be won! £11,000 of priur zbeestsnato tural history photos
On sale Tuesday 9 March 2021
Don’t forget to enter yo of the Year 2021 er ph ra og ot Ph r eu at Am o int
PREMIUM EDITION Passionate about photography since 1884 MARCH 2021
Passionate about photography since 1884
Nature & wildlife
INSIDE 32-page pull-out guide
● EXPERT TIPS for
Bumper issue packed with inspiration for photographing the natural world
better nature photos ● Tesni Ward on editing WILDLIFE SHOTS ● TOP ACCESSORIES & LENSES for wildlife
Talks to AP about the changing role of nature photography
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Create stunning flower still-lifes at home, says Tracy Calder
Floral flat lays
The art, the science and the ethics of camera trap photos
It’s a trap!
Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 Tested: Latest wideangle zoom for Nikon mirrorless
Exclusive offer Unmissable Eve Arnold poster offer for AP readers
A LWAY S E V O LV I N G . Z SERIES
L A RG E ST MOU N T | A B U N DA N T L I G H T | U LT I M AT E I M AG I N G E X P E R I E N C E For more informati on visit w w w.nikon.co.uk
COVER SHOT © ANDREW PARKINSON/PULL-OUT COVER SHOT © ROSS HODDINOTT
7days Nothing ever made by mankind can match the beauty of nature’s creations. No wonder the natural world is by far the most popular subject among AP readers. This issue is dedicated to capturing nature in all its forms, and we’ve brought together a formidable line-up of experts to offer their tips and inspiration. We cover everything from flowers to falcons, lions to octopus larvae. We investigate the fascinating world of camera trap photography,
This week’s cover image
The puffin photo on this week’s cover was taken in the Shetland Islands by Andrew Parkinson. Read his tips on page 38
In this issue 3 7 days
recommend the best lenses and accessories to buy, and provide tips on editing. We also talk to some of the world’s top wildlife and nature photographers including Frans Lanting, who tells us about the changing role of nature photography in a world where so many of the Earth’s habitats and species are increasingly under threat. Don’t forget to enter your best natural history photos into Round 2 of our all-new Amateur Photographer of the Year competition, for your chance to win a share of our £11,000 prize pot. Nigel Atherton, Editor
If you’d like to see your words or pictures published in Amateur Photographer, here’s how:
SOMETHING TO SAY? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your letters, opinion columns (max 500 words) or article suggestions. PICTURES Send us a link to your website or gallery, or attach a set of low-res sample images (up to a total of 5MB) to email@example.com. JOIN US ONLINE Post your pictures into our Flickr, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram communities. amateurphotographer.co.uk
This week in 1969
TREASURES FROM THE HULTON ARCHIVE
14 Natural selection 20 Camera trapping 26 Positive solutions 28 Reader portfolio 30 APOY R2 launch 36 Nature’s best 44 Human nature 50 Photo insight 52 Last chance 54 A fascination for falcons 56 Tools for success 58 Lenses for nature & wildlife 62 Accessories for nature & wildlife 69 GuruShots winners 75 Second-hand Classic 79 Nikon Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S 82 Accessories 83 Tech talk 87 Buying Guide 98 Final analysis
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The McCartneys by Keystone Paul McCartney and his new wife Linda, née Eastman, an American photographer, leave Marylebone Registry Office with a police escort after their civil wedding ceremony on 12 March, 1969. The best man – Paul’s brother, Mike McGear – is on the right. Linda McCartney was well known as a music photographer and her 1968 photo of Eric Clapton
was the first picture taken by a woman to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone. She also photographed iconic musicians including The Rolling Stones, Otis Redding, and Jimi Hendrix. Paul and Linda were married until her death in 1998 at the age of 56 from breast cancer. One of their daughters, Mary McCartney, is now also a successful photographer.
The Getty Images Hulton Archive is one of the world’s great cultural resources. Tracing its origins to the founding of the London Stereoscopic Company in 1854, today it houses over 80 million images spanning the birth of photography to the digital age. Explore it at www.gettyimages.com.
Want to see your pictures here? Share them with our Flickr, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook communities using the hashtag #appicoftheweek. Or email your best shot to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. See page 3 for how to find us. 4
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Our favourite photos posted by readers on our social media channels this week
AP picture of the week Fallow in the Frost by Francis Smith Nikon D500, Nikkor 70-200mm f/4 lens, 1/640sec at f/8, ISO 1250 ‘I took this picture at Hillesden House in Bucks whilst on a lockdown walk,’ says Francis, from Brackley, Northamptonshire. ‘The house has a deer park and this was one of those beautiful cold, frosty mornings with some freezing fog. I spotted this deer on the move and I followed it around, shooting a sequence of pictures through the holes in the deer fence. I felt that the mono treatment gave it a rather bleak feeling, reflecting the harsh weather. I love the expression on the animal’s face – it seems to be peering into the distance, fixed on something we can’t see.’ Francis is active on Facebook and Viewbug as fransmiff.
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Each week we choose our favourite picture on Facebook, Instagram, Flickr or Twitter using #appicoftheweek. PermaJet proudly supports the online picture of the week winner, who will receive a top-quality print of their image on the finest PermaJet paper*. It is important to bring images to life outside the digital sphere, so we encourage everyone to get printing today! Visit www.permajet.com to learn more. 5
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Valentine’s Day Romance 2021 by Liam Ford Nikon D500, Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro, 1/20sec at f/3.5, ISO 140 Liam is just 21, and works in retail. ‘In usual circumstances I religiously go out during my days off to exercise my imagination with a camera in my hand. Lockdown 3 seems to have hit everybody a little harder in my opinion. Being confined at home on furlough I decided to stretch my imagination for a Valentine’s Day shoot. I set up a black backdrop in the living room after the sun went down, and used one LED umbrella light to the right of the roses as my only light source, which provided great highlights on the water droplets.’ Liam is on Instagram at @ljfpics. 6
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Weathering the Storm by Carl Harris Nikon D7500, Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 lens @ 500mm, 1/125sec at f/5.6, ISO 3600 ‘This picture of a grey heron was taken on 27 December 2020 in the Bordesley Abbey area in Redditch, Worcestershire, during our first snow storm of this year,’ says Carl, who describes himself as a 52-year-old amateur photographer who has been learning for the past three or four years. This is a great example of a monochromatic colour image, with everything in the image being in shades of grey. The heron is perfectly positioned in the frame.
Female Great Spotted Woodpecker by Jeff Kirby LRPS, CPAGB Nikon Z7 II, Sigma 150-600 f/5.6-6.3 @ 500mm, 1/800sec at f/6, ISO 6400 ‘This shot was taken at Westonbirt Arboretum on the first time out with this cameralens combination,‘ says Jeff, who describes himself as a fanatical wildlife photographer. ‘Following the calls of several woodpeckers I managed to get fairly close to this female in a dark area of woodland but, patience was the key, as I waited for her to appear through a gap in the tree vegetation. I was afforded just a few seconds to capture the shot but was delighted with the posture of the bird, the background, the textures and the framing of my subject.’ Jeff is on Instagram at @jeffkirbyphotography.
Snowdrops by Claire Norman Nikon D750, Sigma 105mm f/2.8, 1/200sec at f/9, ISO 800 ‘I have recently started photographing flowers and I am really enjoying it,’ says Claire. ‘Lockdown renewed my love of gardening and hopefully I will have many flowers to photograph in 2021, the fruits of my labour.’ Claire is on Instagram at @mysecretgardenlife. www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
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Sigma launches compact 28-70mm f/2.8 zoom
Updated Pentax HD-FA Limited primes RICOH has revealed updated versions of its much-loved Pentax full-frame Limited-series primes. Based on classic designs that date back two decades, the HD Pentax-FA 31mm F1.8 Limited, HD Pentax-FA 43mm F1.9 Limited and HD Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited all gain improved HD coatings to maximise contrast and combat flare and ghosting, along with fluorine coating on the front element to repel grease and water. All three lenses boast aluminium barrels with traditional aperture rings, a circular diaphragm for attractive bokeh, and screw-drive autofocus driven from the camera body. They should be in the shops at the end of April, priced £649.99 for the 43mm f/1.9, £799.99 for the 77mm f/1.8, and £1,099.99 for the 31mm f/1.8.
SIGMA has announced a lightweight standard zoom for full-frame mirrorless cameras, the 28-70mm F2.8 DG DN | C. It’s designed to be a smaller and more affordable alternative to the firm’s existing 24-70mm f/2.8, and a direct competitor to the Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8 Di III RXD. Its credentials as a carry-anywhere lens are reinforced by its compact dimensions: at 72.2mm in diameter, 101.5mm in length and 470g in weight, it’s the smallest and lightest in its class. Optically the lens is based on the excellent 24-70mm f/2.8, but with the narrower 28mm start-point allowing a more compact design. It’s constructed using 16 elements in 12 groups, including 2 ‘F’ low dispersion (FLD), 3 super-low dispersion (SLD) and 3 aspherical glass elements to suppress optical aberrations. Nine rounded blades are used in the aperture diaphragm, with the aim of delivering attractive bokeh. Sigma has included an O-ring seal around the mount to stop dust or water getting into the camera, but the lens barrel itself isn’t sealed. The front
The lens should be a good fit to the Sigma fp
element is treated with a waterand oil-repellent coating, and a large AF/MF switch is positioned on one side. A stepping motor drives a single internal element for rapid, silent autofocus. The minimum focus distance ranges from 19cm at wideangle to 38cm at telephoto, and the lens accepts 67mm filters. It’ll be available in Leica L and Sony E mounts from 12 March for £759.99. This is the smallest f/2.8 zoom for full-frame mirrorless
Canon releases EOS M50 Mark II
Limited-edition Leica Q2 IN A move sure to appeal to Bond fans, Leica has unveiled a limited edition of its Q2 full-frame compact that’s a collaboration between actor Daniel Craig and British photographer Greg Williams. Internally identical to the standard Q2, it’s distinguished by its black finish with gold markings, said to be inspired by the brassing seen on old cameras and lenses. The Leica Q2 Daniel Craig x Greg Williams is limited to 750 units worldwide and costs £5,600, a £1,100 premium over the Q2. 8
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CANON has introduced an update to its entry-level mirrorless model, in the shape of the EOS M50 Mark II. This camera, which has been available outside of the UK for four months, uses essentially identical hardware to its predecessor, with a 24MP APS-C sensor housed inside a small and lightweight SLR-shaped body with a central electronic viewfinder and a fully articulated touchscreen. It sports a simple design that aims to be approachable for beginners, while providing a sensitivity range of ISO 10051,200, along with 10 frames per second continuous shooting. New features are mainly centred on video sharing. The camera supports social media-friendly vertical recording for playback on mobile devices,
along with Full HD live streaming to YouTube. It boasts a 3.5mm stereo microphone input, and can also be used as a webcam. The Canon EOS M50 Mark II will be available in either black or white, and is due to go on sale at the end of March for £589.99 body-only, which is just £40 more than its predecessor’s current street price. Canon’s latest model is a relatively minor update
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Pandemic sparks printing boom MASK fatigue…Zoom overload… shuttered shops, pubs and restaurants… One positive seems to have come out of the recent lockdowns, however: more people are printing at home, including their photos. According to a survey of over 1,350 people by inkjet supplier Cartridge People, more than one in five people are printing more now than they were prior to the pandemic, with over a quarter using their printer daily while half are printing on weekly basis. As you’d expect, the greatest upswing in printer use has been for home working (28%), while another 14% were hitting the print button more for home schooling, or their own education. Photography was close behind at 12%. The survey also revealed that HP was
The latest and best books from the world of photography
More people are printing photos at home
Penguin: A Story of Survival by Stefan Christmann
the most popular printer manufacturer in the UK (47% of respondents), followed by Canon (20%) and Epson (17%). See the full results at bit.ly/ homeprintingboom and watch out for more on printing in future issues of AP.
£35, teNeues, hardback, 216 pages, ISBN: 9783961712892
© EVE ARNOLD/MAGNUM PHOTOS
A testament to just how dedicated some wildlife photographers can be, this book follows the Wildlife Photographer of the Year winning photographer, Stefan Christmann, who spent 23 months accompanying a penguin colony in Antarctica. The results are a beautiful and fascinating look at this most beguiling of species – the emperor penguin. These penguins survive the relentless Antarctic climate, braving an average temperature of -49°, thanks to their special adaptation to the cold. As well as a stunning set of images, there are essays on personal experiences with the animals, with touching insights that help you to fall in love with these birds even more.
Hill & Dale: My Shropshire Year by Andrew Fusek Peters £25, Yew Tree Press, hardback, 192 pages, ISBN: 9781916375505 Marilyn Monroe in the Nevada desert going over lines for The Misfits
Eve Arnold poster print offer WE’RE delighted to offer readers an exclusive discount on some of Eve Arnold’s finest images, presented as 16x20in posters. Arnold (1912-2012) was a pioneering US photojournalist and portrait photographer who shot Hollywood stars, notably Marilyn Monroe, whilst simultaneously exploring racial equality, religion, sexuality and human rights in a fiercely male-dominated industry. In 1957 she became the first woman to join Magnum Photos. www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
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The collection of 15 images includes Arnold’s last shoot with Monroe, which took place a year before the actress passed away. Each poster is priced £30, reflecting Arnold’s desire for her work to be made more affordable (prior to this, Arnold’s images were only available as prints retailing from £1,000). You can order the posters at www.evearnold. com/posters and get an extra 10% by using the code AP-EVE-A at checkout. The offer runs from 11 March until 30 April.
This beautifully produced book features month-by-month photography by Andrew Fusek Peters, who’s featured quite often in the pages of AP – not only talking about technical matters, but also sharing how photography has helped him cope with health challenges. Andrew is equally at home with wildlife photography as he is with landscapes, and the images are stunning – particularly those of birds in flight or showing particular behaviours. His hard work, and mastery of his Olympus, has really paid off. Andrew is an accomplished poet and published children’s author, so the accompanying text is a lot more eloquent and engaging compared to a conventional nature photography book. An inspirational book that should encourage lots of other AP readers with a love of nature to develop their skills, keep at it and build their profile. 11
From the archive
Nigel Atherton looks back at past AP issues
AP columnist Victor Blackman photographs Britain’s nuclear missile collection
25 March 1964 AFTER the Cuban Missile Crisis, the fear of nuclear war terrified millions, so why not reassure the public by inviting Victor Blackman of the Daily Express to photograph our own nuclear arsenal? ‘We have all heard about the dreadful power of the H-Bomb,’ he wrote, ‘but I wonder how many people have seen what these weapons look like? A few weeks ago I paid a visit to the RAF V-Bomber bases at Wittering. These aerodromes are normally shrouded in the strictest security imaginable, but just for this occasion photography was allowed, so this week’s pictures show you the bombs which are the cause of so many of the world’s headaches. Personally I found it quite overwhelming to look at them and realise the fantastic destructive power of even one, let alone the dozen or more in the storage shed – and I assure you they are not dummies; all are very real. The pictures were all taken with my Leica M3 and Canon 35mm lens.’ For something less troubling, how about a tutorial on colour printing, illustrated in black & white? ‘An informal home portrait which looks well in colour,’ promised the caption to one shot. We’ll have to take their word for it. At retailer RG Lewis every new camera was personally tested and approved by their technical advisor, former AP Editor, ALM Sowerby (so that’s where AP Editors go when they retire). Their deal of the week was the Exakta Varex IIB: ‘One of the very few cameras we should describe as an investment,’ they enthused. With the 50mm f/2 Pancolar, as shown, it would set you back £91 1s 2d – or £1,925 in today’s money. 12
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In 1964 a box of 100 sheets of 8x10 colour paper cost £12 – that’s £253 today
‘Mr Sowerby’s penetrating report on his investigation of the Exakta Varex IIB, carried out on our behalf, is now ready and will be sent on receipt of a stamp’ www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
NATURE FLAT LAYS
When you’re dealing with small, delicate subjects, a set of tweezers is invaluable. If you try to move a leaf, seed or petal with your fingers it’s easy to knock other objects out of place. I use Pointed Slant Tweezers from Tweezerman as they are super-precise.
Having started out with a small lightbox for viewing transparencies, I recently upgraded to an A3 Cutterpillar Glow (from eBay). This super-thin light board has dimmable settings – low, medium and high – and an internal battery that can last up to five hours.
To shoot a flat lay you need to point your camera straight down. As a result, it’s best to use a tripod with a central column that can be positioned at 90°. I use a Manfrotto 190CXPRO4, but there are plenty of other makes and models available.
Where possible, I like to use white card, old bits of wood, battered baking trays or fabric as backdrops for my flat lays, but for flexibility (and storage) you can’t beat the neat textured-effect boards produced by the likes of Photo Boards and Black Velvet Styling.
It can be fun to use a prop or two in your flat lay. Items like this old paintbrush can be bought quite cheaply off eBay.
Fujifilm X-T2 with 18-55mm lens, 1/10sec at f/13, ISO 800 14
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Tracy has more than 20 years of experience in the photo industry and is a former editor of Outdoor Photography magazine. In 2018 she co-founded Close-up Photographer of the Year (CUPOTY) – an annual competition celebrating close-up, macro and micro photography. She has written numerous photography books and is a regular teacher at West Dean College of Art & Design. To see more of Tracy’s work see Instagram @tracy_calder_photo.
Natural selection Bringing nature indoors can lead to creative compositions and a genuine sense of calm, says Tracy Calder. You just need to be good at jigsaw puzzles!
don’t like surprises. I’m the kind of person who gets three chapters into a book and then skim reads to the end. So, as you can imagine, when Covid-19 arrived in the UK, and my husband and young daughter were advised to shield, it came as a shock. Like most people our routine was thrown into complete disarray, and within weeks I was struggling. There was so little I could control, and the need to keep my family safe meant that even our daily walks had to be carefully planned to avoid the crowds. Over time, however, the visits we made to our local woods and hills became a highlight – we saw blossom in the hedgerows, hares boxing in the fields and bats swooping around at dusk. I wanted to find a way to celebrate nature and to show my gratitude. I’d recently started playing around with flat lay photography (shooting objects directly from above), but until then all my arrangements featured manmade objects. The next time we went for a walk I gathered up a few leaves and twigs and, once home, set about arranging them on a piece of white board. Within minutes I was hooked – there was something calming and meditative about the whole process. At last, here was something I could control. Since then, I’ve been making flat lays regularly. As the seasons change, they bring www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
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fresh subject matter, so I don’t plan to stop any time soon!
What to shoot
Chefs often use the expression, ‘What grows together, goes together’, and it’s something that I often apply to flat lays. If you find attractive berries, for example, look around to see what else is growing nearby. Are there any leaves or brambles that might look good in your composition too? Can you use these to tell a story about a specific hedge or location? For a different kind of picture, I go on a colour search, tracking down leaves of the same colour, but with slightly different tones. This is a fun activity, and you can create your own colour wheel using what you find. Alternatively, I might seek objects with similar shapes, such as the arrow-like tops of roadside grasses. Anything in large quantities looks good but, where possible, gather berries etc from the ground, and be aware of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 – more than 100 flowering plants are actually protected by law.
Building an arrangement
When it comes to arranging your treasures, imagine that you are completing a jigsaw. I tend to choose one item as a ‘hero’ object, placing it in the middle first. This item could be a leaf with an interesting shape, a 15
NATURE FLAT LAYS
Chefs often say, ‘What grows together, goes together.’ These berries and ivy leaves were taken from the same tree, just metres from my front door Fujifilm X-T2, 18-55mm, 0.6sec at f/11, ISO 200
particularly bold flower or a twisted piece of wood – anything that catches your eye. Next, find suitable objects to place in the corners of the frame – I like to keep my favourite pieces for these key areas. Now it’s time to line the edges. Experiment with cutting items off at the edges of the frame – if the composition looks too staged then the final picture can look flat. Next, fill the main gaps with pieces of secondary importance. Remember, our eyes follow lines, so use any stems or anthers to guide the viewer around the picture. Finally, fill smaller spaces with berries, parts of flowers or seeds. Make sure that these items are all the same as it helps to link different parts of the picture together. When you’re positioning objects, think about how they relate to one another. Is there a connection between shapes and colours? Are there similarities in texture or size? Can you introduce contrast in some way? Perhaps a line of similar flowers could be interrupted by a rogue bloom. It’s important to consider the role of negative space too. The areas that don’t contain the main subject are hugely important. I like to leave extra space around the ‘hero’ object to draw the viewer’s eye towards it, for example. Often, it’s just a case of letting the flowers or natural elements dictate the arrangement – the wispy seeds of old man’s beard, for instance, seem to suggest a composition full of movement and energy. There are no set rules, so just adjust the pieces until it feels right and, above all, keep it simple.
TRACY’S TOP TIPS
This style of photography isn’t always about static, carefully controlled compositions – sometimes it’s good to loosen up and leave things to chance. Here I took a small bowl of petals and flower heads and then simply threw them onto a backdrop with a contrasting colour. 16
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Break it down
Sometimes flower heads can dominate a flat lay, so try breaking them up. Experiment with leaving stalks or stems attached, in order to lead the eye around the frame. For this shot I removed the flowers from a large allium and laid them out on a lightbox.
