few ideas it is best to understand first. With its popularity there is a lot of technical information available that can be difficult to understand when you are first starting out. Whether you are shooting detailed still lives or capturing your environment in a new perspective, there are certain things to consider that will aid in your success and help you avoid defeating frustration. Understanding the most important questions to ask yourself and why its important to know the answers before you even pick up your camera is the first step. Let’s take a closer look at the best tools of the trade, tips, and tricks to get started in macro photography. What Exactly Is Macro Photography? Macro photography has been in pop vernacular for some time now and is the close-up photography of very small subjects captured life size. You will often hear the terms magnification rate or reproduction rates when referring macro photography, which translates the size in which the subject is being captured in relation to their actual size. A ratio of 1:1 is imagery true to life in size, 1:2 is half it’s size in reality, and so on. You can tell the ratio you are able to shoot by reading the markings on the side of a macro lens. For...
Underwater Housing Units and Sound Blimp Compatibility Guide

Underwater Housing Units and Sound Blimp Compatibility Guide

Underwater housing units allow you to shoot photos and video up to 33′ under water while the sound blimps reduce shutter sounds by up to 90%. So whether you’re doing ethereal, watery fashion shoots, capturing athletes in strong surf, or being as inconspicuous as possible at a special event, we’ll have you (and your gear) covered with AquaTech. All About Our Waterproof Housings We carry underwater housing units for the following cameras: Elite 6D for Canon 6D Elite 70D for Canon 70D Elite 5D III for Canon 5D Mark III Elite 7D for Canon 7D Elite 7D2 for Canon 7D Mark II Elite D7100 for Nikon D7100 Elite D750 for Nikon D750 Elite 800 for Nikon D800/D800E/D810 Elite GH4 for Panasonic GH4 Delphin 1D for Canon 1D X/1D C Delphin D4 for Nikon D4/D4s   For those who are new to the underwater shooting world (and it’s a fun world) you can’t just get one of the housings above. You must also get a housing for your lens to connect to the body housing. Here is a run down of the lens ports we now have and what lenses they go with: P-65 • Canon 24mm f/2.8 • Canon 24mm f2.8 IS • Canon 28mm f/1.8 • Canon 35mm f/2.8 • Canon 35mm f/2 IS • Canon 50mm f/1.8 • Canon 50mm f/1.4 • Nikon 20mm f/2.8 • Nikon 24mm f/2.8 • Nikon 28mm f/2.8 • Nikon 35mm f/2 • Nikon 50mm f/1.4 • Nikon 50mm f/1.8 • Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX (Nikon or Canon Mount.) • Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 (Needs a 70mm Extension Ring. Don’t worry, we rent that, too!)...
A Review of Fuji’s X-trans CMOS II Sensor and X-mount Lenses

A Review of Fuji’s X-trans CMOS II Sensor and X-mount Lenses

David Kingham is a landscape photographer with years of experience and a known track record of going great lengths to capture spectacular landscapes. He is constantly searching for the ideal camera and lens combo to facilitate longer travel with more energy when he arrives. Find out how Fuji’s new mirror-less line of cameras and interchangeable X-mount lenses tested for his needs. As a landscape photographer that hikes a considerable amount I am always looking for ways to lighten my load on and off the trail. After switching to full frame DSLRs years ago, I had never considered the Fuji system due to the cropped (APS-C) sensor. Despite being convinced I’d never go back to a crop sensors, I couldn’t help my curiosity after hearing so many great reviews coming from Fuji converts. Borrowlenses.com was kind enough to send me the following bodies and lenses to review: Fuji X-T1  Fuji X-E2  Fuji 14mm f/2.8 Fuji 10-24 f/4 Fuji 18-55  Fuji 55-200 Fuji 18mm f/2 Zeiss Touit f/2.8 Note: All images are jpegs straight from the camera unless otherwise noted.   X-T1           I immediately fell in love with the Fuji X-T1 camera after using it for just a few minutes. I was first taken by the ergonomics of the camera: small, light, and the grips are placed perfectly to where I never feel uncomfortable holding it. The multitude of dials allow the user quick access to adjust settings, and I was especially taken by the feature of having the ISO and shutter speed as dials. I’ve never shot with a rangefinder, but I now know why most...
Shooting at Night with the Panasonic GH4

Shooting at Night with the Panasonic GH4

The Panasonic GH4 is an amazing little camera. I’ve been putting it through its paces from the moment I got my hands on one, and just like any gearhead, have been reading practically every review and comment about it on the internet. What can I say? It’s an addiction. I confess. One thing that stood out to me in all the signal and noise out there was that this camera isn’t a great performer at high ISO. My initial quick tests bore that out; at ISO 800, the footage is pretty noisy and by 1600, it’s unusable for a lot of work. But what I wanted to know was something a bit more subtle. I wanted to know if I could shoot at night, in a place like San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, and still walk away with usable footage? See, what a lot of people don’t get is that “low light” and “high ISO” aren’t synonymous. Just because you don’t have bright daylight doesn’t mean you have to force your camera into stratospheric ISOs. There’s more than one way to skin this particular cat and so, with my GH4 and some bits and bobs, I set out to find out if I could get the footage I wanted. Here’s the gear list: Panasonic GH4 Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8, Nikon-mount Voigtlander 17.5mm f/0.95 Metabones Nikon G to Micro Four Thirds Speedbooster Video tripod and head The video is below, but before you watch it, here are a few notes to keep in mind so you know what to expect… The video is shot at 4K, 24p. ISO was kept between 200 and 400 for...
Why the Sony RX100 III Point & Shoot is a Vacation Must-Have

Why the Sony RX100 III Point & Shoot is a Vacation Must-Have

Do you agonize over sacrificing quality in favor of comfort when packing camera gear for vacation? I tossed my hefty Nikon D800 aside and rented the Sony RX100 III from BorrowLenses.com for vacation. I wasn’t going to shoot much so if the camera sucked then no harm, no foul. The camera definitely didn’t suck. Sony’s third iteration of an already well-regarded model opened my eyes to just how far point and shoots have come. I didn’t expect to write this blog post so I don’t have very many traditional “camera review” photos. What I have, however, will demonstrate how one can get big results from a camera the size of a deck of cards. Part I: Sample Shots Night Photography They’re no National Geographic contenders but considering that I wasn’t expecting anything from laying my camera on the ground with a 15 second exposure, I am impressed. Being somewhere with very little light pollution (Rarotonga in this case) helps. The noise is bad in the clouds but I am really cranking it at ISO 5000. I didn’t spend time perfecting exposure times but I urge you to take this camera out and test its limits on night sky photography. Capturing average night scenes was fruitful as well. This is where we ate dinner every night. Taken handheld at 1/30th of a second, f/1.8 at ISO 800.The Macro Mode on the RX100 III is pretty good, too – even in low light! Macro Photography I didn’t play with this feature a whole lot but what I saw was promising. It’s no Olympus but that’s hardly a fair comparison. This is a point and...