Pros You Should Know: Juan Pons

Pros You Should Know: Juan Pons

“Pros you should know” is an ongoing Q&A series with photographers that the folks here at BorrowLenses.com admire and follow. Juan Pons has been a photographer for more than 20 years. Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Juan is a fantastic nature and wildlife photographer and educator. An avid conservationist, Juan’s passion for the environment is evident through his images, many of which he donates to non-profit organizations focused on nature conservation. He leads workshops in Yellowstone, Bosque Del Apache, and many other locations around the world, and is co-host of the Digital Photo Experience podcast, which is definitely worth a listen for photo enthusiasts. We asked Juan to take a bit of time from his busy schedule and answer a few questions for us, and he was kind enough to acquiesce, and to provide us with some of his amazing photography (more of which can be found on his blog) for this piece. 1. How did you get started in photography? I was very fortunate that the high school I attended had an excellent photography teacher and program. Ms. Solorow was incredibly inspirational and taught us not just the basics and mechanics of photography, but that we should always be experimenting and stepping out of our comfort zones photographically. 2. How has photography changed the way you see the world around you? The primary reason I decided to concentrate on wildlife and nature photography is because it allows me to slow down and examine wildlife and nature much more intimately than I would have otherwise. I am a firm believer that you must know your subject...
How to Visualize and Shoot in B&W

How to Visualize and Shoot in B&W

Black and white photography is one of the oldest forms of photography; yet its popularity seems to have been on the uptick of late. With plugins like Alien Skin’s Exposure and Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2, digital photographers now have some amazing tools at their disposal to create black and white images of varying types. But the problem with shooting for black and white is knowing what will look good as a monochrome image. It can take photographers years to look at a scene and know what it will look like when rendered in monochrome. The old adage of “If it doesn’t look good, just convert it to B&W and call it art,” doesn’t hold very true. Rather, the axiom “GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out)” is much more accurate. You have to know what will stand out as a black and white image, and that’s what this week’s tip is about. Most – if not all – digital cameras out there have a black-and-white or monochrome setting. For example, my 5D Mark II has a Monochrome setting under the Picture Styles menu, as does my Olympus Micro-Four-Thirds camera. Simply select this setting and shoot. Your subject – whether it’s a portrait or a landscape or a street scene – will be recorded as a black-and-white image. Furthermore, if you want to see what an image will look like in B&W when you adjust your exposure, switch to Live-View on your camera. If you have a smaller, Micro-Four-Thirds or Sony NEX camera, this is what you use anyway to take your shots. You’ll get a live preview of what a B&W image...

From the “You don’t need a $10,000 camera” department…

Here’s something to remind you that you don’t need thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment to do something truly captivating. David HJ. Lindberg’s video of running through mud puddles (below) was shot with a Canon T21 and a 50mm f/1.8 lens. The Beauty of Mud (4000 fps) from David HJ. Lindberg on Vimeo. We really have gotten to the point where ingenuity, perseverance and creativity don’t need to be accompanied by tons of money. The photo gear that David used (T2i and 50mm f/1.8) can be rented for about $60 for three days from BorrowLenses. We also have the T2i for sale for just $450, if you want to buy it. Bottom-line: You’re not really limited by gear anymore – just grab your camera and lens and get out...
One Fisheye to Rule Them All!

One Fisheye to Rule Them All!

After spending some quality time with Canon’s newest L-series lens, the EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM, we can safely say it is the undisputed king of the fishes. It’s so versatile that it replaces at least five other lenses: the Sigma 8mm, Peleng’s 8mm, Tokina’s 10-17mm, Canon’s own 15mm and the Zenitar 16mm. It covers the same focal length as all five of these lenses (for the most part) while being sharper across the zoom range, delivering crisp, contrasty images that are to be expected from a lens bearing Canon’s lofty “L” designation. With this lens in your bag, there’s little reason to consider another fisheye lens, regardless of what camera body you are using. Full-Frame and Crop Sensor Bodies If you’re shooting with a full-frame camera like the 5D Mark II, the 8-15mm provides a full circular 180-degree half-hemispherical perspective (see below for examples). If you’re on a crop sensor, you will not get the full-circle effect as it’s simply not wide enough, and at the long end you’ll be at the equivalent of 24mm. This leaves a bit of breathing room for the Sigma 4.5mm which produces full circular images on the crop cameras (the only current fisheye it doesn’t totally replace).    What is a Fisheye? The fisheye look is characterized by barrel distortion, especially strong on the edges, that renders straight lines as curves unless they pass through the center of the frame. In some cases the distortion is distracting so many photographers opt to use an ultra-wide rectilinear lens (which lacks the fisheye curvature) such as the Canon 16-35mm or 10-22mm in order to produce a...
Tip of the week: Making sense of PocketWizards, Part II

Tip of the week: Making sense of PocketWizards, Part II

Every Thursday, we post a photography-related tip on our blog. These tips are typically inspired by questions we get from our customers. Sometimes we might feature a technique tip, and sometimes a gear recommendation. If there’s something specific you’d like to see in this section, let us know. Email us at blog@borrowlenses.com. In Part I of this series, we talked about the standard types of PocketWizards, covering the Plus II and Multimax triggers. Now, we’ll tackle the newer, more complex types of PocketWizards, called the ControlTL series. About the ControlTL series ControlTL stands for “Control The Light”, and it’s PocketWizard’s way of giving photographers even greater power over their lighting setup. There are several items that make up the system, from triggers designed specifically for studio flashes like the Paul C. Buff Einstein E640 lights, to small flash-specific triggers like the Nikon SB-900 and Canon 580EXII. The fundamental idea behind the ControlTL series is to give photographers a way to control their lights right from the camera. This means that not only can you trigger an SB-900 from your Nikon D700, but you can also control the power output of that strobe, right from your camera. Now, some of you might be thinking, “I can already control my SB-900 from my D700. What do I need these triggers for?” Well, as we mentioned in part I, the cool thing about radio triggers is that you don’t need line-of-sight to trigger your flashes. Moreover, in bright sunlight, the Nikon CLS system or the Canon Speedliting system break down and become less reliable. Radio triggers do not suffer from these conditions,...