Knowing which colours contrast or complement each other can lead to images with impact. Sometimes I like to use a floristry colour wheel to help me plan out my compositions. This green and yellow foliage was shot on the peeling blue paint of an old folding chair. www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
How to shoot
The main flat lays shown here were shot on either plastic photo boards or a lightbox (a Cutterpillar Glow), but you can use whatever you like: white card, fabric or old bits of wood work well. I am lucky enough to have a loft with plenty of natural light, so I cover the window with a bed sheet to diffuse it slightly and position my arrangement on the floor underneath. If areas of the composition fall into unwanted shadow, I use a piece of white card to bounce light back into them. Ultimately, what you’re aiming for is a bright, evenly lit picture. Bear in mind that pollen or torn petals can lead to more time in front of the computer, so use a paintbrush to sweep away any detritus, and only include perfect specimens (even if they are intentionally wilted or faded, they still need to be up to the job!) While I’m arranging my flat lay composition, my camera (a Fujifilm X-T2) and lens (an 18-55mm) are mounted to a tripod with the central column positioned at 90° to keep the body parallel to the subject. Live view is ideal for checking the arrangement as I add or remove objects, and with grid lines enabled too I can be sure that any lines (whether literal or implied) are truly straight. Every time I create a flat lay, a sense of calm descends. Using my hands, head and heart to create a photograph feels restorative; it’s a moment of self-care. Give it a go and you could soon be enjoying the benefits yourself.
The paper-like seed pods of honesty make perfect subjects for the lightbox. I left short stalks on each pod to help direct the eye around the frame Fujifilm X-T2, 18-55mm, 1/9sec at f/11, ISO 200
Try black & white
Grouping objects that relate to one another in some way, whether via shape, colour or, in this case, theme, can make for an interesting flat lay. Here I used an old piece of pegboard as a backdrop – the holes acted as a handy guide when it came to lining up the objects. www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
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When I’m posting on Instagram I use three words as my guide: colour, simple and balance. Sometimes, however, a subject calls out to be shot in black & white. The beautiful shape and detail of these ferns really shone out when illuminated on a lightbox.
Don’t bin it
When flowers wilt they can twist into wonderful shapes – don’t throw them away until you have exhausted all of their photographic potential. At first I was tempted to remove all the stray pollen and brown stems, but on reflection I felt they added something to the picture. 17
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trapping Images taken with camera traps are winning major photography awards. Far from the camera doing all the work, Keith Wilson discovers where the real work lies on the part of the photographer
mur tigers are the largest of the world’s big cats. They are also among the most endangered with barely 500 individuals living in the sprawling forests and mountains of Primorye Province in Russia’s Far East, with maybe another 20 or 30 roaming the remote borderlands into northeast China and North Korea. Also known as the Siberian tiger, new images of this beautiful and elusive predator are as rare as the animal itself. For that alone, Sergey Gorshkov’s prize-winning camera trap photo of an Amur tigress scentmarking a Manchurian fir tree was always going to stand out from the 49,000 other images entered in the 2020 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. But there is much more to his photo, ‘The Embrace’, than the fleeting glimpse of a legendary creature. ‘There are few who look at Sergey Gorshkov’s image and don’t marvel at it,’ says the chair of the competition judging panel, Roz Kidman Cox. ‘The focus is the Amur tiger’s pose of ecstasy but set within a whole scene – the
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composition – perfectly lit with both natural and artificial light. It’s an image that tells a story and does so with artistry.’ Through her appreciation of the photo’s aesthetics and beauty, Kidman Cox is acknowledging that camera trap images can be as artistic as any wildlife photo from the contest since it began in the 1960s. But ‘The Embrace’ is not the first camera trap photo to win the coveted title; that honour belongs to Steve Winter in 2008 for his astonishing image of a snow leopard, taken at night during a snowstorm in the mountains above Ladakh, India.
Unlike Gorshkov, who relied upon a passive infrared (PIR) motion detector to get his winning photo, Winter prefers an infrared beam running between a transmitter and receiver to trigger his cameras. This method, he says, gives him greater creative control over the composition. In effect, his precise placement of the beam will determine the exact position of the
© SERGEY GORSHKOV, WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2020
the art behind the science
The embrace. Ten months elapsed between setting up the camera trap and achieving this award-winning image of a rare Amur tigress scent-marking a Manchurian fir tree in Russia’s Far East
cat in the frame when the flash fires – assuming it ever turns up. Winter is painstaking about visualising the composition before getting his camera traps out: ‘A lot of the time I will step back and just look at the scene. I talk to myself a lot about the image, but that’s how I do it! Sometimes it will take a few days just walking the trail before we put a camera trap up, or I get excited about a location, if we see an area with a lot of animal tracks, and so we’ll stop tracking and put the camera up.’ Key to Winter’s set-ups is checking the flash exposure after dark before leaving the scene. ‘I knew that no matter when the snow leopard came by, whether it was 12 noon or 12 www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
midnight, the flash had to be the dominant light or else I wouldn’t get it. So that created for very long days and walking back in the dark. We came down in headlamps because you couldn’t check the flash until the sun went behind the mountain. I have done that my whole career.’ Winter says it is nearly always the first frame that gets the shot. ‘I rely on that first frame being mine,’ he says. ‘It’s that first frame that I composed and set-up, and methodically put that transmitter and receiver exactly where I want the cat to break the beam.’ Another reason why the first frame is likely to get his intended result is down to the behaviour of the animal www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
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A captive embrace ▲ WHEN Sergey Gorshkov was named 2020 months to check his cameras, but it wasn’t Wildlife Photographer of the Year for this remarkable photo, it was the culmination of a dream that began two winters before. Back in January 2019, in the Land of the Leopard National Park, Gorshkov installed the first of a series of camera traps, a Nikon Z 7 with 50mm f/1.8 lens, connected to a Cognisys Scout PIR motion sensor, 10 metres from a giant fir that bore traces of tiger hair and scratches. Park rangers believed this was a favourite place for tigers to scent-mark, so an ideal target area for a camera trap. ‘From then on, I could think of nothing else,’ he said. But a long wait lay ahead of him. Gorshkov trekked back every three
until nearly a year later, in November 2019, that his camera revealed this moment when the tigress hugged the tree while marking it with scent from her cheek glands. Titled ‘The Embrace’, the photo was one of only three tiger images taken from his camera traps in ten months. ‘The lighting, the colours, the texture – it’s like an oil painting,’ said Wildlife Photographer of the Year jury chair, Roz Kidman-Cox. The park rangers later identified the tigress as number T41F by her unique stripe pattern. She now has three cubs and Gorshkov’s next quest is to photograph the family in their Siberian wilderness home. 21
itself: ‘That’s the beauty about cats, they just walk by and don’t stop, so that’s all you’re going to get. So, you better had done it right the first time!’ Even after setting up in a location known to be on a favoured trail of a tiger or leopard, no photographer can predict how long the wait will be, or how many return visits will be needed to check cameras, batteries and memory cards, before the desired result is achieved – if at all. For Winter’s snow leopard, it was nearly five months, for Gorshkov’s tiger, almost a year. But, for all their planning and perseverance there remain those who believe these award-winning photos are little more than lucky camera trap snaps. Kidman Cox doesn’t deny luck plays a role. Referring to Gorshkov’s photo she says, ‘There is luck, but only made through extreme planning. More important, the photographer had to create the image in his mind’s eye before he could begin to plan how to make it. This required not only considerable experimentation and technical mastery, but also an artist’s eye.’ Kidman Cox says all camera trap images submitted for the 2020 competition came about after a minimum of three months of trial and error. ‘Also, and this is important, all their compositions
© STEVE WINTER
© STEVE WINTER
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would have been impossible to achieve in the wild in any other way without disturbance to their wild subjects, and in Sergey’s case, without danger to himself.’ The idea of achieving the impossible, to photograph a rarely seen animal or witness a behaviour unknown to science, are among the most convincing arguments in favour of camera traps. For awardwinning photographer Christian Ziegler, a recent trip to Bhutan provided such an example: ‘In Bhutan, I saw that the leopard is a very flexible species; I got photos from sea level and in a different camera trap above 2,000 metres. With camera traps, I love that I get an insight into the secret life of these shy animals, and maybe I will see some behaviour that has not been captured before.’ Ziegler is also a renowned tropical ecologist and frequently uses camera traps in his work for the Smithsonian Tropical www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
The Hollywood cougar ▲
STEVE Winter’s snow leopard may have won him the grand prize of Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2008, but it is his more recent photo, ‘Hollywood Cougar’, taken in 2013, which remains his best-known camera trap image. This time, the location – Los Angeles’ Griffith Park, site of the iconic Hollywood sign – was more accessible, but sightings of cougars were rare. That all changed in March 2012, when a trail camera set by biologists to monitor the local wildlife caught an image of a big young male. ‘Once I was told there were cats in that area, I then visualised what would be the perfect picture,’ he recalls. Winter worked with the biologists to set up a series of camera traps in the hills around Los Angeles, each positioned so they might catch the cougar (named P22) against the city background. Although P22 was collared and frequently sighted, it still took 14 months before Winter got the photo he envisaged. By that time, he knew the cougar better than any other wild cat he had photographed. ‘I even knew P22 walked down the hill with his head down,’ he says, ‘so I knew his nose would break the beam and not his chest because that’s a tight-ass frame and I don’t crop. That’s exactly the way he walked.’ Winter’s camera trap comprised a Canon EOS Rebel T3i with a 10-22mm lens set to 21mm, placed in a waterproof camera box with Plexiglass tubes for two SB700 Nikon flashes, and a Trailmaster infrared remote trigger. P22 is believed to be about 11 years old now and he roams Griffith Park still, in search of an elusive mate.
Above: A star is born. Steve Winter knew that the famous Hollywood cougar would break the infrared beam with his nose because he always walked with his head down
Left: Snowstorm leopard. No photos before or since have captured the elusive snow leopard as clearly as this camera trap image, for which Steve Winter was named Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2008
Research Institute in Panama. ‘To create really stunning pictures, I need repeated situations to fine-tune the picture, lighting and composition,’ he says. ‘Therefore, I look for a place where an animal goes repeatedly to forage, or a den or a nest to breed or to feed the offspring. Local knowledge is especially important when using camera traps, as you have to predict where the animal will be. You have to be able to recognise their trails, dens, scratching or scent marks so you are not wasting your time.’
Of paramount importance to camera trap specialists like Ziegler and Winter is to limit any disturbance to the subject. Flash is essential for most camera trap photography, and while big cats might seem insouciant towards its presence, some bat species are not so relaxed about their flight path being blitzed by multiple
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bursts of artificial white light. ‘I’ve found that some species are bothered by the flash,’ says Somerset-based photographer Neil Aldridge. ‘We know from research that bats avoid well-lit areas, they actively avoid white lighting.’ Aldridge, the 2014 European Wildlife Photographer of the Year, recently used camera traps to photograph several species, in particular the lesser horseshoe bat, emerging from their roost in a barn close to where he lives. Another species in the roost, the grey long-eared bat, is Britain’s rarest, and relies more on their sight to navigate than Aldridge first thought. ‘They hardly echo locate, even though they’ve got massive ears. They’ve evolved to rely more on sight and only echo locate when they get very close to their prey, so lighting does affect them quite considerably.’ However, photographing this or any bat is virtually impossible without
flash, so Aldridge changed his set-up to lessen any impact on the bats while still being able to create his shots. His solution was to stick red gel filters over his flash heads. ‘The bats don’t respond to red light in the same way they avoid white light,’ he says. ‘Using red filters for these bats is, I think, the right thing to do.’ But by using red light, he had to make other technical compromises to obtain his important photos of these endangered animals. (See page 25.)
Probably the most contentious practice associated with camera trap photography is the use of bait, or ‘supplementary feeding’ as some photographers refer to it. Aldridge, who also uses camera traps to photograph more common British wildlife such as foxes and badgers, prefers not to bait but has done so occasionally: ‘If you put in that fieldcraft and know the area, 23
Issues surrounding the use of bait and flash may contrive an ethical debate about camera trap photography for some, but Aldridge believes camera traps fully deserve their commended place in wildlife photography competitions. ‘Camera trapping is a fantastic tool. It’s part of the technological development of our craft,’ he says. ‘It can really add to story-telling by showing in one shot a connection between an animal and the environment. It’s revolutionised that.’ Fellow British wildlife photographer Andrew Parkinson, who is on the jury of this year’s European Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest, agrees: ‘If you don’t have camera trap images you’re talking about eliminating some of the greatest wildlife photos that have ever been taken – the snow leopard, the Siberian tiger. You can’t seriously expect Gorshkov to sit in the Siberian forest with a camera and lens and pray forever for a Siberian tiger to turn up. It’s an absolute absurdity!’ 24
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Wildlife Photographer of the Year finalist Matthew Maran believes to focus solely on the ethics of camera trap photography is to overlook a area of more concern: the behaviour of individual photographers. ‘This idea of ethical camera trap photography – why does camera trap photography have to carry that more than you as the person behind the camera going and harassing an animal?’ he asks. ‘That is equally if not more intrusive. If an animal is going to be spooked by a camera trap, at least it’s just a camera trap and not a person encroaching on its space. I don’t think the camera trap has more of an ethical responsibility than the human behind it.’ But the last word is best left to the practising scientist among the group: when asked what he had to say to people who think a camera trap image is not true photography, Christian Ziegler replied, ‘They don’t know anything about camera trapping!’
Cleverly, Aldridge taped a piece of pipe to the front of the sensor to narrow its active area, then mounted it in a tree pointing down to the exact spot on the ground where he wanted the fox to be, ‘so it was only going to go off when it was in the exact spot I wanted it to be’. Aldridge, who tutors nature and marine photography students at Falmouth University, says he wants to challenge the notion that camera trapping is easy, ‘that you just put the camera up and the animal takes its own picture’. There’s a term I use with my students: “high risk, high reward”. It’s my approach to camera trapping. It’s not a scattergun catchall. I know exactly what I want and I do a set-up so precise that there’s a risk I might not get anything, I might not get anything for two months, but when I do get it, the rewards are greater.’
© NEIL ALDRIDGE
‘THAT shot took me two months to get,’ says Neil Aldridge about his low, wideangle night study of an inquisitive rural fox. ‘That’s the shot I had in my head. I knew the spot, he’s in the woodland up the road from here. Interestingly, the light behind is not the last rays of sunset but the light pollution from Bristol!’ Though Aldridge knew the behaviour of the foxes that lived around this patch of woodland, it still took him two months to get the result he wanted with the fox in this specific position to make it the right size in the frame. First, he had to modify the PIR motion detector sensor with an active range of 180°. ‘When shooting with a PIR sensor that can pick up anything in the frame, like a mouse over there, or someone walking through the woods either side, you have to find a way to narrow it down.’
© NEIL ALDRIDGE
The ‘high risk, high reward’ approach ▲
and you build up that knowledge of when they come and go, you shouldn’t need to bait.’ However, when making camera trap images of foxes walking along a woodland trail, he was encouraged to do so by the farmer on whose land the foxes lived. ‘The farmer actively wanted me to bait the foxes, to make sure they were fed enough so they didn’t kill his chickens! He said, “If you’re going to photograph my foxes I want you to put some food down, and if you get your shots at the same time and the foxes are happy and they’re not doing my chickens, then it’s a win-win!”’ Steve Winter’s stance on the issue is unequivocal: ‘I’ve never baited a damned thing! I just don’t think it’s real if you’re going there and specifically baiting an animal to come into your camera for the sake of a photograph.’ That said, he recalls his first experiences of photographing big cats involved working with a team of scientists who laid down bait to attract jaguars. It proved to be in vain. ‘The areas we were working in, there was so much prey the cats would never come into a stinky-ass, maggot-filled dead animal! They had enough food there on their own. So, I pride myself in I have never done it because I never needed to.’
Fox trail. The range of the motion detector sensor for this shot was modified so that it would only trigger the camera when the fox walked into the corner of the frame
Red light area ▲
FOR NEIL Aldridge, the greatest challenge about this image of a lesser horseshoe bat flying over a field of long grass was determining how many flash units he would need. His task was made more difficult by his decision to use red light instead of white to lessen any disturbance caused to the bats, which are a protected species in the UK. However, placing red gel filters over the flash heads reduced output by four stops, and simply turning up the flash output to compensate was not a solution. Aldridge explains: ‘If you go to full power the light is on for longer, so for a fast-moving subject like a bat you’re likely to get some blur. So, you need the flashes on a significantly reduced power and to have more of them.’ Eventually, Aldridge settled on nine flash units. ‘Some were fitted with little honeycomb grids to focus the light more and to make sure the light was directed to where I expected the bat to be.’ His camera trap comprised two Cognisys Sabre motion detection sensors, each placed on the ground either side of his camera, pointing skywards to cover for whichever direction the bat was flying. ‘Both Sabres were linked to flash triggers which could fire all the flashes, so no matter which of the Sabres was tripped all of the flashes would go.’ Camera exposure was manual, locked on 30 seconds and continuous drive, ‘so it was just firing 30 seconds all of the time and as the bat flies over, it flashes.’ Once he chose his favourite images, Aldridge converted the red image files to black & white.
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© NINA EMETT
Marilyn Stafford pictured at home
solutions Launched on International Women’s Day, The Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award celebrates some of the best documentary photography in the world – it’s now open for entries
ow in its fifth year, the Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award is granted annually to female photographers who have a proposal for a compelling and cohesive documentary photography essay. The organisers are looking for a story which addresses an important social, environmental, economic or cultural issue – whether local or global – but which also has a focus on positive solutions. The winner of the award will receive £2,000, thanks to the generous support of Nikon UK, as part of its ongoing commitment to support female photographers. A runner-up will get £500. An international panel of prominent female photographers will review the submissions. That
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locals. Nicky said, ‘We can be so isolated as documentarians, endeavouring to share stories – often independently with no concrete idea if our creative and storytelling efforts will resonate. This award is especially heart-warming, as the judges chose includes Andrea Bruce, an awardwork highlighting climate change in winning photojournalist, Nikon Africa, with its abundant natural Ambassador and co-owner of NOOR resources, which is often overlooked photo agency; Donna de Cesare, an when it comes to environmental award-winning photojournalist and issues, even though it suffers the associate professor at the University heightened effects of desertification of Texas; Nina Emett, a documentary and erosion.’ photographer and founding director Documentary photography has a of FotoDocument, which facilitates powerful role to play in telling the award; Melanie Friend, a important stories from across the documentary photographer; Neo world, perhaps now more than ever. Ntsoma, an award-winning On top of that, the idea of practical photojournalist and founder of Neo solutions to global issues is very Ntsoma Productions; as well as important to the award organisers, Marilyn Stafford and her daughter, Marilyn Stafford and FotoDocument, Lina Clerke. who are keen to contribute to Last year’s winner, Nicky Quamina- constructive photojournalism. It is Woo, won the prize for her photo crucial therefore that potential essay ‘As The Water Comes’ (above applicants think about how those right), which explores the effects of solutions can be represented and climate change in Senegal, as well as showcased in their final work. the solutions being implemented by In recognition of the pioneering
Below: One of Marilyn’s shots – Indira Gandhi, India’s only female prime minister
THESE THREE PICTURES © NICKY QUAMINA-WOO
A child plays on the ruins of a sea wall after the ocean surge
Fisherman Daoud Diallo sits under the bow of a boat for shade. He lives in a single room that he shares with 9 other people after his home became inhabitable due to erosion
The cemetery in Saint Louis is also beginning to flood. Most people from the region have at least one relative buried here
‘Documentary photography has a powerful role to play in telling important global stories’ © MARILYN STAFFORD
work of Marilyn Stafford, the award opened on International Women’s Day (8 March) and is free to enter. Women from any stage of their careers are welcome to apply, whether at the beginning, or more established. However, it’s important that any applicant has completed at least one full documentary photo essay to demonstrate track record. They can be any nationality, based anywhere in the world, and be over 18 – there is no upper age limit. AP readers may recognise Marilyn’s name, as she was awarded our Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019 for her impressive career, which started by accident when she was asked to take a picture of Albert Einstein. She would go on to become friends with luminaries such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa, before going on to be an
extremely successful photographer in her own right. During the 60s, she was one of only a handful of women working on Fleet Street, where she realised through her experiences of working in a male-dominated industry how difficult it can be for women to succeed – particularly in the case of photojournalism. Those same issues still often exist today. Marilyn said, ‘I started this award in 2017 to salute and support the many strong, dedicated, brave and talented women documentary photographers around the world, who through their work are fighting to right the wrongs of our world and show that change is possible – they have my deepest admiration. In time, the award has gone from strength to strength, with the continuous generous support of FotoDocument and Nikon UK.’
