Travel Photography Tips from John Batdorff

This is a guest-post from John Batdorff II, a renowned travel photographer and friend of BorrowLenses.com. John is known for his landscape and travel photography, workshops, books and popular photography blog. He has traveled all around the world and, as part of our Tip of the Week series, shares his top tips on what to do if you’re planning a photo trip abroad. Take it away John!  Over the years I’ve learned a few things about travel photography. First and foremost, preparation is critical, and second, nothing ever goes as planned. Managing expectations, mitigating potential problems, and being flexible are key ingredients to ensuring a great experience. Here are few of my tips for planning a successful photo trip: Create a Shot List:  Whenever I’m traveling to an unfamiliar area I like to create a shot list of images I would like to capture. I’ll spend countless hours searching Google images and Flickr in an effort to familiarize myself with an area while jotting down places of interest. A good shot list should help answer questions like, what equipment will you need? Will you need a long lens, wide angle, tripod, backpack, etc? The list should help create opportunities by identifying the best locations and times to shoot, and most importantly, by feeding your creative vision. I like to think of my shot list as a fluid document that adapts and changes as opportunities present themselves. Buy a Good Book: A picture is worth a thousand words, but a good book about local culture and history is priceless. Understanding the people and places you are shooting will help you...
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...