The final work chosen to receive the prize will feature on the Nikon and FotoDocument websites, be published via social media and shared with international media for publication. Shortlisted applicants will also be featured. Submissions for the award close at 5pm on Monday 24 May 2021. For more details, including all the information required for the application process, visit fotodocument.org/fotoaward. www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
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Reader Portfolio Spotlight on readers’ excellent images and how they captured them 1
2 When I noticed this bobcat, it was sleeping in a field, so I got in position and lay in the grass waiting for it to wake up. It certainly took its time, but I was rewarded with a thrilling close encounter. Canon EOS 5DS R, 150-600mm, 1/320sec at f/7.1, ISO 200
Derick Carss, California About Derick Derick is a graphic designer, originally from Glasgow and now living in California. Favourite subjects Wildlife is my primary subject. Exploring its fragile relationship with the land has given me a deeper connection with the place where I live. How did you get into photography? I owe my dad a debt of gratitude for letting me experiment with his camera and lenses at a young age. I started taking photos around Glasgow, where I grew up, but it wasn’t until I moved to the US as an adult that photography became a true passion. What do you love about photography? I love being in nature and I see photography as an extension of the outdoor experience. As an introvert, the moments of quiet solitude are so important for my mental health, and I always try to capture that feeling. First DSLR Canon EOS Rebel T1i [EOS 500D]. Current kit Canon EOS R5 and RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L. I’m blown away by the 28
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image quality when I get things right. Favourite accessory The Canon EF-EOS R Mount Adapter lets me use my older EF lenses with the mirrorless body. Dream purchase A fast 600mm prime lens. What software do you use? Adobe Lightroom Classic, Photoshop, and occasionally Topaz DeNoise Favourite photographers Brooke Bartleson, Savannah Rose Burgess, and Isaac Spotts. Favourite photo books Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher by Timothy Egan and Landscape Photography: On Location with Thomas Heaton. Favourite tips Don’t be overwhelmed by the kit available; just make images that make you happy. If you hit a wall, research that problem, and the technical side will become more manageable. Tell us about your pictures I’m working to capture more behaviour in my images. This requires a greater understanding of the animals and an incredible amount of patience, so I spend as much time studying nature as I do photographic techniques.
Great Blue Heron
1 Everyone knows that herons eat fish, but who knew they also eat rodents? Canon EOS 6D, 150600mm, 1/1250sec at f/6.3, ISO 400
NOTE: PRIZE APPLIES TO UK AND EU RESIDENTS ONLY
YOUR PICTURES IN PRINT
The Reader Portfolio winner chosen will receive a copy of Skylum Luminar AI, worth £79. See www.skylum.com
Luminar is a fully featured photo editor for Mac and PC designed for photographers of all skill levels, blending pro-level tools with remarkable ease of use and an enjoyable experience. A new Library feature lets you organise, find and rate images easily, while over 100 editing features, plus a suite of fast AI-powered technologies under the hood, will make any image stand out.
Submit your images Please see the ‘Pictures’ section on page 3 for details of how to submit. You could see your photos here in a future issue!
3 Grey foxes love the proximity of buildings and fences, so another photographer and I searched for them in the spaces around an old cattle ranch in Marin County. Canon EOS 6D, 150600mm, 1/640sec at f/6.3, ISO 500
Long Tailed Weasel
4 Bizarrely, this shot wasn’t made in the wilderness but in the centre circle of a local football pitch.
Canon EOS 5DS R, 150600mm, 1/2500sec at f/6.3, ISO 320
Great Horned Owl Fledgling
5 Fledglings don’t have the same camouflage as their parents, so this one stood out. Owls are such expressive animals and I couldn’t resist this one’s apparent scowl. Canon EOS 5DS R, 150600mm, 1/200sec at f/6.3, ISO 400 4
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Amateur Photograp her of
Your chance to enter the UK’s most prestigious com petition for am
Round Two Natural World
Capturing wildlife in motion is a huge challenge, but the results can be outstanding, as last year’s category winner proves
We want to see your best animal, wildlife and nature shots. You don’t necessarily need to go far to find inspiration, as there’s a huge range of subjects close to home or even in your garden. Whether you find your muse in the local park or the wilds of the Serengeti, research and patience can be the deciding factor between an average shot and an amazing one. Please note, this is not the round for domestic animals and pets: you can enter those into Round Three – Home.
Your guest judge
The guest judge for Round two of APOY is the highly respected wildlife, close-up and landscape photographer, Ross Hoddinott. Ross has been taking photographs since childhood, and is an author of several books on photography – you might find inspiration in 52 Assignments: Nature Photography, which is a guide to putting creativity back into the craft of wildlife photography. Find out more at www. rosshoddinott.co.uk.
Plan your APOY 2021 year THEME
Black & white
AP 10 Apr
AP 8 May
AP 5 Jun
AP 3 Jul
AP 31 Jul
AP 28 Aug
AP 25 Sep
AP 23 Oct
AP 20 Nov
AP 18 Dec
YOUR FREE ENTRY CODE Enter the code below via Photocrowd to get one free entry to Round Two – Natural World
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© ERIC BROWETT
Below is a list of all this year’s rounds, including when they open, when they close and the dates the results will be announced in AP.
To enter visit www.amateurphot ALL ABOUT APOY 2021 The camera club award
Do you belong to a camera club? You can accumulate points for your society when you enter APOY, and after all the ten rounds are complete, the one with the most points will win a voucher for £500 to spend at MPB. The club might want to spend it on gear for use by members, or even run its own in-house competition with the prize going to the most successful photographer. It’s entirely up to the winning group to decide. www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
ograp her of the Year
estigious com petition for amateur photographers
of MPB prizes to be won
In association with MPB
What you win
Take your pick from MPB’s huge catalogue of used gear
enter visit www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/apoy2021
2021 The Young POTY award
This year, we are adding a Young Photographer of the Year category to APOY, in order to encourage our up-and-coming snappers. Entrants should be 21 years old or younger by the competition’s final closing date of 29 October 2021. All the categories are the same as for the main competition – simply select the Young APOY option on Photocrowd when you upload your images. This category is free to enter; each category winner receives a £250 voucher, and the overall winner receives a voucher for £500 to spend at MPB. www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
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The winner of each round of APOY receives a £500 voucher to spend on anything at MPB. From top-of-the-range digital medium-format camera bodies, to entry-level DSLRs, telephoto zooms and wideangle lenses, MPB is a one-stop shop for used kit. And, of course, you can use your voucher towards your dream piece of kit, if it happens to cost more than £500. For £699, you could bag yourself a Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 in excellent condition. This camera features a 20.3MP Live MOS sensor with ISOs up to 25,600. Ideal for wildlife photography, it can capture an astonishing 60fps continuous shooting with its electronic shutter function. If you’re after a lens, take a look at the Nikon 1 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR (£549, excellent condition). It provides excellent quality throughout its range, vibration reduction aids sharp images, and all in a compact structure. There are second- and third-placed prizes of £100 and £50 vouchers respectively, while the winner of the Youth category wins a £250 voucher. Check out www.mpb.com to take your pick from thousands of items. 31
I N T R O D U C I N G
The Rhino Collection
Stand strong and imagine all the possibilities The Rhino series of photographic tripods offers the ideal combination of strength and weight without compromising stability. Each Rhino tripod also converts to a full-size monopod. Its reverse folding design makes it extremely portable while its strength make it equally suited for the studio.
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32 pages of advice, tips and inspiration to pull out and keep
Nature tips Get great shots of plants, bugs, birds and animals
Best lenses We pick the top optics for dedicated nature shooters
Tesni Ward’s guide to editing your wildlife photos
The world’s top nature ‘togs discuss their changing role
Photographing lions in Africa and peregrine falcons in Lincoln
Useful accessories for the outdoor photographer 35 PullOutCover Mar13 JP.indd 35
On playing mother to octopus eggs for an award-winning shot 25/02/2021 16:22
With the first signs of spring upon us, it’s time to get outdoors and brush up on your shooting skills. We speak to four pros to get their tips on capturing the best of British nature
Mammals Kevin Morgans
Kevin is a multi-award-winning wildlife photographer and photographic guide. His work celebrates the best wildlife the British Isles has to offer from its highest peaks to its beautiful coastline. See more of his work at www.kevinmorgans.com. Since the turn of the year, the nation has been on lockdown, making it difficult to get out with our cameras and do what we love most. While it feels like our lives have been put on hold, the natural world has not stopped. Wildlife is still going about its
daily routines as normal, albeit under less pressure from humans. With the days now starting to lengthen, spring is just around the corner. This is one of the busiest times for our nation’s wildlife as they set about preparing for the upcoming breeding season.
Set a long-term project
Photographing in your local area allows you round-the-clock access to be on location quickly when the perfect conditions arise. Being able to explore your local patch freely and getting to know what wildlife is accessible, you’ll soon build up a good knowledge of knowing where and when to find different species. So when the conditions are perfect, you know where to be and are able to manoeuvre freely, exploring every possible angle and manipulating light to your advantage. The way I view photography is it is never about the subject but the light.
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Each photographer has their own way of working. I like to work on long-term projects with an individual species. Over the past few years I have worked extensively with two species, the Atlantic puffin during the summer months; and the UK’s only true Arctic species, the mountain hare, during the cold winter months. Working with just one or two species over an extended period of time has allowed me a detailed insight into their lives, witnessing many forms of secretive behaviour and unique photographic opportunities, which has only been possible by spending countless hours watching these amazing animals. Dedicating as much time as you have available to one species can only be beneficial to the images you produce. www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
Embrace the weather
Typically, the weather in spring is a mixed bag of cloud, rain and whatever else the British weather chooses to throw at us. Meaning, if we make the decision to wait for the beautiful golden tones of sunrise or sunset, we may be waiting a long time. But don’t get downbeat when the weather isn’t in your favour, embrace it. Often the best images can be achieved in the worst weather. Shooting in wet conditions can come with its own challenges, such as keeping yourself and your kit dry. The longer you can stay out in these conditions, the more chance you have of producing unique imagery. Just make sure you have the appropriate apparel!
Think outside the box
When starting a new photographic project, I find it helps to see what images of your chosen species are out there already; be it on social media, books, magazines or the internet. Using the mountain hare as an example, just look at the number of images that appear in our social feeds each winter. You need to look at these images and think ‘what hasn’t been done’ – the bar has been raised higher with these species than no other. But always remember: however well a species has been documented, there is always a new image to be had.
BEST KIT Waterproof camera cover
Having a good waterproof cover is essential when it comes to protecting your expensive camera gear in wet and wild weather. It allows you to keep shooting in conditions when others may have already packed up and gone home.
Working with accessible species allows you to Don’t be afraid to break the rules experiment with many Don’t be afraid to take a chance and break the core ‘rules’ of photography. different photographic Photography isn’t about pleasing everyone, it’s about getting a reaction. Shooting techniques and lighting. This outside your comfort zone allows you to tread your own path. I’ve often found drawing on means you will be taking a lot your emotions and not what the photography handbooks tell you is a great way to more images than normal, so produce a style of photography that reflects your own style. Ultimately, shoot what you don’t be caught out, always love and not what you think others will. pack a spare battery.
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Technique Birds Andrew Parkinson
Andy is a Nikon ambassador and a contributing photographer to National Geographic magazine. He’s been awarded in all of the world’s biggest wildlife photography competitions and he runs his own photographic tour company, leading photographic adventures all over the world. See www.andrewparkinson.com and Instagram @andyparkinsonphoto. As the cold dark days of winter start to recede, new life springs forth in the coming months. With the increasing day length and warming temperatures, hedgerows, forests, lakes and coastlines suddenly erupt into activity, filled with the sound of bird song. With our avian friends sporting their very finest breeding plumage there is no better time to photograph them, wherever in the UK you might find yourself. Outlined below are some of my top tips for which species to seek out, what behaviours to watch out for, and how you can optimise your opportunities by understanding the importance of accurate exposure, light and perspective.
If you are able to travel, or living in proximity to the coast, then late April-May is a great time to photograph one of our most iconic and identifiable species, the Atlantic puffin. Endlessly entertaining yet surprisingly diminutive, these characterful auks are difficult to take a bad picture of. In some parts of the UK, coastal thrift will have already emerged creating a fantastically colourful palette amongst which to frame them. Alternatively, find a perspective where you can watch them coming in to land. These fast flyers will certainly test your reflexes so concentrate on using the central focusing point as this is the most tenacious and grippy. If you do get lucky, their bright orange legs will create an additional burst of colour in the frame.
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Some bird species have the most exquisite and elaborate courtship rituals, and none is more elegant and refined than that of the great crested grebe. The peak of this behaviour is in March, but it can still often be seen throughout April on lakes and waterways throughout much of the country. Don’t worry if you can’t get close Stay local enough as you can still There can be no more salient piece of advice in produce compelling and these current times than to enjoy the many and evocative images by varied advantages of staying local. Not only can you shooting them backlit react more quickly to a sudden improvement in weather (with the sun behind but by investing the time in getting to know your local them), using their species, you will develop an encyclopaedic knowledge distinctive silhouettes about their likely behaviours. You will also quickly work enshrouded in dawn mist. out the ever-changing fall of light and which vantage Head out on crisp, clear point offers the best perspective. If producing the very windless mornings to highest quality image is your primary goal, then this is maximise your chances the single best way to achieve it. Remember, it does and aim to expose to not matter how mundane the species is, even a retain detail in the mist mallard photographed in beautiful light will make for a itself, thereby capturing beautiful image. the extraordinarily warm colours. www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
Swans are notoriously territorial at the best of times, but this ratchets up to extremes in the months of March-May. Any invading swan daring to venture into their breeding territory will be met with an unbridled ferocity and this will not relent until the interloper has been driven away. In these moments use a minimum of 1/500sec to freeze the action, faster if your camera has the flexibility in its ISO. If the light is consistent, I always use manual exposure. If however the fall of light is variable then I’ll shoot on aperture priority and simply make appropriate exposure adjustments using exposure compensation.
Know your subject’s behaviours
This often locally acquired knowledge is so beneficial when it comes to knowing when certain behaviours are more likely to be displayed. March and April are the peak of the coot fighting season and I’ve enjoyed hundreds of hours watching these characterful and engaging birds chase, fight and squabble. If possible, aim to shoot at, or as close to water level as possible because this will produce the most dynamic images. If you have a lake near you then scout around it, looking for places where you can shoot from a lower perspective. I often sit in reservoir outflows where I can sit, warm and dry, my camera stabilised on a tripod but at water level. This is how I captured these coots fighting at dawn.
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Whilst gannets are present around the UK coastline from April to November, their plumage is at its best during May. Their yellow heads contrast beautifully with their blue-framed eyes and make for compelling images, either as part of the wider scene or for more detailed, close-up images. Remember to always remain mindful of the depth of field required in each opportunity, including detail that adds to your image but trying to exclude that which does not.
BEST KIT Neutral clothes
Birds will always be more approachable if you wear neutral-coloured clothes. Becoming part of the environment will make birds feel comfortable and they will thereby display natural behaviour.
It doesn’t matter how familiar or confiding a species is I always wear thin, black glove liners to blend in. Hands flapping about startle and spook birds easily so move slowly and cover exposed skin. 39
Technique Wildflowers Ross Hoddinott
Ross is one of the UK’s leading landscape and close-up photographers. He is the author of several technique books, including Digital Macro & Close-up Photography and a multiple award winner. Ross lives in north Cornwall and loves nature and the great outdoors. Visit: www.rosshoddinott.co.uk. This is a magical time for nature photographers, particularly those who enjoy getting down and dirty and up close and personal with miniature things. Woodland is a particularly rich habitat, with snowdrops, wood anemone and wild garlic blooming, while ferns start to uncurl. Fruit trees blossom and fresh green leaves emerge. Some coastal cliff tops will be carpeted with wildflowers, like sea pinks and kidney vetch. And don’t overlook the many photo opportunities found in your very own back yard, as gardens come alive once again. It is time to dust off your macro lens, or close-up attachment, and focus on flowers and plants.
Most modern cameras have a multiple exposure mode that allows you to capture and overlay two or more frames in-camera. Use this function to create ethereal shots by layering together images that are either framed or focused differently. This technique suits flowers particularly well. Try sandwiching a sharp frame with a defocused shot. By doing Consider the light so, you mimic the Orton Don’t rush when shooting flowers and plants – Effect, which adds a you have time to refine your shots. Strong direct dreamlike glow and midday light is harsh and best avoided, but you can use softness. Switch on Auto a diffuser to soften it. Backlighting will highlight fine Gain so that your camera detail, while overcast conditions will help you to capture automatically adjusts strong, saturated colours. Beware of ugly shadows that exposure for each shot might ruin your close-ups. The easiest ways to relieve and produces a correctly shadows is using either a reflector, a sheet of white exposed end image. As card or tin foil. Position close by and bounce light onto with any creative your subject for natural-looking results. technique, do experiment! 40
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Plants are best shot when they are in pristine condition. They are ephemeral things, though, so planning and timing is important – miss their peak flowering period, and you may have to wait another 12 months for another opportunity. Do your homework, so you know where and when to look. For example, snowdrops and crocuses will be in flower from early February, while lesser celandine and early purple orchids will bloom in April. But be aware that the weather conditions may accelerate or delay the flowering period. Keep an eye on the forecast too. The best days to go out and photograph plants is when it is still, because wind movement can make focusing and framing a challenge. A wind speed below 15kph is best – if it is windy, visit woodland where you will be more sheltered.
A wider viewpoint will allow you to capture your subject in context with its surroundings. Most wideangles have a close minimum focusing distance that allow you to capture this type of environmental perspective. Alternatively, you could opt for a short macro lens, like Laowa’s 15mm f/4 wideangle macro. This style works best in combination with subjects located in scenic spots, for example flowers growing on coastal cliff tops, or alpine flowers with mountain peaks behind. You will want to generate a large zone of focus, so select a small aperture and focus with care. If you wish to achieve complete front-toback sharpness, consider focus stacking to extend depth of field.
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A worm’s eye view suits many flowers, particularly orchids, wood anemone and campion that are flowering at this time of year. Shooting from ground level creates a natural and intimate perspective. It will also help you disguise boring or messy surroundings, as by getting on the ground you can keep the attention on your subject and blur everything else. Longer focal lengths, upwards of 300mm, generally work best, together with a large aperture. Meanwhile, a ground sheet will keep you and your kit clean and dry. Some tripods don’t have low-level capacity, so try using a beanbag to support your set-up. Using a camera with an articulated LCD screen makes composing and focusing easier and more comfortable.
BEST KIT Macro lens
To fill the frame with flowers and plants, the long end of a telezoom may suffice or even a close-up attachment, but a dedicated macro lens is the best choice. A focal length of 100mm will provide a nice working distance.
This is handy for highlighting detail, relieving ugly shadows, or backlighting petals and leaves. I always carry a couple of Manfrotto Lumimuse devices in my camera bag.
This adjustable arm is great for holding a reflector in place, stabilising stems and generally acting like a handy extra helping hand. 41
Technique Invertebrates Victoria Hillman
Victoria is a zoologist, photographer, Manfrotto UK ambassador, author and judge specialising in creative macro photography of plants, invertebrates, amphibians and reptiles in their natural habitats in the wild. See more at www.vikspics.com. Invertebrates are amazing and fascinating animals and both a real challenge and joy to photograph. The best way to really capture the beauty and nature of these animals is to photograph them in the wild in their natural habitat – this also causes minimal disturbance to the invertebrates and results in natural images. There are many different ways to capture the exquisiteness of invertebrates, from close-ups to in-habitat shots and undoubtedly the best times of day to photograph them is first thing in the morning and in the evenings when they are roosting.
Try photographing in various weather conditions. Although bright sunny days can provide some beautiful lighting, soft overcast days or even wet days can give a different kind of image. Not only that but working on colder, overcast or wet days can give you more time to photograph your subject as they will be naturally cold and wet and therefore much less active.
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Take a step back
Traditionally a lot of macro photography of invertebrates is taken close up to capture all the amazing details. Take a step back, as including some of the habitat in the image can produce interesting and different images – telling more of a story of where the subject lives and how it interacts with its habitat. Taking a step back to include the habitat allows you to create beautiful works of art.
Take your time
Concentrate on capturing just one or two subjects and really take your time. Observe your subject and the surrounding habitat. Not only will this provide some ideas for images to work on, but you may also get lucky and be able to photograph behavioural interactions such as mating or predator prey battles, of which there are plenty that take place in the long grasses and foliage.
BEST KIT Macro lens
Natural light – whether soft and diffuse, or bright and high contrast – both give different options for photographing invertebrates. I prefer using natural light as it provides more natural results, and the right conditions create great bokeh. Occasionally you may need a little additional light and for that I like to use a small LED, which provides a soft, diffuse and continuous light that you can position exactly where you want.
This may sound simple, but a good macro lens is worth its weight in gold. My lens of choice is the Sigma 180mm macro because it not only allows me to capture the details close-up but also allows me to shoot beautiful in-habitat images.
Small LED light
Field craft skills
Work on and perfect your field craft skills. These will not only allow you to get close to your subject without causing disturbance but it will result in being able to capture both natural portraits and behavioural images. www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
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Looking for different perspectives can make a big difference to the appearance of an image. Instead of shooting down on a subject, try shooting at eye level. Not only will this give a connection with your subject but also you will find that some subjects will be less skittish if you are level or below them. By shooting from below you can isolate them against the sky. Experiment with different compositions and apertures – try manually focusing on just one part of your subject and use a wide aperture.
I prefer not to use flash and instead find a small LED light such as the Manfrotto Lumimuse to be perfect for those moments when you need a little soft, diffuse continuous fill-in light.
Using a tripod will allow you to take your time and set up the shot. My tripod of choice is one that will allow me to shoot at ground level as well as higher up. 43
ALL PICTURES ON PAGES 44-47 © FRANS LANTING
Human nature A dozen of the world’s best nature and conservation photographers have contributed to a new book that addresses the future of the environment. Steve Fairclough spoke to Frans Lanting about his involvement in this project 44
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n the past few years there has been a growing trend for nature and conservation photographers to join forces and use the collective power of their imagery to attempt to influence key decision-makers around the world. The group Photographers Against Wildlife Crime immediately springs to mind and one of the latest projects in a similar vein sees the photographic work and stories of 12 top photographers – Joel Sartore, Paul Nicklen, Ami Vitale, Brent Stirton, Frans Lanting, Brian Skerry,
Tim Laman, Cristina Mittermeier, J Henry Fair, Richard John Seymour, George Steinmetz and Steve Winter – featured in the book Human Nature: Planet Earth In Our Time. As well as showcasing sensational imagery of the natural world the book focuses on core issues such as climate change, biodiversity and the extent to which the behaviour of the human race has negatively impacted the Earth’s environment. To get an insider’s view of the motivations and issues involved we spoke to the renowned visual storyteller Frans www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
An iceberg floats off the east coast of Greenland. Its contorted shapes indicate that it is melting rapidly and falling apart. Greenland and Antarctica are at the epicentre of global concerns over the effects of climate change because together, they contain 98% of the Earth’s frozen fresh water Nikon D2X, 12-24mm f/4 lens at 24mm, 1/250sec at f/8, ISO 100
Steam rises from the Grand Prismatic Spring in Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park, USA. The spring is named for its striking colouration, which matches those seen in light prisms (red, orange, yellow, green and blue). The stains along the edges of the boiling blue water in the centre are evidence of primitive bacteria Above: A jaguar peers from dense vegetation along a riverbank in the Pantanal region of Brazil. The world’s largest tropical wetland, the Pantanal also extends into Paraguay and Bolivia. Jaguars have made a comeback here due to new protections introduced after decades of heavy persecution by ranchers, who feared the impact on their livestock
Lanting, who has, for many years, been one of the world’s most celebrated nature and wildlife photographers. Even though he has lived in the USA for several decades Lanting’s Dutch accent – he was born in Rotterdam – remains strong as he talks to AP down a phone line from his home in Santa Cruz, California. He recalls, ‘In my previous career as an environmental economist my interest was to come up with methodologies for quantifying the value of nature and the impact of human activities on nature. I changed careers and became a photographer because I felt that I could become more effective using a camera as a tool than by writing reports. I have always looked at the world of nature and the
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world of so-called nature and wildlife photography differently. From the very beginning, I’ve tried to weave in the human dimension in my work.’ Lanting sees his Dutch heritage as an advantage for the way in which he sees the world. ‘I’ve always been interested in nature and it was an extension of my interest in nature to pick up a camera. Even though I’ve lived in the United States for a good part of my life I’m still very much connected with Europe and with The Netherlands in particular, and it’s interesting to be able to look at events here in the United States with a European perspective and vice versa. Because of all my travels in the past several decades I also have a global perspective on local situations.’
He continues, ‘The key to being a good observer, as you’re bearing witness, is to be able to be both an insider and an outsider. You need to have an insider’s knowledge before you can frame the situation in a way that is appropriate. But I think it’s also valuable to have an outsider’s perspective to be able to remove yourself one step from the immediacy of a situation to put things into context.’
Conservation and the human aspect
It is telling that the main title of the new book is Human Nature, and Lanting notes, ‘The connections between us and the rest of the natural world are always there and I’ve always aimed to bring that into the mix. For quite a few 45
years that human dimension, or environmental dimension, did not get a lot of bandwidth in publications because many of the publications’ platforms were more interested in celebrating nature than in conveying what was really going on. Also, the images of penguins, polar bears and what have you… all these iconic creatures get a lot more attention and they “suck up the air” so to speak. It’s only in the last ten years or so that these same creatures have now become icons for environmental change.’ The growing movement to recognise and publish photography that highlights the impact that human behaviour has had on the environment is one Lanting welcomes. ‘It’s long overdue and it gives this kind of photography, and the people who know how to document the Earth, much more relevance and more bandwidth… and that‘s important. I’ve argued for years with publishers, editors and organisers of photo contests that photographers who focused their cameras on the natural world were just as relevant for a bigger audience as photographers who focused their lenses on the human condition.’
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Right: A flock of greater flamingoes nests in the Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana. The birds are drawn to the pans when seasonal rains raise the water level high enough to protect their nests. For the majority of the year the pans are bone dry Below: An old male chimpanzee drinks from a waterhole in the Fongoli area of southeastern Senegal. Just like humans, chimp hair turns grey with age and their skin can become blotchy, just like ours. Chimpanzees are highly threatened throughout their range in Africa
Nikon D2X, 200-400mm f/4 lens at 390mm, 1/100sec at f/5.6, ISO 800
He reveals, ‘I remember a project I did about the ethics of keeping marine mammals in captivity for entertainment purposes, for which I went to places like Seaworld and others, and there were very few magazines who were interested in taking that seriously. Now, since the movie Free Willy and a number of other documentaries, that’s changed completely. It’s like a general awakening. People around the world are now keenly aware of the interconnected nature of everything and everyone on this living planet, and there’s more of a receptiveness to see that addressed in films and in publications. In fact, if you don’t bring that dimension into your work then people start raising questions.’
Changes in the environment
Given that Lanting has worked in the natural world for decades, I ask him about the key environmental changes he has noticed over that period in time. He explains, ‘Conservation started 50 or 60 years ago with an emphasis on protecting species and the [then] World Wildlife Fund started in response to the rhino crisis. I started my career working with animals one-on-one and then, as my insights broadened and deepened, I realised that animals could be portrayed as ambassadors for ecosystems. The whole notion of ecosystems being vital for the protection of species… that became a new paradigm. Then, when biodiversity became a buzzword, after it was lost as a scientific paradigm, my emphasis shifted.’ He adds, ‘I think we’ve seen that in the world of conservation – a shift from saving species to protecting places and then dealing with biodiversity and now, there’s climate change. All of these issues are important. Just because we are hugely concerned about the long-term impact of climate change, and the immediate consequences, it doesn’t mean that we should abandon saving species and it doesn’t mean that photographers should not continue to do in-depth profiles of individual species – all of these things matter.’ Lanting opines, ‘We need a number of voices in the world of photography that is concerned with the fate of our living planet and there’s still a role for celebrating nature in all its wondrous expressions as well. Sometimes the
best strategy for getting people’s attention for an issue is to highlight the sheer wonder of a place or the sheer magic of a particular creature or other manifestation of nature. You don’t always have to put the issues in the foreground.’
Lanting feels that his work has become more complex over the years owing to a number of factors. Firstly, the growing depth of his insights into environmental issues. Secondly, the rapid expansion in the platforms that can share his work, such as social platforms, performing arts and fine art. Thirdly, the possibilities offered by advances in camera technologies…. He notes, ‘Camera technology has evolved to the point where photography is now just one option on my cameras – I can switch between capturing stills to capturing video and capturing audio. I don’t go into the field any more with just the intention of capturing photographs. We capture a whole variety of media and we mix them up and we apply them to different platforms.’ However, Lanting is highly www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
photographers can bear witness, both to the extraordinary wonder of our living planet and to the immediacy of all of the threats and the challenges that we’re faced with. In that respect, we are part of a choir of voices because, no matter how brilliant you are as a photographer, if your images are not connected with informed writing you fall short of creating impact. If the combined force of images and writing is not connected with campaigns and organisations that are working on solutions then you’re falling short of contributing to change.’
The pandemic effect
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that a single photographer can make a difference. I’ve always believed that it’s better to collaborate with others and to add your own strengths, your images and your creative ideas to the professional way of assessing a problem and coming up with a solution.’
The Human Nature book
That viewpoint dovetails perfectly with the fact that 12 visual storytellers are involved in the book Human Nature: Planet Earth In Our Time. Lanting reveals, ‘The other participants in the book I consider most of them friends and colleagues and many of them I’ve known over the course of decades. I think we inspire each other and I think that we’ve driven each other to try and do more as the situations we see become more urgent.’ He adds, ‘I look at the book not as a showcase for who I am, but really more as a collective portrayal with insights from people who share the same values but who are focused on different parts of the world and on different issues. I think it’s an astonishing portfolio of everybody’s ideas and images.’ Lanting continues, ‘I think
© GEOFF BLACKWELL
pragmatic when it comes to choosing and using cameras. ‘I’m like a carpenter or a plumber who goes out on a job – they are not thinking about the brands, they’re thinking about the job, their toolkit and how they get the job done. So, I use cameras of different brands – Nikon cameras, Canon cameras, Sony cameras, Fuji cameras, I use GoPros… whatever it takes. I’m brand agnostic.’ He explains, ‘I understand that some photographers like to stick with one camera system but I have a different approach. Our studio is a production company, so we produce multimedia projects in which photography is an important component. Even though I’m known as a photographer, I don’t define myself as a photographer. I’m a storyteller with a camera and I’m an author, a speaker, an activist… I do all these things.’ But it’s not just about working alone; it’s also about what differences you can make collectively. Lanting says, ‘I think it’s vitally important for photographers who have an interest in putting their cameras to work for a bigger cause to consider that it’s really pretty rare
Given that the world has, in a sense, hit a pause button with the current global pandemic I ask Lanting if he thinks this might be a driver of change in the future. He replies, ‘The world will not be the same, I hope, after we get a grip on the pandemic through vaccinations. But it’s quite clear that the root cause for this pandemic is that there are many more points of conflict. The transmission of diseases from animals to humans is something that scientists have been aware of for decades but they’ve never gotten enough traction with this – even though pandemics have been predicted and there have been previous pandemics – but this is a big one now.’ Lanting continues, ‘It’s better that this will lead to a repression of the abuse and the sale of wild animals for human consumption – that is a really big question and the answer to that is still out. That’s very specific and I know that there are organisations like Wild Aid and the World Wide Fund for Nature who have been pressing for a stop in the international wildlife trade for exactly that reason. But I think there are much bigger opportunities to use the economic and ecological crises. Times of crisis are times of opportunity and everywhere in the world governments are faced with the challenge of how to restore their economies, and this is a time when we can reshuffle the deck. I really hope that this will lead to meaningful change. Certainly there are very interesting initiatives everywhere on the planet.’
Frans Lanting is one of the world’s foremost nature and wildlife photographers. He was a photographer-inresidence at National Geographic and his work has featured in LIFE magazine. Lanting is a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and in 2012, became an ambassador of the World Wide Fund for Nature in the Netherlands. His fine art prints are held in many collections and he has had over 12 books of Please turn the page to discover the stories of his work published. See three more photographers who are involved in the Human Nature book. www.lanting.com.
Three more photographers – Ami Vitale, Cristina Mittermeier and Tim Laman – involved in the Human Nature book explain some of their work and opinions on conservation
I have worked in over 100 countries documenting stories about war, security, poverty and health. What has slowly emerged from covering conflict after conflict, and the worst of human tragedies, is a conviction that these stories about the human condition cannot be separated from stories about the natural world. We inhabit an intricate web and the outcome of almost every story is always dependent on nature. Today, I use nature as a foil to talk about our home – its past, its present and its future. In a field that tends to emphasise difference and focus on conflict, my mission has been to tell
stories that remind us of our interconnectedness, of how much we share, rather than simply emphasise our differences. We imagine wildlife roaming the open plains of Africa freely. The reality is that they have to be guarded and protected around the clock 24-7 by heavily militarised guards. Much-needed attention has been focused on the plight of wildlife, but very little has been said about the indigenous communities on the front lines of the poaching wars. They hold the key to saving Africa’s great animals. The best protectors of these animals are the people who live alongside of them.
A group of Samburu stand looking over the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy from the Matthews Range Mountains in northern Kenya. Namunyak’s 850,000 square acres (344,000 square hectares) contain higher populations of large mammals than any other landscape, protected or unprotected, in Kenya. Conservation efforts here are led by the local communities and focus on preventing habitat loss and stopping the spread of poaching
© AMI VITALE
© CRISTINA MITTERMEIER
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© TIM LAMAN
A male rhinoceros hornbill feeds on the fruit of a strangler fig at the Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary, Narathiwat Province, Thailand
Cristina Mittermeier There was a moment [when Mittermeier was photographing indigenous people in a remote village in Brazil who were about to be displaced by a hydroelectric dam] when there was an opportunity to take a photograph of a woman who was mourning the loss of her child. She had dug up her child’s body from the grave and she was carrying it around and hitting her head with a machete, so she was covered in blood. I could have taken a photograph of her, but I didn’t have the courage. I felt like I was intruding in her life and I was thinking about my own children and how I would feel if somebody photographed me when I was in mourning. It wasn’t until months later, when the dam was approved, that I thought, ‘Maybe dramatic photos like that would have created the change we needed?’ We’ve seen it happen in
the past, when Nick Ut’s photo of people in Vietnam running away from napalm stopped a war. Since then, I force myself to make the photograph, even the ones that are uncomfortable, like the photograph of the starving polar bear. Paul Nicklen and I were attacked, threatened and violently criticised for that image. There are dark and scary corners of the internet that emerged to weigh in on that photograph; it was painful, uncomfortable and very scary to realise the size of the community still denying that climate change is a threat. But I think the biggest lesson for me in all of this has been the guilt I feel when I have failed to act; when I haven’t had the courage to make the photographs or tell the stories or to be truthful. It is a horrible thing to see that you’ve failed somebody, that you didn’t do enough, that you didn’t stand up, that you didn’t use your voice.
© CRISTINA MITTERMEIER
Crossing over a crack in the ice, a polar bear searches for food in the North Pole. Classified as marine mammals, polar bears hunt seals and even whales, from both in and out of the water. Less than 2% of their pursuits are successful. There are fewer than 25,000 polar bears left and as many as 1,000 are killed every year for both subsistence in indigenous communities and for trophy, which isolated communities rely on as one of their only sources of income www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
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My first story for National Geographic was about my PhD research exploring the rainforest canopy in Borneo and the strangler fig trees and surrounding wildlife. Coming from a background in rainforest biology, I continued to pitch stories that were all in that genre and they were all related to underlying interests in conservation. As I spent more and more years going to Borneo, seeing more and more rainforest getting cut down, I realised I had this opportunity with photography to reach a bigger audience. I succeeded in turning my PhD project into a National Geographic article and I knew that millions of people saw that. So I continued pitching stories to the Geographic and started to get assignments too. First, I told stories about the orangutans, the hornbills, the proboscis monkeys and the other rare endangered species from Southeast Asia and then I broadened out into other parts of the world and other subjects. But I’ve always had an underlying goal to tell the stories of these conservation issues, species and places that need more attention and protection. In recent years, I’ve worked on helmeted hornbills, not only photographing them in the wild, but also trying to find the shop in China where they are selling carvings made out of the ivory-like substance that their horn is made of. The demand for silly human trinkets and decorations is driving this bird extinct. It’s incredibly maddening. It just boggles my mind how narrow-minded and short-sighted humans can be in terms of what they’re purchasing and not thinking about the greater picture. I’m a little bit encouraged though by the fact that conservationists I was talking to in China have said that the younger generation gets it: they don’t want to have shark-fin soup at their weddings any more; they don’t want to buy rhino horn.
The book Human Nature: Planet Earth in our Time is published by Chronicle Books in association with Blackwell & Ruth, ISBN: 9781797205915, with an RRP of £35. To find out more go to www. chroniclebooks.com. 49
Hatching By Pichaya Lertvilai
passion for nature photography – and a desire to help the public become more engaged with science – led Pichaya Lertvilai to pursue a PhD in Oceanography in California, where he specialises in developing underwater imaging systems. ‘I want to use photography as a way to introduce my research about the ocean to a more general audience,’ he explains. Pichaya has a strong background in electrical engineering, so it’s no surprise to learn that he designs and builds his own illumination systems for macro photography. ‘In particular, I make ring illuminators that focus intense light on a subject without illuminating the background,’ he explains. This system allows Pichaya to reveal all the
glorious detail in his subjects. As a student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Pichaya is presented with unique opportunities to study extraordinary, and often hard to find, organisms. ‘I have been on many research vessels that explore deep sea animals and I’ve been on field trips to remote stations where I’ve had access to pristine oceans,’ he explains. He also scuba dives, which leads to many one-of-akind encounters with sea life. Pichaya’s true passion, however, is plankton. ‘Small aquatic organisms are the base of the food chain of the ocean, so despite their size they are very important to the oceanic ecosystem,’ he urges. Traditionally, to study these organisms scientists remove them from the sea and transport them back to a lab – a
Pichaya Lertvilai is a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California. His research focuses on developing underwater imaging instruments to capture pictures of small aquatic organisms (plankton) to help scientists understand complex ecological interactions. He is passionate about macro photography and uses his work to engage wider audiences with scientific research. For more of his images visit 500px.com and search for plertvilai.
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© PICHAYA LERTVILAI AND THE BRITISH ECOLOGICAL SOCIETY
Mimicking the behaviour of a female octopus was all part of a three-month photographic process for PhD student Pichaya Lertvilai. Tracy Calder hears the story behind his award-winning picture
Paralarvae of a California two-spot octopus hatching from their egg sacs
Sony A7 II with Sony 90mm f/2.8 macro lens, 1/200sec at f/11, ISO 100, Custom-made ring illuminator
process not without risk. ‘Most plankton are very delicate and easily damaged in the capturing process,’ says Pichaya. ‘Taking these organisms out of their natural habitat can also significantly alter their behaviour.’ As a result, instead of bringing plankton to the lab, Pichaya and his colleagues have developed a number of underwater microscope systems capable of capturing highly detailed pictures, while withstanding harsh oceanic conditions. ‘We hope our imaging systems will help us to understand the complex interactions between organisms in the microscopic realm and
ultimately to understand the ecosystem of the ocean as a whole,’ he explains. But this picture showing paralarvae (octopus larvae) hatching from egg sacs has a different story. ‘The California two-spot octopus has larvae that is completely different from the adult form,’ explains Pichaya. ‘The larvae have very short tentacles compared to their bodies, and they look more like squids than octopuses. They spend their first few months wandering in the water column before settling down on the ocean floor and morphing into something that looks more like www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
an octopus. When the larvae hatch they have egg sacs attached to their mouths, and these sustain them for a short period before they start hunting to survive.’ Pichaya took the picture in 2019, but unlike much of his photography this image was made in the experimental aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography – for a very good reason. As part of his research, Pichaya scuba dives to service the team’s underwater equipment. Over time, many of the instruments become covered in barnacles, algae and other marine life. On one such www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
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dive, he discovered a batch of octopus eggs attached to an instrument that needed to be removed for servicing. ‘The eggs would not survive if they were detached from the instrument, so I brought them back and reared them in the experimental aquarium until they hatched,’ he reveals. But playing mummy octopus proved tricky, and somewhat time-consuming. ‘In the wild, the mother guards her eggs, so I had to set up an environment that imitated this natural rearing,’ he reveals. ‘It took a lot of effort to check the eggs routinely and make adjustments to ensure that they
survived. The whole process took about two or three months before they finally hatched.’ As the eggs began to reach maturity, Pichaya started checking them multiple times a day to make sure he didn’t miss the larvae hatching. ‘Fortunately, the eggshells were somewhat transparent, so I could see how far the larvae had developed,’ he explains. When the big day arrived he captured the action with a custom-made ring illuminator (which he built himself), a Sony A7 II and Sony 90mm f/2.8 macro lens. He increased the contrast slightly and removed some background reflections in post processing. As
he spent so much time observing these wonderful little creatures, I’m curious to know whether Pichaya has learnt anything surprising about their behaviour. ‘As soon as one individual hatched it triggered a chain reaction that caused all the ready-to-hatch larvae to emerge too,’ he reveals. ‘It was a remarkable experience to observe so many eggs hatching one after the other.’
Pichaya’s image of paralarvae emerging from their egg sacs was overall runner-up in the 2020 British Ecological Society photography competition. To find out more visit www.britishecologicalsociety.org. 51
Last chance A dwindling lion population is a huge concern. Wildlife photographer George Logan decided to help – here, he tells Amy Davies all about it
beautiful new book, Lion: Pride Before The Fall, documents the plight of the African lion, whose numbers in the wild are at a crisis point. In recent years, the wild population of lions has dropped from approximately 100,000 to fewer than 20,000. The life cycle of a lion is fraught with potential dangers. Only one in four lion cubs make it to adulthood, while most males die in combat with other lions. Males are lucky to make it past 12 years, while females have a long life if they live past 15. That’s before you add in human problems. George Logan has long had a fascination. ‘I can watch them all day,’ he says, ‘with or without a camera. That has fast developed into an obsession to do whatever I can to prevent them from disappearing forever.’
George first started to work with the Born Free Foundation around 13 years ago, shooting much of its campaigning work since. The photographs in the new book are designed to show every step of the lion’s perilous journey from conception through to adulthood. All profits from it go towards protecting and re-establishing The Last Lions of Meru, in Meru National Park in Kenya. ‘We’re focusing on this area because we know we will be able to see tangible improvements,’ George reveals. ‘We know how to prevent further declines and restore healthy lion populations. They can quickly bounce back, given the right conditions and circumstances.’ A culmination of ten years of photographing lions, and more than 18 months of putting together the book, Lion: Pride Before The Fall, takes a considered approach. ‘When we first started creating awareness campaigns for Born Free, we targeted many of the main threats decimating wildlife across the planet. However, it soon became clear that we couldn’t just show poached or hunted animals. Most people switch off when confronted with a slaughtered elephant or butchered rhino – I understand that. We realised that we needed a different approach to engage with our audience in a more thought-provoking manner. 52
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‘We invited some of the best creatives to submit concepts which highlight the problems causing the demise of the lion population. Habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, captivity, trophy hunting, canned hunting and lion bone trade all need to be addressed if we are to halt the slide towards extinction.’ The result is a ‘conceptual’ section in the book which acts as a stark warning to demonstrate what could happen if human behaviour doesn’t change. When photographing lions, George always travels with the Born Free team, plus a local guide who knows where to find the prides, and their habits. George typically uses two or three Canon 5D Mark IV cameras, with lenses including a 14mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm and a 400mm f/2.8 Mark III. In order to move quickly, he also uses a Wimberley gimbal and a selection of bean bags to shoot from the floor of his vehicle. ‘It’s important for me that many of my images have a sense of place, to help paint the picture of the surroundings where these creatures live. I often use a wider angle to hopefully help capture the landscape, light and atmosphere which can often be lost with a long lens,’ George says. A decision was made to self-publish Pride Before The Fall, which launched after raising £78,000 via Kickstarter. ‘We were unsure if it was a good idea to launch during the pandemic, but I’m so happy that we did. The generosity and goodwill of so many people made it very worthwhile. We have almost sold out of the first edition.’ In the short term, when it’s allowed again, George hopes to travel back to Kenya to re-visit the lions and document how the funds from the books have been distributed so far. The long-term picture is a little more uncertain. ‘It’s impossible to say how effective our efforts will be. Only time will tell. We humans now have to decide whether we are prepared to share the planet with the last few surviving wild lions.’ The book, as well as more information about the project, can be bought from pridebeforethefall.com.
Based in London, wildlife photographer George Logan has many awards for his work, twice taking home Gold at the prestigious Association of Photographers Awards. He is passionate about wildlife conservation and has been working with the Born Free Foundation for many years. georgelogan.co.uk
Clockwise from top: ‘Everything the light touches used to be our kingdom’; ‘The survivor’; ‘Maridadi in the rain’; ‘Every meal is a drama’; ‘How long until they’re just a myth?’; ‘The lion sleeps tonight’
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A fascination for falcons
Keen wildlife photographer Bruce Hargrave’s project documents the peregrine falcons that call Lincoln Cathedral home. Here he explains all
alk around the perimeter of any of our great cathedrals in the late spring or early summer and there’s a good chance that you will hear the loud screeching of birds calling to each other. Look up and you may see some of the UK’s magnificent birds of prey hunting or passing food from adult to youngster in the air. These birds are peregrine falcons. Peregrines are reputed to be the fastest animals in the world – although this is only true when they dive (or ‘stoop’) vertically in the final stages of their hunt, reaching speeds of up to 240mph as they attempt to catch their prey. In level flight, they reach a much more ‘pedestrian’ 40 to 60mph – but even this is only exceeded by some ducks, pigeons and waders. The Lincoln peregrines regularly catch both wading birds and pigeons, so their hunting methods clearly don’t rely on their speed in level flight alone. Whilst working at the University of Lincoln, I started a project to install peregrine cams on Lincoln Cathedral and, with my colleague Matt Ashton from the School of Computer Science, we installed two cameras. As a keen wildlife photographer, I have also documented the success and failure of the breeding pair that has lived there for many years. Peregrines are not easy birds to photograph. When they are stationary, they are often perched high up on a structure and a 600mm lens is still a bit short to get good images for the photographer standing far below. In flight, they are either silhouetted against a bright sky or flying across a background of similar contrast that will test even the most advanced autofocus systems. Birds in flight (or ‘BIF’) is one of the most challenging situations for a wildlife photographer, so patience, practice and good technique is required – along with a fair amount of luck! I started off photographing the peregrines with my Nikon D500. Fitted with the 300mm PF f/4 lens and the 1.4x teleconverter this 54
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gave me a lightweight combination with a focal length of 420mm at f/5.6. Taking the crop sensor of the D500 into account, the angle of view was equivalent to a 630mm lens. The high frame rate (for a DSLR) of the D500 made it a great choice. Now that I use the Sony A9 and 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3, I can take advantage of the 20fps and outstanding focus system of the A9. Once you have a bird in focus with the A9, it stays in focus for as long as you keep the bird in the viewfinder. Being tied to a tripod limits the photographer’s ability to react to birds as they suddenly fly into view. You can be much more reactive with a well-designed strap attached to the tripod mount of your long lens. I use a Black Rapid Sport strap, but I have also heard good things about Peak Design straps. Peregrines have the highest level of protection – Schedule One – under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 and disturbing an active nest site is a criminal offence. This is serious stuff but, as the Lincoln peregrines have their nest right next to the bell chamber – with very loud bells tolling every quarter of an hour during the daytime – our peregrines are either profoundly deaf or they have learned to live with the sound of bells (probably the latter!). The Lincoln Cathedral peregrine cams have captured some fascinating footage in the two years that they have been in use. Footage is livestreamed to YouTube with the help of Quickline – a local company that supplies rural broadband and uses the cathedral bell tower to house some of its equipment. Quickline very generously allowed us to plug into their equipment and without this the livestream would not have been possible. Peregrine falcons can be observed at many sites around the UK. There are plenty of Facebook groups that you can join to find out more (Lincoln Peregrines is one good example). Our towns and cities remain fantastic places to observe and photograph these magnificent birds – and long may this continue.
Lincoln 2019 fledgling on weathervane at top of the cathedral bell tower
Nikon D850 with 300mm PF and 1.4x TC, 1/3200sec at f/5.6, ISO 1600 Lincoln 2019 fledgling
Sony A9 with 200-600mm @ 600mm, 1/500sec at f/6.3, ISO 100
Lincoln 2019 fledgling at street level
Nikon D850 with 300mm PF and 1.4x TC, 1/1600 at f/5.6, ISO 1600
Lincoln 2019 fledglings in aerial combat practice
Nikon D850 with 300mm PF and 1.4xTC, 1/2000 at f/7.1, ISO 400
Lincoln Cathedral: Up with the angels
Sony A9 with 200-600mm @ 600mm, 1/2000sec at f/6.3, ISO 6400
Bruce Hargrave is a professional photographer based in Lincolnshire. Working from his home studio, he specialises in fashion and portrait photography. In pre-Covid times, he used to run photographic holidays to sunny locations. He is also a keen wildlife photographer. You can see more of his work on Instagram @bruce hargravephotography.
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Tools for success Post processing can often be one of the final hurdles to producing stunning images. Tesni Ward has six easy steps to implement in your workflow with Adobe Creative Cloud
or many years, Adobe programs were the go-to for post processing, and whilst several new options have come along in the past few years, it’s still a key player in the market and preferred by many. With the Creative Cloud photography plan, photographers have access to both Lightroom and Photoshop, but for the new user, they can be overwhelming and confusing given the wide range of tools at your disposal. What is Mezzotint? Or Posterize? The truth is there’s a lot of ‘fluff’ on these programs:
Tesni Ward is an award-winning professional wildlife photographer based near Sheffield. She also shoots projects worldwide to promote conservation and education through her images. www. tesniward.co.uk Instagram @ tesniward @badger_diaries.
data is important when it comes to processing. Even if you’re just starting out and aren’t yet comfortable processing your images, shooting JPEG+RAW will future-proof you so that when you’re more confident with your processing workflow, you can revisit them and, all being well, improve them further. tools you’ll never need to use or Over time you’ll develop your even know what they do. It’s best own unique approach to to focus your attention on the processing your images but it’s ones you’ll use frequently which important to invest some time will have a noticeable impact on early on to understand which your images and workflow. tools are relevant to you and how Before you even get to post processing, I strongly recommend they can affect your images. you shoot in the raw format. JPEG Some photographers will use just one program but personally I files are convenient as they can have a combined approach with be viewed and/or posted Lightroom and Photoshop as they anywhere, plus they won’t take up too much space on your both have their own unique memory card, computer or hard applications, some more drive, but a JPEG is a user-friendly than others. For the compressed file format meaning purpose of this tutorial we will you lose a lot of data – and this focus on Lightroom.
LIGHTROOM PROCESSING STEP BY STEP
1 Basic Tab – White Balance 2 Basic Tab – Exposure If you were slightly off with your white balance when shooting it’s easily fixed here. Use a neutral part of your image like a rock as your reference and move the ‘Temp’ slider so that it looks natural (a rock shouldn’t look orange or blue unless in specific light conditions). Be very subtle if moving the ‘Tint’ slider (+/- 10 at the most). 56
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If you need to adjust the overall exposure of your image or focus on highlights and shadows, it’s best applied here. Be aware that if you try to brighten the shadows/blacks too much, you will introduce grain and noise, so be subtle where possible. You can also reduce the blacks to add contrast (-15 at the most).
3 Basic Tab – Vibrance & Saturation
One of the challenges with raw is the file can look flat when initially opened, so the original colour will need to be brought back. Vibrance will increase the saturation of colours in the dull areas only; Saturation will increase it over the entire image. Vibrance is my preference but every image is different so do experiment. www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
Beardie, a mountain hare in the Scottish Highlands
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, 12-40mm, 1/160sec at f/5, ISO 320
5 Detail Tab
Sometimes specific colours will look unnatural or overly saturated in an image (e.g. polarising filters can turn foliage neon green in certain conditions) or perhaps we want a certain colour to pop more than others. This is done in the HSL/Colour tab: adjust the Hue and Saturation of your desired colour and don’t worry about luminance!
If you need to apply any sharpening to your image it’s done here. ‘Amount’ will add grain to the image so don’t overdo it, whereas ‘Radius’ will focus more on the edge thickness, so don’t push it too far with finer details like fur. Texture in the Basic tab can also apply a very aesthetically pleasing sharpening to your image.
If you have a selection of images shot under the same conditions and you’ve found the optimum settings through stages 1-5, save this as a preset so you can apply it to the other images, which will significantly speed up your workflow. Do this in Develop>New Preset or click the + next to Presets in the left menu.
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Laowa produces macro lenses that offer twice life-size reproduction for less than £500 Fujifilm X-T3,
Laowa 65mm f/2.8 2x Ultra Macro, 1/350sec at f/2.8, ISO 3200
wildlife photography When you’re spending hundreds of pounds on a lens, you want your decision to be the right one. Michael Topham picks out some of the finest glass for nature and wildlife photography
t doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie to nature and wildlife photography, an enthusiast honing their skills, or a seasoned professional who is a master of their craft – choosing the right lens for the type of images you’d like to take is crucial. The saying ‘it’s more about the lens than the camera’ is particularly relevant to this popular genre of photography, but with so many lenses out there and so much money at stake, it can be difficult to know what to choose.
The different types
In this guide we’ve broken down our selection of the finest lenses for nature and wildlife photography into five different 58
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categories, with prices ranging from the more affordable end of the spectrum right through to expensive fixed-focal-length primes. In addition to covering some of the best macro lenses for those who enjoy specialising in close-up photography, we’ve recommended our favourite telephoto lenses that offer a versatile zoom range, as well as those that offer more extensive coverage for times when you’d like to fill the frame with your subject to increase visual impact. Whether you’re photographing insects in your back garden, birds from a local hide, or a pride of lions on safari in the Masai Mara, rest assured there’s a lens in this round-up that’s right for you.
Macro lenses MACRO lenses allow us to photograph subjects in extreme close-up and by choosing one that offers a magnification of 1:1 we’re given the opportunity of capturing subjects at life-size. In layman’s terms this means the size of a subject is projected onto the sensor at the exact same size it appears in real life. Popular macro lenses are ones that have a 35mm equivalent focal length of 90-105mm, which allow us to shoot within a comfortable distance of subjects like insects without frightening them away. Choose a macro lens with a
shorter focal length and there’s risk of disturbing a subject or obscuring the light that’s falling on it, creating unwanted shadow. The Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di VC USD (£649) makes a fine full-frame choice and boasts a moisture and dust-resistant construction. A cheaper option is the older, yet reliable, Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro EX DG OS HSM (£359). Though not weathersealed, it has optical stabilisation and is available in Canon EF and Nikon F mounts like its Tamron rival. Owners of E-mount and L-mount cameras are well served
From left to right, the Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di VC USD, Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro Art, Laowa 65mm f/2.8 2x Ultra Macro and the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro EX DG OS HSM
Tamron’s 70-300mm is one of the smallest telephoto zoom lenses available for Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras Sony A7R IV, Tamron
70-300mm F/4.5-6.3 Di III RXD, 1/400sec at f/5.6, ISO 100
by Sigma too. The Sigma 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro Art (£699) offers an aperture ring that can be de-clicked, a customisable AFL button on the barrel and an HSM motor for smooth and silent autofocus operation. If you’d like to shoot more detailed close-ups than the lenses already listed, Laowa’s 100mm f/2.8 2:1 Ultra Macro APO (£469) for full-frame cameras makes a top choice and provides twice life-size reproduction. Better still, the firm makes a scaled-down 65mm f/2.8 (£409) version for Fujifilm X, Sony E and Leica L mounts and a small 50mm f/2.8 (£409) version for Micro Four Thirds.
Affordable telephoto zooms IF YOU haven’t attempted wildlife photography before, but fancy giving it a try and would like to get closer to distant subjects than your kit zoom allows, you needn’t spend thousands of pounds to pick up a great telephoto lens. Thankfully, camera and lens manufacturers understand the importance of providing a broad selection of telephoto lenses in their lineups to meet all consumers’ budgets and needs. The lenses we’ve picked out all cost well under £1,000, and as is the case with most telephoto zooms, they all have what’s known as a variable aperture. Essentially
this means they allow you to use a wider and faster aperture at the shorter end of the focal length than at the longer end. Nikon’s AF-P DX 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 G ED VR (£339) is compatible with D3000 series cameras from the D3300 onwards, D5000 series from the D5200 onwards and D7000 series from the D7100 onwards, not forgetting the D500. It’s equivalent to 105-450mm and benefits from vibration reduction to keep handheld shots at full telephoto sharp – an essential feature the cheaper Nikon AF-P DX 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 G ED (£289) doesn’t have. Canon
APS-C DSLR users might like to opt for the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM (£309), while users of Micro Four Thirds are well served by the Panasonic 45-200mm F4.0-5.6 II G Vario Power OIS, which has a similar equivalent focal length (90400mm) to the Canon lens. Sony full-frame users who’d like a compact, lightweight and durable telephoto lens should take a look at the Tamron 70-300mm F/4.5-6.3 Di III RXD (£649). As well as being moisture-resistant, it focuses with 1.5m at 300mm and is equipped with Tamron’s Rapid eXtra-silent stepping Drive for fast and silent autofocus.
Our pick of the best affordable telephoto zooms include examples from Panasonic, Nikon, Tamron and Canon
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Extensive t elephoto zo
Versatile telephoto lenses cost more than affordable telezooms, but typically offer longer reach and superior optical quality
Sony A7 III, Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS Contemporary, 1/2000sec at f/6.3, ISO 1600
Versatile telephoto zooms SOME of the most popular lenses for wildlife photography are those that cover a focal length range that’s equivalent to 100-400mm. The attraction of this focal length is that one minute you can be shooting animals or birds within relatively close range, then with a short, sharp twist of the zoom ring you can home in on a more distant subject that may have only just entered the vicinity, or vice versa. They’re particularly useful for wildlife adventures such as safaris where sometimes (if you’re one of the lucky ones) you can find yourself photographing subjects from less than a few metres away and other times you might only get a fleeting glimpse from distance. Having a telephoto lens that provides a
The Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM (pictured above) is a stunning but expensive example of a versatile telephoto zoom in RF-mount 60
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versatile zoom coverage also saves the hassle of changing lenses in the field, which could possibly result in a missed shot or spook your subject. At around £699 the Tamron 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD is highly recommended for Canon and Nikon DSLR users. Not only is it compatible with full-frame and APS-C DSLRs, it can be used with Tamron’s 1.4x teleconverter to further extend the focal length and is supplied with an easily detachable tripod mount. Owners of E-mount and L-mount cameras also have an excellent third-party option available in the form of the Sigma 100-400 F5-6.3 DG DN OS Contemporary (£899). The level of sharpness it resolves at full telephoto is remarkably
impressive for a zoom so compact and the lens hood is designed in such a way you can operate the zoom using the push/pull method. Canon users who’ve transitioned to the EOS R system will aspire to own the RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM (£2,899). It’s not cheap and has a slow maximum aperture of f/7.1 beyond 450mm, but returns sensational images and provides up to six stops of correction with the EOS R6 and EOS R5 that feature in-body image stabilisation. Meanwhile, Micro Four Thirds photographers in search of a versatile zoom for under £500 shouldn’t dismiss the Panasonic 100-300mm F4-5.6 II G Vario lens (£487), which has a longer reach and is effectively a 200-600mm lens.
IF A telephoto zoom covering an equivalent focal range of 100-400mm doesn’t get you as close to your subjects as you’d like, you’ll want to consider a lens with a broader zoom range. In this round-up we’ve identified these lenses as extensive telephoto zooms, which typically offer a focal length up to 600mm and beyond and give us a better chance of capturing shots of wildlife that can get perturbed by our presence. Fujifilm doesn’t make many extensive telephoto zooms in X-mount, but the one it does is a mighty fine example. The XF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR (£1,599) reaches the equivalent range of 150-600mm, copes well in harsh climates thanks to its weather-sealing and returns sharp results, even at slow shutter Our pick of the finest extensive telephoto zooms include examples from Fujifilm, Sigma, Sony and Panasonic
Extensive telephoto zooms with variable apertures can force you to raise the sensitivity fairly high to freeze erratic moving subjects
Sony A7R IV, Sony FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS, 1/3200sec at f/5.6, ISO 1600
Extensive t elephoto zooms speeds, with its highly effective 5-stop optical stabilisation. Canon and Nikon DSLR users won’t be disappointed in the slightest by the Sigma 150600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sport (£1,289), which for an extra £110 can be purchased with a 1.4x converter that turns it into an even more extensive 210-840mm optic on full frame. Back in 2019, Sony launched the FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS (£1,549) in E-mount for users of its full-frame A7-series of mirrorless cameras. Though it’s not a particularly fast lens and is best used in favourable lighting conditions, it offers
sensational value for money in terms of its optical performance and has first-class build quality that’s as good as any G Master lens. Pair it up with Sony’s 1.4x or 2x teleconverters and it takes the focal length to a maximum of 840mm at f/9 or 1200mm at f/13. Micro Four Thirds users looking for an extensive telephoto zoom in a lightweight, portable body will find the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm F4-6.3 Asph Power OIS (£1,199) a perfect match. It blends fabulous optics with a robust, splashproof and dustproof construction and performs brilliantly in use.
Fujifilm (left) and Olympus (below) both offer superb premium telephoto primes in their extensive lens ranges
Premium telephoto primes IF IT’S top-notch image quality you’re after, then a telephoto prime is the way to go, but be warned that they don’t come cheap. Premium primes such as the Nikon AF-S 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR (£3,249) will make a serious dent in your bank balance, but come with cuttingedge optics, which in the case of this Nikon example, significantly reduces the size and weight of the lens to make handheld use much more manageable. Micro Four Thirds users have the astonishingly impressive Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f/4 IS PRO (£2,099) that’s equivalent to 600mm, while Fujifilm users who don’t require such a long focal
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length have the stunning XF 200mm F2 R LM OIS WR (£5,399) that turns into a 420mm equivalent prime with the supplied 1.4x teleconverter. Canon EOS R users after a long telephoto prime at a very appealing price will take interest in the compact RF 600mm F11 IS STM (£749) and RF 800mm F11 IS STM (£979). These optics are great for handheld shooting and are extremely compact thanks to their retractable designs, however their slow fixed apertures do ask a lot of the sensor in overcast conditions where you’ll be forced to raise the sensitivity high to achieve fast enough shutter speeds.
Wimberley The Plamp II ●
£52 ● www.wexphotovideo.com
If you enjoy shooting nature and macro shots and feel like you could do with an extra pair of hands to support a backdrop, hold a reflector or keep a subject in place, this accessory can be a huge help. It’s designed to be bent any way you like thanks to its flexible loc-line tubing and, with a large orange clamp at one end and a smaller clamp at the other that offers adjustment over how tightly subjects are clasped, it can leave your hands free to control the camera and concentrate on getting the shot. Wimberley also makes a ground spike and plamp stake for anyone who’d like a stable, stand-alone pole for attaching their plamp just above ground level.
© MICHAEL TOPHAM
photography Our round-up gathers together some of the best kit to help you capture your finest shots of nature and wildlife in the great outdoors 62
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Thermos Ultimate Flask ●
£24 ● www.thermos.co.uk
It’s amazing what a warm drink can do to raise your spirits when you’re sitting patiently waiting to capture a shot in the wild. It might be the thing that makes the difference between staying out and packing up and heading for home. Keeping well hydrated should be at the top of your list on any adventure and Thermos’s Ultimate flask remains cool to the touch when filled with hot liquids and sweat-proof with cold. It has a durable stainless steel interior and exterior and is available in two sizes. The 500ml version is adequate for a few hours whereas the 900ml flask is better suited to more extensive shooting sessions.
Walkstool Basic 50 £45 ● www. walkstool.com
Op/Tech Tripod Sleeves ●
£16 ● www.intro2020.co.uk
Choose a good-quality tripod and it should last many years. Mistreating it or exposing it to harsh environments day after day can drastically reduce its lifespan though and this is where Op/Tech’s tripod sleeves come in. Ideal for shooting in rivers, the sea, snow or on sand, they pull over the tripod leg and tighten with a drawstring. The reinforced bottoms offer added protection when shooting on abrasive surfaces and they can be conveniently rolled up and tucked into a pocket when finished with. They’re designed to fit tripod legs up to 7cm in diameter and 116cm of length.
Taking the weight off your legs and shooting from a seated position can make wildlife and nature photography far more enjoyable if you find yourself working outside for hours on end. The Walkstool Basic comes in two sizes (50cm and 60cm), features aluminium telescopic legs and provides a comfortable polyester seat. The 50cm version weighs 675g and folds down to a closed length of just 36cm, making it very easy to transport. It’s an ideal seat for sitting on in a portable hide.
Camouflage Tape ● £7-20 ● www.bullseyecountrysport.co.uk
Many birds and wildlife species can be spooked if they spot something out of the ordinary so it’s important to try to blend in with your surroundings if you want to be in with a chance of getting the shot you’re after. Camouflage tape can be wrapped around your lens and tripod hood in a matter of minutes and is easy to remove when you’re finished with it. Various patterns and different shades of green, khaki and sand are available from the likes of Bullseye Country Sport and Stealth Gear.
Fjallraven Vidda Pro Trousers ●
Jack Wolfskin Glencoe Sky III 3in1 Jacket ●
£160 ● www.jack-wolfskin.co.uk
This versatile jacket is perfect for keeping you toasty in sub-zero temperatures and lets you unzip the inner jacket to maintain protection while providing a more lightweight feel in milder conditions. The outer jacket features a water-repellent finish to ensure you stay dry in wet weather and comes with a large pull-over hood that’s permanently attached. The dark moss colour is ideal for photographing in woodlands and the countryside, plus it has a Texapore fabric that provides excellent breathability. www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
62-65 WildlifeAccessories Mar13 AW.indd 63
£125 ● www.fjallraven.com
Having a good-quality pair of trousers that are comfortable, water-resistant and have plenty of large pockets are a must-have for any serious outdoors photographer. The two layers of fabric on the knees have a gap in between that allows you to stash a set of kneepads in (kneepads not included), and the lower leg is adjustable to suit a range of different footwear sizes. The larger pockets feature poppers rather than zippers for quick access and they’re available in dark olive/ black and dark grey/black as well as the lighter laurel green/deep forest colour that’s pictured here.
The Heat Company Heat 3 Smart Gloves ●
£118 ● www.theheatcompany.com
No wildlife round-up would be complete without recommending a great pair of gloves. These thick mittens from The Heat Company picked up our Gold Award and we praised them for the extremely soft integrated liner that’s stitched inside, along with the way magnets keep the mitten and thumb openings folded back when you need to take precise control of your camera’s buttons and dials. They even come supplied with hard warmers that slip into pockets on the back to keep your fingers toasty. If you need one of the warmest pair of gloves you can buy for the coldest of outdoor wildlife expeditions, these are for you. 63
Pluto Trigger ●
Wildlife Watching C14 Double Bean Bag
£87 ● www.plutotrigger.com
Sometimes, triggering the shutter manually just won’t do. The Pluto Trigger has a huge range of remote-triggering options, both on its own and when used with a smartphone. It connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth, and to your camera using interchangeable cables that are available for most brands, and it can work as an infrared release with compatible cameras. The trigger unit has several built-in sensors, including for sound, light, and proximity. There’s even a laser trigger.
Nitehawk Pop-up Hunting Photography Shooting Tent ●
£58 ● www.nitehawkproducts.co.uk
The role of a bean bag is simple and offers much-needed additional support for our cameras and lenses when we might not have the time or opportunity to assemble our tripods to capture a spur-of-the-moment shot. They’re great for shooting from car windows, fences, and practically any surface where you’d like to rest your kit to help prevent handshake creeping into shots, or shoot sharper shots at slower shutter speeds. Extra liners are available, which can save you having to travel with a packed liner if you find yourself short of luggage space.
One way to get close to wildlife is to work from within a camouflaged hide. These come in a variety of shapes and sizes, however if you’d like one that’s affordable, not too big, quick to set up, and comes with its own convenient carry bag and chair, this example will serve you well. Always remember it’s a good idea to set the tent up a few days prior to using it so the local wildlife becomes familiar with it in their natural environment. Doing so can result in more sightings when you schedule a visit.
Hawke Nature-Trek 10x42 Binoculars ●
Novo Mantis T3 ●
£139 ● www.wexphotovideo.com
These binoculars feature an inner-focus optical design in a stock-resistant polycarbonate body, providing a clear viewing experience in a robust and lightweight casing. They’re ideal for viewing distant subjects and offer a close focusing distance of 2-2.5m, 10x magnification and are equipped with 42mm objective lenses. The twist eye cups and dioptre adjustment makes them well suited to wearers of glasses and as well as being designed to avoid fogging, they are fully weather-sealed. A carry case with an adjustable neck strap is included.
Benro GH2 Gimbal Head ●
£269 ● www.benroeu.com
Handholding large, heavy lenses can get tiring very quickly and this is where a specialised gimbal tripod head can come to the rescue and let you work in comfort. Purposely designed to offer excellent stability and smooth control, the Benro GH2 lets you rotate your lens around its centre of gravity, enabling easy manipulation of large and heavy lenses up to 600mm. It’s compatible with the Arca-Swiss type of tripod plates, has an impressive maximum load capacity of 23kg and weighs 1.44kg. It’s an excellent example for amateurs, enthusiasts and professionals alike. 64
62-65 WildlifeAccessories Mar13 AW.indd 64
£70 ● www.novo-photo.com
If you’re after a compact carbon-fibre travel tripod, the Novo Mantis T3 ticks all the right boxes. It has a maximum height of 270mm when fully extended and a closed length of just 215mm, yet is able to withstand a maximum load of 5kg. It weighs 500g so won’t weigh you down and those who regularly shoot macro subjects from low angles will appreciate that its legs can be widened. It comes ready to attach virtually any type of ball, 3-way or video head, using the integrated spring loaded thread.
Vanguard VEO 2S AM-264TR Monopod ●
Lowepro GearUp Memory Wallet 20 ●
£25 ● www.lowepro.com/uk-en/
Fast-moving wildlife subjects often demand that you take advantage of your camera’s continuous burst mode, which can result in filling up memory cards quickly if you shoot in raw. A memory card wallet like this example from Lowepro is a great way of separating used cards from spares and keeps them protected until you get a chance to download and backup your shots. It accepts CF, XQD and SD memory cards and features a book-style opening with clear pockets so that you can easily identify one card from another.
£79 ● www.vanguardworld.co.uk
This well-made monopod offers great value for money. It features a ball joint at its base that allows easy panning with moving subjects and the level of stability to be adjusted by the user. It’s made up of four sections, extends to a maximum height of 163cm and can support DSLR/ mirrorless cameras and lens combinations that weigh up to 6kg. The twist leg locks allow for easy water rinsing after working in potentially damaging environments and it’s also available in carbon fibre (£110) or with various ball/ pan heads.
Anker PowerCore 26800 ●
£50 ● www.anker.com
Running out of power in a remote location just when the animal or bird you’ve been patiently waiting to photograph shows up doesn’t bear thinking about. Having a portable power bank with a large 26800mAh capacity at your disposal will allow you to keep your camera and mobile devices (provided they support USB battery charging) topped up on the go. This example features three USB ports with Anker’s exclusive PowerIQ and VoltageBoost technologies for super-fast charging and recharges from empty in six hours. It measures 8.1x17.7x2.2cm (WxHxD) so you shouldn’t have any difficulty finding a suitable space for it in your camera bag.
MindShift Gear BackLight 26L ●
Vanguard Vesta 8320M ●
£80 ● www.vangaurdworld.co.uk
If you like the idea of being able to turn your smartphone into a digiscope, this kit from Vanguard allows you to do just that for under £100. Combine the light, compact and robust monocular that has an 8x magnification and 32mm objective lens with the supplied PA-60 universal adapter (accepts smartphones up to 87mm wide) and you’re ready to shoot. The kit even comes with a Bluetooth remote control that allows you to trigger the camera’s shutter without touching your phone. Note the Vesta TT Mini Tripod (£35) is not included. www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
62-65 WildlifeAccessories Mar13 AW.indd 65
£206 ● www.snapperstuff.com
The BackLight 26L features an impressive capacity for wildlife photographers who insist on striking the ideal balance between carrying camera kit and daily essentials. It has separate compartments for a 10in tablet and 15in laptop; and features a practical rear-panel compartment that enables access to your kit without putting it down in the dirt by spinning the bag to the front of your body while the waist belt is still secured. It’s an extremely well made backpack that feels comfortable on long hikes and includes a seam-sealed rain cover should you get caught out in a torrential downpour. There are larger Backlight 36L (£250) and smaller Backlight 18L (£178) options too and it’s also available in charcoal.
Vanguard VEO PA-65 ●
£50 ● www.vangaurdworld.co.uk
If you own a spotting scope or pair of binoculars and fancy attaching your smartphone to them, you’ll want to check out this offering from Vanguard. The VEO PA-65 is a digiscoping kit that will fit any smartphone from 59mm to 90mm wide, and can be used with spotting scope and binocular eyepieces between 34mm and 54mm wide from any brand, enabling you to take captivating close-up shots of wildlife and other subjects. It includes a Bluetooth remote control that can be used with iOS and Android smartphones.
In association with MPB
© CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: ANTOINE WEIS, ANDY WILLIAMS, NGUYEN TAN TUAN, JENNIFER JORDAN, NAWFAL JIRJEES, SEÁN FEEHAN, SIMON HADLEIGH-SPARKS
Amateur Photographer of the Year Competition
of MPB prizes to be won Enter the UK’s oldest and most prestigious photo competition for amateur photographers. There are ten rounds, so you have ten chances to win some great cameras and lenses from MPB!
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CELEBRATING THE YEAR’S BEST PRODUCTS
GLOBAL AWARDS 2020-21 visit www.eisa.eu for the winners
EISA is the unique collaboration of 62 member magazines and websites from 29 countries, specialising in all aspects of consumer electronics from mobile devices, home theatre display and audio products, photography, hi-fi and in-car entertainment. Now truly international with members in Australia, India, Canada, the Far East and USA, and still growing, the EISA Awards and official logo are your guide to the best in global consumer technology!
TESTED BY THE EXPERTS n WWW.EISA.EU
Ilan Horn, Israel
Meet our GuruShots
We showcase the top-rated images sent in by GuruShots users on the theme of My Favorite Animal
EARLIER this winter, GuruShots, organisers of the world’s greatest photography games and communities, challenged its users to send in their best images on the theme of My Favorite Animal. Amateur Photographer is partnering with GuruShots and we are now proud to publish the 23 highest ranked photographs by members who entered. Don’t forget that you can see every image that made it into the Top 500 on amateurphotographer.co.uk.
For more inspiring challenges to improve your skills and stay motivated, see gurushots.com. www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
69-71 GuruShots MyFaveAnimal Mar13 JPJP Client OK.indd 69
Nicol Urbanová, Slovakia 69
John Pence, United States
Michael Hemming, United States
Nathalie Talbot, Canada
Nikoleta Zlateva, Bulgaria 70
69-71 GuruShots MyFaveAnimal Mar13 JPJP Client OK.indd 70
Liviu Ivanescu, Canada
Gil Shmueli, Israel
Tomáš Hurta, Czechia
Buckaroo Bonzai, United States
Ginger aka Eva Xristos
Emil BA, Israel
Ivn Castello, United States
Henrico Muller, South Africa www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
Ginger aka Eva Xristos
Emil BA, Israel
Ivn Castello, United States
rico Muller, South Africa
Debbie Squier-Bernst, Canada
Tamar Alazraki, Israel
Markku Ahtola, Finland
Fabiano Santos, United States www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
69-71 GuruShots MyFaveAnimal Mar13 JPJP Client OK.indd 71
Ajit Vijay Deokar, United States
DNK Hendricks, United States
Jeff Menzel, United States
Elias Gulias, Spain 71
Amateur Photographer Email email@example.com
Group Editor Nigel Atherton Deputy Editor Geoff Harris Technical Editor Andy Westlake Features Editor Amy Davies Technique Editor Hollie Latham Hucker Production Editor Jacqueline Porter Art Editor Sarah Foster Photo-Science Consultant Professor Robert Newman Special thanks to The moderators of the AP website: Andrew Robertson, lisadb, Nick Roberts, The Fat Controller
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51 issues of Amateur Photographer are published per annum. UK annual subscription price: £152.49 Europe annual subscription price: €199 USA annual subscription price: $199 Rest of World annual subscription price: £225 UK subscription and back issue orderline 01959 543 747 Overseas subscription orderline 0044 (0) 1959 543 747 Toll free USA subscription orderline 1-888-777-0275 UK customer service team 01959 543 747 Customer service email address email@example.com Customer service and subscription postal address Amateur Photographer Customer Service Team, Kelsey Publishing Ltd, Kelsey Media, The Granary, Downs Court, Yalding Hill, Yalding, Maidstone, Kent ME18 6AL Find current subscription offers on our website shop.kelsey.co.uk/AMP Already a subscriber? Manage your subscription online at shop.kelsey.co.uk/site/loginForm
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LETTER OF THE WEEK LETTER OF THE WEEK WINS A SAMSUNG EVO PLUS MICROSD CARD. NOTE: PRIZE APPLIES TO UK AND EU RESIDENTS ONLY
Head of Market Ad Production
A means to an end
I was sorting out some old magazines for a charity shop run recently and came across a copy of AP from May 2009 – and realised that it was the edition that changed my photographic life. It was largely devoted to adapting manual lenses to SLRs and as I had a few manual focus lenses I’d never got rid of, I decided to get an adapter
and dip my toe in the water. Well that dipping slowly grew but really took off when mirrorless came along. I now have over 50 MF lenses and some 80% of my work is with these lenses adapted to my mirrorless cameras. Life changing may be overstating it, but it was definitely photographic life changing. Nigel Cliff
A Samsung 64GB EVO Plus microSDXC with SD adapter Class 10 UHS-1 Grade U3 memory card supports 4K UHD. Offering R/W speeds of up to 100MB/s / 20MB/s and a 10-year limited warranty. www.samsung.com/uk/memory-cards.
When I was at school in the 50s/60s the panoramic school photo was a bi-annual occurrence. This involved up to 700 people being organised into tiers, and a man from Panora Ltd of Clerkenwell taking the photo. The clockwork camera panned across the assembled bodies – the joke being that if you were at the start end, once the camera had moved on, you should be able to run round the back and stand at the other end – thus appearing twice. I am curious to know exactly how the camera worked, and how the results were developed and printed. Possibly AP’s John Wade could shed some light? Andrew Jones
view, but were mostly used to take 180° images. Because subjects at each end of the panorama were further away from the camera than those in front, the image seemed to bow in the middle. This was counteracted by positioning everyone in a semicircle. In the resulting picture, they appeared in a straight line. The camera rotated on its tripod during the exposure and, at the same time, the film moved past the back of the lens to build up the picture as it moved. Both were controlled by a clockwork motor and interchangeable gear
wheels determined the length of film exposed. A sliding scale on top of the camera indicated the size of gear wheel needed for the subject. The clockwork motor was adjustable to control the speed of rotation and hence the exposure time. Cirkuts were made first by the Rochester Panoramic Camera Company, before being manufactured by various divisions of Eastman Kodak. Different cameras took different film sizes to offer panoramic pictures from five to ten inches deep. There were at least six models, made between 1904 and 1932. John Wade
Sergey Gorshkov’s WPOTY winning tiger photo, taken with a trap camera, highlights an overlooked truth that cameras are only a ‘means to an end’. How people use them is a matter of choice. Staying attached to your camera is the usual method but not being attached at the time of capture does not detract from the creativity, surely? Look at the use of drones, for example, where operations are managed remotely. Or images fired remotely with an observant operator positioned some distance away. Without these moves away from the norm, we would not have seen some truly striking images. Determining the end result first, and then applying a methodology to be successful in achieving it is entirely commendable, and Sergey Gorshkov deserved his award. Matt Timpson
The effort is irrelevant
The fact that a camera trap was used by Sergei Gorshkov to capture a shot of a Siberian tiger to win WPOTY 2020 aroused strong opinions among your readers (AP 2 January). Their comments assume that a photograph earns merit from the amount of effort that went into capturing it. But there is a school of thought that says that this has no relevance when it comes to judging it. The image is either a good one or it isn’t. David Pelling An in-depth feature about camera trap photography, which includes Sergey
This was undoubtedly a Kodak Cirkut camera. They could shoot a 360° www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
Gorshkov’s controversial image, appears on page 20 of this ssue.
Who is the lady?
In the 16 January issue you featured the cover of the 18 January 1967 edition (right). The lady pictured looks very familiar. She may have been an actress. Is it possible to put a name to the face? Alastair Purcell
Can anyone identify this 1967 cover model?
Sadly she wasn’t credited, people like Charles E but if she was famous I’m Brown who had to take sure that the AP hive mind air-to-air photos using a will be able to name her. plate camera, but I never will be. Bill Fisher
Lost its way
A celebration of new life
I have read this week’s letters (AP 20 February) regarding the cover on the 9 January issue, and have to say that I do not agree with Paul Seymour’s view. I think it is beautiful and a sensitive image, and a celebration of motherhood and new life. I certainly do not see it as objectifying and devaluing humanity. Mark Gilbert
Never quite good enough
Just because someone can go out and buy a top-of-the-range supercar does not make them Lewis Hamilton. I have dabbled with photography
Cost of Leica
I don’t think the cost of a Leica and lens at circa £10,000 can ever be justified as more than self-indulgent luxury. But if you are going to try, like Ken Bradley (Inbox, 2 January), at least get your sums right. The cost over ten years to £1,000 per annum equates to more like £20 per week which is quite a few more coffees than the £4 Ken suggested. Andy Finn
Subscribe today for just
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With reference to Adrian Price’s ‘Calendar query’ (Inbox, 12 December) asking for websites that print calendars. I have used Max Spielmann, Vistaprint, and also www.my-picture.co.uk with good results from all. They generally take around a week to ten days. Look out for the regular money-saving promotions. John Stokes
© JOHN RUSHTON
I am 100% behind Malcolm Green in his view that photography has lost its way since it went digital. Now the club scene is dominated by three groups: those that want to mess about on the computer for hours to ‘improve’ what they saw, those whose aim is to be able to hang the most expensive camera around their necks, like spivs with gold chains, and those who do fraudulent macro and buy a chrysalis on the internet and when it hatches freeze it before setting it up in their studio, not realising that not changing the background makes other club members know exactly what they have done. I don’t score well in club competitions, purely because my personal rules say: don’t submit anything which could not have been done using transparency film. I am predominantly an aviation photographer and aim to be as good as
for as long as I can remember and never quite got good enough to be happy. I keep trying and keep dreaming of owning a Leica or a Hasselblad. But in truth I know it wouldn’t make my photos any better than they are now with my hobbyist kit. Truth is, I should probably find a few courses to spend money on rather than new kit. Keith Jones
The Kodak Cirkut camera, which was used for school groups
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LEICA 90mm f2.8 TELE ELMAR + HOOD ..........................................MINT- £395.00
MAMIYA 645 SUPER WITH AE PRISM 80mm COMPLETE ................. MINT £365.00
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MAMIYA 80mm f1.9 SEKOR C FOR 645 etc ...................................... MINT £299.00
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MAMIYA 180mm F4.5 SEKOR Z W FOR RZ........................................ MINT £199.00
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HASSELBLAD 150mm f4 SONNAR CF................................... MINT-BOXED £395.00
KENCO DG CANON FIT TUBE SET 12,20,36MM...................................MINT- £99.00
HASSELBLAD 150mm f4 SONNAR SILVER ..................................... EXC++ £175.00
KENCO TELEPLUS PRO 300 DGX 1.4 TELECONVERTER...........MINT CASED £99.00
HASSELBLAD 250mm f5.6 SONNAR SILVER .....................................EXC+ £179.00
SIGMA EX 1.4 TELECONVERTER .......................................................... MINT £75.00
HASSELBLAD HTS 1.5X TILT AND SHIFT ADAPTOR...........MINT BOXED £1,995.00
SIGMA 14mm f2.8 EX HSM ASPHERIC..................................MINT CASED £365.00
HASSELBLAD GIL GPS UNIT FOR H SYSTEM.........................MINT BOXED £399.00
TAMRON 70 - 300mm f4/5.6 SP Di VC ULTRASONIC............ MINT+HOOD £225.00
HASSELBLAD PM90 PRISM FINDER .................................................MINT- £275.00
TOKINA 12 - 24mm F4 IF DX ASPH AT-X PRO + HOOD........MINT BOXED £299.00
HASSELBLAD PME3 METERED PRISM FINDER ................................MINT- £275.00
Contax ‘G’ Compacts & SLR & Ricoh
HASSELBLAD VFC-6 METERED PRISM..................................MINT BOXED £175.00 HASSELBLAD A12 BACK CHROME....................................................MINT- £129.00
CONTAX 35 - 70mm f3.5/5.6 “G” VARIO-SONNAR T*...........MINT BOXED £395.00
BRONICA ETRS PRISM,FDR,BACK & 75mm EII LENS..................... EXC++ £325.00
CONTAX TLA 140 FLASH FOR G1/G2.......................................MINT CASED £65.00
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BRONICA AUTO EXTENTION TUBE E-14...................................MINT BOXED £45.00
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YASHICA 200mm f4 CONTAX FIT........................................................MINT- £90.00
BRONICA 40mm f4 MC LENS FOR ETRS/ETRSi................................. MINT £179.00
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BRONICA 150mm F3.5 ZENZANON S................................................MINT- £165.00
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LEICA “M” , “R” , & SCREW & RANGEFINDER
BRONICA 150mm F4 PS ZENZANON FOR SQ.........................MINT-CASED £145.00 BRONICA 180mm f4.5 PS LENS & CASE .............................. MINT-BOXED £199.00
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BRONICA SPEED GRIP FOR SQA/SQAI................................................MINT- £69.00
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LEICA MR METER.................................................................. MINT-BOXED £175.00
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LEICCA 50mm f2.88 COLLAPSSIBLE ELMAR..........................................MINT- £2999.000
MAMIYA 1880mm f4.55 SEKOOR FOOR C2200/330 etc ..................MINT CASSED £1455.000
NIKON 50mm f1.4 “G” AFS....................................................MINT BOXED £265.00 NIKON 50mm f1.4 “G” AFS....................................................MINT BOXED £215.00 NIKON 50mm f1.8 A/F “D” .................................................................MINT- £89.00 NIKON 85mm f1.8 “G” AF-S + HOOD..............................................MINT - £320.00 NIKON 300mm f4E PF ED VR AF-S LENS LATEST..............MINT BOXED £1,195.00 NIKON 10 - 24 mm f3.5/4.5 “G” ED DX AF-S...................................MINT- £399.00 NIKON 12 - 24mm f4 “G” DX IF-ED AF-S..............................MINT BOXED £395.00 NIKON 12 - 24mm f4 “G” DX IF-ED AF-S..............................MINT-CASED £365.00 NIKON 16 - 35mm f4 “G” AF-S ED VR LATEST VERSION .....MINT BOXED £675.00 NIKON 24 - 85mm f2.8/4 A/F “D” WITH HOOD................................. MINT £225.00 NIKON 16 - 80mm f2.8-4EAF-S VR ED DX + HOOD ..............MINT CASED £545.00 NIKON 16 - 85mm f3.5/5.6 G ED AF-S VR............................ MINT-BOXED £199.00 NIKON 24 - 120mm f4 “G” ED VR .........................................MINT BOXED £425.00 NIKON 24 - 120mm f4 “G” ED AF-S VR LATEST MODEL......MINT BOXED £745.00 NIKON 35 - 70mm f3.3/4.5 A/F LENS............................................... EXC++ £49.00 Nikon 70-200mm f2.8E AF-S FL ED VR LATEST................MINT BOXED £1,495.00 NIKON AF-S TELECONVERTER TC-14E III.......................................... MINT £395.00 SIGMA 1.4x TC-1401 TELECONVERTER.................................MINT CASED £189.00 NIKON DR-6 RIGHT ANGLED FINDER.....................................MINT BOXED £145.00 NIKON TC-17E II TELECONVERTER ........................................MINT BOXED £225.00 NIKON TC14E III 1.4X AF-S TELECONVERTER .......................MINT BOXED £395.00
TOKINA 35mm f2.8 ATX PRO DX MACRO 1:1 LATEST ..........MINT BOXED £245.00
Nikon Manual Focus
NIKON F2 PHOTOMIC BODY CHROME................................................EXC+ £199.00 NIKON F PHOTOMIC T WITH 50mm f2 NIKON LENS....................... EXC++ £250.00 NIKKORMAT FT CHROME WITH 35mm f2.8 S LENS...........EXC++ CASED £145.00 NIKKORMAT FT CHROME................................................................EXC+++ £75.00 NIKKORMAT FT2 BLACK WITH 50mm f2 LENS ..................EXC++ CASED £165.00 NIKON 24mm F2.8 AIS SUPERB SHARP LENS................................MINT-- £199.00 NIKON 28mm f2.8 AI.......................................................................... MINT £165.00 NIKON 45mm F2.8 GN NIKKOR .........................................................MINT- £199.00 NIKON 50mm f1.2 AIS.......................................................................MINT- £395.00 NIKON 50mm f1.4 Ai.........................................................................MINT- £195.00 NIKON 50mm f1.8 AIS SHARP LENS.................................................... MINT £89.00 NIKON 35 - 70mm F3.3/4.5 ZOOM NIKKOR MACRO AIS..................MINT- £169.00 NIKON 35 - 105mm F3.5/4.5 AIS ZOOM MACRO............................ EXC++ £119.00 NIKON MD4 MOTOR DRIVE FOR F3/F3HP.........................................MINT- £145.00 NIKON MD4 MOTOR DRIVE FOR F3/F3HP.......................................EXC+++ £99.00 NIKON MD12 MOTOR DRIVE FOR FM2n/FE2/FE/FM/FM3................. MINT £145.00 NIKON SB 16 FLASH FOR F3/FM2/FM3/FE/FE2.....................MINT-CASED £115.00 NIKON SB 16 FLASH FOR F3............................................................. EXC++ £65.00
Olympus Manual OLYMPUS OM4 BLACK BODY.......................................................... EXC++ £225.00 OLYMPUS OM2 SP........................................................................... EXC++ £129.00 OLYMPUS 28mm f2.8 ZUIKO................................................................ MINT £75.00 OLYMPUS 38mm f2.8 ZUIKO MACRO LENS...........................MINT-CASED £299.00 OLYMPUS 50mm f1.8 ZUIKO LENS.....................................................MINT- £55.00 OLYMPUS 50mm f1.8 ZUIKO LENS...................................................... MINT £65.00 OLYMPUS 80mm f4 ZUIKO MACRO LENS..............................MINT-CASED £175.00 OLYMPUS 135mm f3.5 ZUIKO LENS........................................MINT-CASED £69.00 OLYMPUS 200mm f4 ZUIKO LENS....................................................... MINT £75.00 OLYMPUS 2x TELECONVERTER................................................MINT-CASED £35.00
NIKON TC20E II 2X AF-S TELECONVERTER .......................... MINT-BOXED £175.00
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Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM It’s almost 30 years old, but Canon’s prime remains a great choice for shooting portraiture
anon isn’t short of 85mm prime lenses in EF-mount and produces three fine examples with different maximum apertures. Those who fancy an affordable, highly practical and lightweight lens are likely to choose the EF 85mm f/1.8 USM ahead of the heavier and more expensive Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM and Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM, which cost £1,999 and £1,489 respectively. The lens we’re looking at doesn’t boast Canon’s professional L-series status, but don’t let this put you off as it offers a remarkably strong performance for the price.
What we said
‘It features excellent build quality and delivers sharp results’ ● ‘There are few better options out there for Canon users working on a strict budget’ ● ‘It is known to produce chromatic aberrations when it is opened to its maximum aperture’ ● ‘Affordable and lightweight, it makes a fine choice for users who love to shoot portraits’ ●
Autofocus operation is fast and quiet thanks to the Ultrasonic Motor (USM)
What to pay
There is no shortage of second-hand examples on the used market, ranging from like new (£289) to heavily used (£144) condition. Excellent condition lenses that only have the lightest signs of use and come with all the original packaging tend to fetch around £274. Those deemed to be in good condition with some cosmetic marks to the barrel can be snapped up from £244.
How it fares today New alternatives It has been a popular medium telephoto prime for nearly three decades, but the arrival of the faster EF 85mm f/1.4 L IS USM saw a number of DSLR users trade-in and upgrade. Despite its age, the lens is fast at acquiring focus and does so silently. It isn’t weather-sealed, lacks optical stabilisation and produces purple fringing at wide apertures, yet it’s compact and delivers respectable sharpness.
The EF 85mm f/1.4 L IS USM arrived in 2017. It’s a superb lens and benefits from optical image stabilisation that’s effective to 4 stops and can be a godsend in low-light venues. In 2019 Canon released the RF 85mm F1.2L USM (£2,799) for its EOS R system. This was followed by the RF 85mm F1.2L USM DS (£3,219) that features a DS coating for softer and smoother defocus rendering.
See over to find out what Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM owners have to say www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
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The lens handles extremely well with full frame and APS-C DSLRs
At a glance
For and against
£244 (good used condition)
+ Impressive sharpness + Produces attractive background blur + Non-rotating front element + Fast autofocus performance + Fantastic value for money + Usable with full-frame and APS-C
● Aperture f/1.8-f/22 ● 9 elements in 7 groups ● Minimum focusing distance 85cm ● Filter size 58mm ● Weight 425g
– Exhibits obvious chromatic aberration – No optical stabilisation
What the owners think Three Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM users give their verdict
Ian swears by his EF 85mm f/1.8 USM and considers it the best short-telephoto lens for portraits Canon EOS 5D Mark II, EF
85mm f/1.8 USM, 1/200sec at f/9, ISO 160
The Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM is my first lens of choice for headshots. I would say it is just about the perfect focal length for portraits. As a fast f/1.8 lens it is ideal for low-light situations, however in the studio the wide aperture is rarely needed. I get very sharp results at around f/5.6, which also ensures that I get all of the head in focus, not just the eyes. The quality of the glass is top-drawer and the lens is lighter than many of the alternatives of similar focal length. Away from the studio this lens is really useful for situations where there is poor available light, say indoors in a church or at a concert. All in all, you’d have to pay a lot of money for a lens of similar quality if you were to buy new. The Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM is also a great portrait option, especially for those who may be shooting with a Canon APS-C DSLR. More of my images can be seen at www.treasured-photos.co.uk.
If I were ever marooned on a desert island the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM would be one of my three lenses of choice. It’s lightweight, compact and the wide maximum aperture gives a bright viewfinder image in low-light conditions. I’m now on my second copy of the lens, having bought my first soon after it was released in 1992. It’s arguably the best focal length for portraits, giving natural perspective and no distortion. The lens allows you to shoot with a shallow depth of field and create smooth backgrounds – ideal if you have any distractions behind your subject. I’ve found it works particularly well with eyedetection AF offered by Canon’s full-frame EOS R mirrorless cameras, though
this does of course require use of an EF-EOS R mount adapter between camera and lens. On location I tend to use an aperture of between f/2.8 and f/4, whereas in the studio I typically shoot with it around f/9. It weighs 425g and the filter thread of 58mm matches much of my Canon glassware. I’ve considered buying the chunky Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 II USM but the fact it weighs 1,025g and has a larger filter thread (72mm) puts me off the idea. To see more of my images, visit my website at www.winephotos.uk.
For and against + Performs well both outside and indoors – Doesn’t come supplied with a lens hood
The EF 85mm f/1.8 USM has become Rob’s go-to lens for studio portraits
Canon EOS 5D Mark II, EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, 1/200sec at f/3.5, ISO 100
For and against + Outstanding image quality for the price – Can’t be faulted 76
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For this image Ian carefully focused on the model’s eyes and used a wide aperture to make the image pop
Canon EOS 5D Mark II, EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, 1/2000sec at f/3.2, ISO 160
I’ve owned the EF 85mm f/1.8 USM for 13 years and it was the second lens I purchased for my Canon EOS 5D. I bought it to take a few casual portraits, not really knowing how good an investment it would turn out to be. Over the years it has become one of my most regularly used lenses for shooting weddings. It doesn’t weigh you down like faster 85mm prime lenses that I’ve tried and when you’re carrying a full-frame DSLR over your shoulder for 12 hours with very few chances to put it down, that’s hugely important. I tend to use it at around f/2.8, which returns sharper results than at f/1.8. It’s often paired with my 58mm ND4 filter on sunny days to allow me to continue using wide apertures. I have also bought the ET-65 III lens hood (£25), because one For and against isn’t included. To see more of + Compact and lightweight my images, visit my website at No weather-sealing www.michaeltopham.co.uk.
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Michael has depended on his trusty Canon prime for shooting weddings and events for more than a decade
Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, 1/500sec at f/2.8, ISO 1600
THE EISA PHOTOGRAPHY MAESTRO CONTEST 2021 1ST PRIZE €1500 & EISA Maestro Trophy 2ND PRIZE €1000 & EISA Maestro Trophy 3RD PRIZE €750 & EISA Maestro Trophy
This Year’s Theme:
© SHUTTERSTOCK.COM/TOM EVERSLEY
HOW TO ENTER Provide 5 to 8 photographs on the theme of ‘Faces’. All entries must be in digital format (camera or scanned film originals) and must be taken by you for the purposes of this competition. Existing portfolios are excluded. ners will also be All National Maestro win the end of June at ok ebo Fac published on oice competition. for the EISA Public’s Ch 0. 00 €1 : ner win the Prize for
NATIONAL DEADLINE: 1 MAY 2021 AP has teamed up with Photocrowd to host the contest. To enter your portfolio of 5 to 8 images, go to: www.photocrowd.com/maestrouk The top three will be chosen by the AP team and published in a June or July issue of AP. The winner will receive a one-year subscription to AP and will go forward to the International round of the contest.
INTERNATIONAL JUDGING: JUNE 2021 The winning entries from each of the 16 participating EISA countries will be judged together at the Association’s Awards Meeting in June 2021. The final results of the International Maestro contest will be revealed at the EISA Awards Gala on 3 September 2021 (circumstances permitting).
The winning photographs will be published in the Sept or Oct issues of all 16 EISA photo magazines/websites. Circumstances permitting, winners will be invited to the EISA Awards ceremony in Berlin on 3 September 2021
For further details, terms and conditions visit www.eisa.eu/maestro Eisa Maestro 2021 comp launch JP.indd 1
Testbench The lens resolves sensational centre sharpness at 24mm between f/2.8 and f/8 Nikon Z 7, Nikkor
Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S @24mm, 1/640sec at f/8, ISO 400
Nikon Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S Michael Topham tests the latest wideangle zoom from Nikon for the continuingly evolving Z-series
wo of the latest lenses to be added to Nikon’s ever-growing Z-mount lineup are the Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2 S and the Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S. While the Z 50mm f/1.2 S (£2,299) slots in between the Z 50mm f/1.8 S (£529) and the astronomically expensive Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct (£8,299), the Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S sits above the Z 14-30mm f/4 S www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
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as the new premium ultra-wideangle offering for Nikon mirrorless users. Given the success of the legendary Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8 G ED lens for F-mount, expectations of this optic are naturally high, so how good is it?
The Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S and Z 14-30mm f/4 S are the two widest lenses Nikon offers in
Z mount at the time of writing. The Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S is the larger of the two, doesn’t feature a retractable design and remains a constant length at all times with an internal focusing system. It has a different optical construction and arranges 16 elements in 11 groups. Included within this arrangement are four extra-low dispersion (ED) glass elements and three aspherical
elements, with Nikon’s Nano Crystal and latest multi-layer Arneo coatings being applied throughout. As well as mitigating flare and ghosting, they compensate for light entering the lens from oblique angles and maximise contrast and sharpness when shooting directly towards the light. Nikon has also added a fluorine coating to the front element to prevent dust, water, grease and dirt adhering to its surface, making it easy to clean. Keeping on the topic of construction, the lens uses 79
This long exposure at Reculver in Kent was captured using NiSi’s dedicated filter holder and the LEE Filters Big Stopper ND Nikon Z 7, Nikkor Z
14-24mm f/2.8 S @ 24mm, 30sec at f/14, ISO 64
a 9-blade rounded diaphragm (the Z 14-30mm f/4 S has seven blades), which can be set across an aperture range of f/2.8 to f/22. This sees it render natural-looking bokeh and, like other premium Nikon Z-mount lenses we’ve tested, it uses a powerful stepping motor to ensure it goes about its business of focusing in a fast, accurate and silent manner. The minimum focus distance of 28cm (0.92ft) is the same at all positions in the zoom range. Like
many wideangle zooms, there’s no optical vibration reduction built in. Z-series users will need to rely on the in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) offered by their camera to counteract any shake that may occur as a result of using the lens handheld with slow shutter speeds in low-light situations. Interestingly, the lens is supplied with a pair of plastic lens hoods. As well as a smaller petal-shaped hood (HB-96) it comes with a larger lens hood (HB-97) that accepts attachment
Mild vignetting is evident towards the edge when the lens is used wide open Nikon
Z 7, Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S @ 18mm, 1/200sec at f/2.8, ISO 400
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the custom control assignment in the camera’s main menu. I would have preferred it if it was positioned a fraction lower, but the good news is it doesn’t click when it’s pressed. Above it is the Build and handling DISP button, which is also silent The lens has extensive seals and ties in with the dimmable, around all moving parts to keep built-in electroluminescent (EL) dust and moisture out and it’s display that lets users switch 320g lighter than the older AF-S between viewing aperture, focus 14-24mm f/2.8 G ED, which is distance and focal length quite a saving. From the rear information. It doubles up as a looking forward, you’ll notice its useful way of ensuring the focal robust metal mount and AF/MF length or focus distance is switch that clicks positively at identical between shots. Focal both positions. Ahead of this is length information is displayed in the control ring that can be 0.5mm increments between customised to control aperture, 14mm and 24mm and the panel exposure compensation or ISO only illuminates when the camera and is useful during video is powered and the user presses recording or situations where the DISP button. Better still, it silent operation is crucial. Users automatically turns off within ten will quickly discover the control seconds of no lens-based activity. ring is highly sensitive. With it set Moving further forward we come to control ISO, I got from ISO 32 to the zoom and focus rings. The to ISO 102,400 in well under a zoom ring is delightfully damped quarter turn. Operating the and consistent in its feel across control ring slowly with finesse is the zoom range. There are focal required to prevent going too far distance markings for 14, 15, 16, past your desired setting. 18, 20 and 24mm, which stand Further down the barrel there’s out in white like most markings a customisable L-Fn button that on the barrel. The zoom ring has allows you to set it up to perform a short throw under a quarter one of 22 different functions from turn so it’s possible to get from of 112mm screw-in filters, which don’t vignette at 14mm. Like the smaller HB-96 hood, it has a lock and requires a release button to be pressed before it’s removed.
LENS TEST Sunset overlooking Barden Lake in Tonbridge, Kent Nikon Z 7, Nikkor Z 14-24mm
f/2.8 S @ 14mm, 1/25sec at f/2.8, ISO 100
one end to the other very quickly. The manual focus ring, like the zoom ring, is rubberised. It’s one of the smoothest and most satisfying manual focus rings I’ve used for a long time. Although it’s fly-by-wire rather than mechanically coupled, the feel and control is excellent.
‘It’s one of the smoothest and most satisfying manual focus rings I’ve used’
and will be made up by its sublime optical performance. Examining a series of images of the same scene at three zoom settings (14mm, 18mm and 24mm) across its aperture Autofocus range revealed edge sharpness The lens behaved superbly with at 14mm doesn’t match the the Nikon Z 7 that I paired it with phenomenally impressive level for testing and there were no of sharpness in the centre at signs of hesitation when it was f/2.8, however there’s an asked to acquire focus quickly in obvious improvement by challenging low light at dusk. stopping down to f/4. By the When it’s held to your ear you time f/5.6 and f/8 is reached can make out some faint whirring it’s much harder to tell a sounds as it focuses, but it can’t difference in sharpness between be traced in audio recorded by the the centre and edge. Zooming in in-built mic when shooting video. a little to around 16mm and Setting the camera on a tripod 18mm sees the lens return and rotating the focus ring from sharper results at the edge of close focus to infinity revealed the frame than at 14mm. Once that focus breathing isn’t entirely again I identified the best eliminated, but isn’t a major corner-to-corner sharpness concern. I found it helpful that around f/5.6, which I consider the illuminated display panel its sweet spot in the aperture indicates when the lens is set to range at all zoom settings. I was AF or MF when the AF/MF switch stunned by the sharpness of my is used; and the way the L-Fn test shots and real-world images button can be touched to wake in the centre at 24mm between the camera from standby mode f/2.8 and f/8 too. It’s only when so you’re ready to shoot in an the lens is used at f/16 and instant is a nice touch. f/22 that you start to notice fine detail starting to be affected by Image quality diffraction when images are Nikon Z-series users expecting inspected at high magnification. outstanding results get just that The built-in lens correction www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
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profile that’s automatically applied to NEF files in software is intended to correct for distortion, chromatic aberration and vignetting. Studying high-contrast edges of backlit subjects revealed that chromatic aberration is non-existent. No trace of fringing was identified in any of my sample images whatsoever. Furthermore, the lens creates striking sunbursts when it’s aimed towards the light and its resistance to exhibiting flare when it’s directed straight at the sun is astonishing. With built-in lens corrections applied, vignetting is still evident towards the edges when it’s used wide open and is most obvious at 14mm, but it does gradually subside as it’s stopped down to f/4 and beyond. There’s little reason to turn Auto distortion control off, but doing so reveals the lens exhibits barrel distortion at 14mm, which is accentuated the closer you get to subjects. There’s also some pincushion distortion at the 24mm end, however the distortion correction that’s applied to JPEGs and lens correction profile that’s applied to raws does help to keep this distortion in check.
BY INTRODUCING the Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S into its lineup, Nikon has three fabulous high-end zooms with a fast f/2.8 aperture covering 14mm to 200mm. It’s perhaps unlikely to sell in the same volume as the Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S and Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S, which cost £500 and £100 less respectively, but it’s great to see Nikon catering for the most demanding of photographers who ultimately insist on nothing but the best from a wideangle lens. The fact it’s 450g lighter and more compact than pairing the Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8 G to a Z-series camera using the FTZ adapter are reasons to consider it. On top of this you get Nikon’s state-of-the-art optics and coatings that resolve exquisite image quality and sharpness, plus there’s enriched functionality thanks to its control ring, small display and L-Fn button. Anyone who’d like to use it with 100mm filters can do this with NiSi’s filter holder (see page 82) and we’re likely to see other manufacturers release adapter rings to support their filter systems in due course. As spectacular as its performance and build quality is, it does come at an extremely high price. Those who can’t stretch to it have the Z 14-30mm f/4 S to fall back on and with rumours of Sigma soon to start making lenses for the Z mount, it may not be all that long before a more affordable 14-24mm f/2.8 arrives.
Data file Price £2,499 Lens mount Z mount Lens elements 16 Lens groups 11 Aperture blades 9 Aperture f/2.8-f/22
Minimum focus distance 28cm Dimensions 88.5x124.5mm Weight 650g Included accessories Front caps, back cap, HB-96 and HB-97 lens hoods, lens case
NiSi 100mm Filter holder for Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S Michael Topham tests a custom-made filter holder ● £69 ● www.nisioptics.co.uk IN YEARS gone by there has often been an infuriating delay between lens manufacturers releasing new wideangle lenses and filter Adapter lock companies releasing a suitable holder, or The adapter ring features a adapter ring, to support them. One filter locking pin to ensure it’s manufacturer that seems to be on the securely attached to the right track is NiSi, who designed and built front of the lens; however a custom filter kit for the new Nikon Z it’s not captive. 14-24mm f/2.8 S incredibly quickly. But how does it fare and do we recommend it? The kit is made up of two parts – a custom adapter ring that’s purposely designed for the lens and a filter holder that allows two 100mm filters to be slotted in and used at the same time. First you’re required to fit the adapter ring to the Locking lens, which is done by aligning the white dot wheel with the white dot on the lens before Prevents the filter holder rotating it anti-clockwise. To prevent it being accidentally loosening there’s a locking pin that needs removed and also stops tightening. This pin isn’t captive so it it from being shouldn’t be unscrewed too far. With the rotated. adapter ring attached, the holder can then be offered up to it. This slots in on one side and when the silver pin on the opposite side is pulled out and released the holder is securely attached. Tightening the small metal wheel between the silver pin and holder eliminates any possibility of accidentally releasing the holder from the adapter. The holder is compatible with 2mm thick 100x100mm or 100x150mm filters from NiSi and other brands like LEE Filters, Cokin and Formatt Hitech. Testing the holder with a LEE Filters Big Stopper and a graduated ND demonstrated that it securely holds filters in place. The Big Stopper’s foam gasket created a light-tight seal at the sides, however a small gap remained at the top and bottom of the filter. This didn’t seem to affect my long exposures, however it could be resolved by extending the gasket on the back of the filter. The holder also allows you to use two filters at as wide as 14mm with no sign of vignetting.
ALL PRICES ARE APPROXIMATE STREET PRICES
Nikon users who’d like to shoot at extremely wide focal lengths with the Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S and use 100x100mm or 100x150mm filters without vignetting will take great interest in this filter holder. It doesn’t support use of a rear-mounted polariser and the holder locking wheel can be fiddly to operate with thick gloves, however you can’t fault its build quality, which is robustly made and built to last. It’s one of the more niche accessories we’ve tested, but an essential one for users of Nikon’s ultra-wide zoom lens in Z-mount. 82
82 Accessories Mar13_MT AW JP.indd 82
At a glance ● For 100x100mm or
● Accepts a maximum of
● Made from lightweight
● Not compatible with V6
With the locking wheel in its unlocked position, this is pulled outwards to remove the holder from the adapter.
The holder can be rotated freely by 360º in its unlocked position. Recommended
ALSO IN THE RANGE NiSi has also made a new hood for the lens. It’s different from the HB-97 hood Nikon supplies in that it’s made from lightweight aluminium alloy rather than plastic and is designed to prevent light leakage when 112mm screw-in filters are used – something that Nikon’s HB-97 hood does sadly suffer from. www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
Professor Newman on…
Stacked sensor Why Sony’s new stacked sensor technology is so intriguing and how it works
he new Sony Alpha 1 appears to be a virtuoso exemplar of the capabilities of Sony Semiconductor Solution’s stacked sensor technology. As the name suggests, this works by allowing multiple semiconductor wafers to be stacked. Its main advantage is that, whereas a conventional integrated circuit is a twodimensional structure, stacking produces a three-dimensional one. This allows greater circuit density in the same way that high-rise buildings permit increased population density. Before describing the stacking process, a reminder of how semiconductors are made. The circuitry is patterned onto a wafer of silicon that’s usually 20 or 30cm in diameter and just less than a millimetre thick. Then metal wiring is deposited on top to connect the electronic components together. Finally, the wafer is split into rectangular chips, which are the final integrated circuits. In a ‘back-side illuminated’ sensor the wafer will be ground or etched on the rear side opposite the wiring until the lower side of the photosensitive components is revealed. This allows light to reach the pixel circuitry unhindered by the metal layers on top. The stacking in Sony’s process occurs at the wafer stage, so a whole wafer’s worth of sensors are produced in one operation. The sensors are typically made using three layers: a pixels layer, a memory layer and a logic layer. In the first stage the memory and logic layers are bonded with the wiring of the two wafers face to face. The bonding process is called ‘ZiBond’ and licensed from
the company Xperi. This is one of a class of technologies called ‘Direct Bond Interconnect’, which allows the metal layers to make an electrically sound connection. It relies on the Van der Waals close-range atomic forces between the thin surface layers of silicon oxide. The wafers are meticulously polished and cleaned and then activated by exposure to a plasma, which heats only the very surface. When brought into contact, the Van der Waals forces pull the two wafers together. The bond is stabilised by annealing the wafer, forming a strong bond with metal-to-metal contact where the wiring on the surface of the two layers interconnects.
Logic, memory, pixels
In Sony’s sensors the memory and logic layers are bonded together first. Then the combined wafer is thinned on the memory side. A further layer of metal wiring is applied to this surface, which provides both contact paths for the next layer to be
Sensor Memory Logic
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added, and the basis for ‘through silicon vias’ (TSVs). In a 3D structure, some means is needed to connect one side of the wafer to the other. This is done by etching tiny holes through the wafer, which are then filled with metal, connecting the metal from one side to the other. Finally, the same process is used to bond the sensor wafer, which is metallised to provide connections to the outside world – without this, all the metal is sandwiched inside the sensor. Finally, the colour filter array and microlenses are applied and the wafer split into individual sensor chips. In the diagram below the stages are identified. ‘A’ shows the three wafers, where grey is the silicon substrate, blue is the electronic circuitry and brown is the wiring. In step B the memory and logic wafers have been bonded, with a layer of metal and TSVs added in step C, prior to bonding the sensor wafer in D. My next article will discuss how and why the stacking technology improves sensor performance.
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Sony’s sensors are made by stacking together three silicon wafers
Bob Newman is currently Professor of Computer Science at the University of Wolverhampton. He has been working with the design and development of high-technology equipment for 35 years and two of his products have won innovation awards. Bob is also a camera nut and a keen amateur photographer
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297 lenses listed & rated
Our comprehensive listing of key specifications for DSLR lenses Lens mounts
Each manufacturer has its own lens mount and most aren’t compatible with one another. For example, a Canon DSLR can’t use Nikon lenses, although you can use independent brands if you get them with the right mount.
DSLR Lenses Interchangeable lenses come in a huge array of types for shooting different kinds of subjects IN GENERAL, the easiest way to expand the kinds of pictures you can take is by buying different types of lenses. For example, telephoto lenses let you zoom in on distant subjects, while macro lenses enable close-ups of small objects. Large-aperture lenses allow you to isolate subjects against blurred backgrounds, or shoot in low light without having to raise the ISO too high. Meanwhile, all-in-one superzooms cover a wide range of subjects, but usually with rather lower optical quality.
Built-in focus motor
Most lenses now incorporate an internal motor to drive the autofocus, although some are still driven from the camera body. DSLR lenses often use ultrasonictype motors for fast focusing, but some now have video-friendly stepper motors as widely used in mirrorless systems.
A thread at the front of the camera will have a diameter, in mm, which will allow you to attach a variety of filters or adapters to the lens.
Wider apertures mean you can use faster, motion-stopping shutter speeds.
OUR GUIDE TO THE SUFFIXES USED BY LENS MANUFACTURERS AF AF-S AF-P AL APD APO ASPH AW CS D DA DC
Nikon AF lenses driven from camera Nikon lenses with Silent Wave Motor Nikon lenses with stepper motors Pentax lenses with aspheric elements Fujifilm lenses with apodisation elements Sigma Apochromatic lenses Aspherical elements Pentax all-weather lenses Samyang lenses for APS-C cropped sensors Nikon lenses that communicate distance info Pentax lenses optimised for APS-C-sized sensors Nikon defocus-control portrait lenses
DC DG Di Di-II Di-III DN DO DT DX DS E E
Sigma’s lenses for APS-C digital Sigma’s designation for full-frame lenses Tamron lenses for full-frame sensors Tamron lenses designed for APS-C DSLRs Tamron lenses for mirrorless cameras Sigma’s lenses for mirrorless cameras Canon diffractive optical element lenses Sony lenses for APS-C-sized sensors Nikon’s lenses for DX-format digital Canon’s Defocus Smoothing technology Nikon lenses with electronic apertures Sony lenses for APS-C mirrorless
87-92 BuyingGuideDSLRlenses Mar13 AW.indd 87
ED EF EF-S EF-M EX FA FE G HSM IS L LD
Extra-low Dispersion elements Canon’s lenses for full-frame DSLRs Canon’s lenses for APS-C DSLRs Canon’s lenses for APS-C mirrorless Sigma’s ‘Excellent’ range Pentax full-frame lenses Sony lenses for full-frame mirrorless Nikon lenses without an aperture ring Sigma’s Hypersonic Motor Canon’s Image-Stabilised lenses Canon’s ‘Luxury’ range of high-end lenses Low-Dispersion glass
LM MP-E OIS OS PC-E PF PZD RF S SAM SDM SMC
Fujifilm Linear Motor Canon’s high-magnification macro lens Optical Image Stabilisation Sigma’s Optically Stabilised lenses Nikon tilt-and-shift lenses Nikon Phase Fresnel optics Tamron Piezo Drive focus motor Canon full-frame mirrorless lenses Nikon’s premium lenses for mirrorless Sony Smooth Autofocus Motor Pentax’s Sonic Direct Drive Motor Pentax Super Multi Coating
SP SSM STF STM TS-E UMC USM USD VC VR WR Z
Tamron’s Super Performance range Sony Supersonic Motor lenses Sony and Laowa Smooth Trans Focus Canon lenses with stepper motor Canon Tilt-and-Shift lens Ultra Multi Coated Canon lenses with an Ultrasonic Motor Tamron Ultrasonic Drive motor Tamron’s Vibration Compensation Nikon’s Vibration Reduction feature Weather Resistant Nikon’s lenses for mirrorless cameras
Park Cameras was established in 1971 in Burgess Hill, West Sussex. For 50 years they have forged a reputation across the photographic industry as one of the top independent photographic retailers in the UK, serving the needs of all photographers, from enthusiasts through to professionals, through the very highest level of customer service. 87
FILTER THREAD (MM)
MIN FOCUS (CM)
SIGMA FULL FRAME
CANON FOUR THIRDS
ALL PRICES ARE RRPS, STREET PRICES MAY VARY
EF 8-15mm f/4 L USM EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM EF 11-24mm f/4 L USM EF 14mm f/2.8 L II USM EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L III USM EF 16-35mm f/4 L IS USM TS-E 17mm f/4 L EF 17-40mm f/4 L USM EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS EF 24mm f/1.4 L II USM EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM TS-E 24mm f/3.5 L II EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L II USM EF 24-70mm f/4 L IS USM EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS II USM EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 L IS USM EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM EF 35mm f/2 IS USM EF 35mm f/1.4 L II USM EF 40mm f/2.8 STM TS-E 45mm f/2.8 EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM EF 50mm f/1.4 USM EF 50mm f/1.8 STM TS-E 50mm f/2.8L Macro EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L USM EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS III USM EF 70-200mm f/4 L USM EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 IS II USM EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM EF 85mm f/1.8 USM TS-E 90mm f/2.8 TS-E 90mm f/2.8L Macro EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM EF 100mm f/2.8 L Macro IS USM EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II USM EF 135mm f/2 L USM TS-E 135mm f/4L Macro EF 180mm f/3.5 L Macro USM EF 200mm f/2.8 L II USM EF 300mm f/4 L IS USM EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM
£1499 £299 4★ £990 4★ £2799 5★ £2810 4.5★ £2150 £1199 4★ £2920 £940 4★ £795 4★ £220 £478 £500 £740 4★ £2010 £750 4★ £165 4★ £2550 £2300 5★ £1499 £1129 4★ £479 3.5★ £730 3.5★ £3290 £399 £799 £1799 5★ £230 £1200 £1910 £450 5★ £130 5★ £2500 £265 £540 4★ £1250 £1540 £2150 £790 £1300 £499 4.5★ £1600 5★ £300 £2640 4★ £1570 5★ £470 5★ £1670 £2500 £650 4★ £1060 5★ £1999 4.5★ £1360 £2500 £1870 £960 £1740 £1660
Impressive-looking fisheye zoom lens from Canon • • 15 n/a 78.5 83 540 A superb ultra-wideangle that’s a must-have for anyone shooting landscapes and cityscapes • • 22 67 74.6 72 240 A good performer, with solid MTF curves and minimal chromatic aberration • 24 77 83.5 89.8 385 Long-awaited by Canon full-frame users, this is the world’s widest-angle rectilinear zoom lens • • 28 n/a 108 132 1180 Impressive resolution at f/8 but less so wide open • • 20 n/a 80 94 645 Revamped wideangle zoom includes new optics in a weather-sealed lens barrel • • 28 82 89.5 127.5 790 Versatile and with a useful IS system, this is a very good ultra-wideangle zoom for full-frame cameras • • • 28 77 82.6 112.8 615 Tilt-and-shift optic with independent tilt-and-shift rotation and redesigned coatings • • 25 77 88.9 106.9 820 Designed to match the needs of demanding professionals – and does so with ease • • 28 77 83.5 96.8 500 Very capable lens with three-stop image stabilisation, Super Spectra coating and a circular aperture • • 35 77 83.5 110.6 645 Latest standard zoom for Canon’s APS-C EOS DSLRs, with compact design and updated optics • • 25 58 66.5 61.8 215 Uses stepper motor for silent and fast autofocus that’s also well suited to video work • • 39 67 76.6 96 480 Versatile zoom with new Nano USM focus technology and optional power zoom adapter • • 39 67 77.4 96 515 Automatic panning detection (for image stabilisation) and a useful 11x zoom range • • 45 72 78.6 102 595 Subwavelength structure coating, together with UD and aspherical elements • • 25 77 83.5 86.9 650 Small wideangle optic with image stabilisation • • • 20 58 68.4 55.7 280 Bargain price, tiny carry-everywhere size and a highly competent imaging performance • 16 52 68.2 22.8 125 Tilt-and-shift optic with independent tilt-and-shift rotation and redesigned coatings • • 21 82 88.5 106.9 780 Professional-quality standard zoom lens with a fast aperture • • 38 82 88.5 113 805 L-series zoom said to be compact, portable and aimed at both professionals and amateurs • • • 38 77 83.4 93 600 Reworked workhorse zoom for full-frame cameras uses an all-new optical design • • • 45 77 83.5 118 795 A versatile standard zoom lens that’s an ideal route into full-frame photography • • • 40 77 83.4 104 525 Lightweight and inexpensive lens, with a single aspherical element • • • 30 52 67.4 42.5 185 L-series optic with expansive range, image stabilisation and a circular aperture • • • 70 77 92 184 1670 Features an innovative built-in dual-LED light for close-up shooting • • 13 49 69.2 55.8 190 First 35mm prime from Canon to feature an optical stabilisation system • • • 24 67 62.6 77.9 335 An outstanding addition to the L-series line-up • • 28 72 80.4 104.4 760 A portable and versatile compact pancake lens. A fast maximum aperture enables low-light shooting • 30 52 68.2 22.8 130 Tilt-and-shift lens designed for studio product photography • • 40 72 81 90.1 645 Very wide maximum aperture and Super Spectra coatings, and a circular aperture • • 45 72 85.8 65.5 580 Brilliant performer, with a highly consistent set of MTF curves. AF motor is a tad noisy, though • • 45 58 73.8 50.5 290 Lightest EF lens in the range, with wide maximum aperture and a Micro Motor • • 35 49 69.2 39.3 130 One of a trio of tilt-and-shift macro lenses, this replaces the TS-E 45mm f/2.8 • • 27 77 86.9 114.9 945 A compact telephoto lens featuring smooth, quiet STM focusing when shooting movies • • 110 58 70 111.2 375 Great build and optical quality, with fast, accurate and near-silent focusing • 20 52 73 69.8 335 Macro lens designed to achieve a magnification greater than 1x without accessories • • 24 58 81 98 710 Non-stabilised L-series optic, with rear focusing and four UD elements • • 150 77 84.6 193.6 1310 Updates Canon’s excellent pro workhorse zoom with water-repellent fluorine coatings • • • 120 77 88.8 199 1480 A cheaper L-series alternative to the f/2.8 versions available • • 120 67 76 172 705 Upgraded premium telephoto zoom promises five stops of image stabilisation • • • 100 72 80 176 780 Mid-range telephoto zoom offers really good optics and fast, silent autofocus • • • 120 67 80 145.5 710 An L-series lens with a highly durable outer shell • • • 120 67 89 143 1050 Essentially the same lens as the 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM but with no USM • • 150 58 71 122 480 A well-crafted lens, with fast and quiet AF with good vignetting and distortion control • • 95 72 91.5 84.0 1025 Sublime, highly desirable portrait lens combines large aperture and optical image stabilisation • • • 85 77 88.6 105.4 950 Non-rotating front ring thanks to rear-focusing system, as well as USM • • 85 58 75 71.5 425 Said to be the world’s first 35mm-format telephoto lens with tilt-and-shift movements • • 50 58 73.6 88 565 One of a trio of tilt-and-shift macro lenses, this replaces the TS-E 90mm f/2.8 • • 39 77 86.9 116.5 915 A solid performer, but weak at f/2.8 (which is potentially good for portraits) • • 31 58 79 119 600 Stunning MTF figures from this pro-grade macro optic • • • 30 67 77.7 123 625 L-series construction and optics, including fluorite and Super UD elements • • • 98 77 94 193 1640 L-series construction with two UD elements and wide maximum aperture • • 90 72 82.5 112 750 One of a trio of tilt-and-shift macro lenses, with 1:2 magnification • • 49 82 88.5 139.1 1110 L-series macro lens with inner focusing system and USM technology • • 48 72 82.5 186.6 1090 Two UD elements and a rear-focusing system in this L-series optic • • 150 72 83.2 136.2 765 Two-stop image stabilisation with separate mode for panning moving subjects • • • 150 77 90 221 1190 Super UD and UD elements, as well as a detachable tripod mount and built-in hood • • 350 77 90 256.5 1250
£899 £449 4★ £1249 £1599 £399 £319 3.5★ £469 £649 4★
Ultra-wideangle lens for full-frame DSLRs that exhibits minimal distortion • Unusual wideangle lens that offers 1:1 Macro together with vertical shift movements on APS-C cameras • The world’s widest-angle shift lens offers +/-11mm movement in any direction Unique specialist macro lens with submersible front barrel and built-in LED lights Unusual lens designed solely for ultra-close-up shooting, with magnification from 2.5x to 5x With 2:1 Macro, an all-in-one option for normal portrait photography as well as ultra-macro • Full-frame macro lens with twice-life-size magnification and apochromatic design Designed for full-frame DSLRS, and features an apodisation element that renders lovely bokeh •
LAOWA DSLR 12mm f/2.8 Zero D 15mm f/4 1:1 Macro 15mm f/4.5 Zero-D Shift 24mm F14 2x Macro Probe 25mm f/2.8 Ultra Macro 2.5x - 5x 60mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro 100mm f/2.8 2:1 Ultra Macro APO 105mm f/2 (T3.2) STF
• • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • •
18 12 20 47 17.3 18.5 24.7 90
77 77 n/a n/a n/a 62 67 67
74.8 82.8 83.8 64.7 79 103 38 408 65 82 95 70 125 72 98.9 76
609 410 597 474 400 503 638 745
We’ve tried our hardest to ensure that the information in this guide is as complete and accurate as possible. However, some errors will inevitably have crept in along the way: if you spot one, please let us know by emailing email@example.com. Unfortunately we don’t have space to list every single product on the market, so we don’t include the most expensive speciality items. Before making a purchase we advise you to check prices, along with any crucial specifications or requirements, with either a reputable retailer or the manufacturer’s website. 88
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FILTER THREAD (MM)
MIN FOCUS (CM)
SIGMA FULL FRAME
CANON FOUR THIRDS
NIKON DSLR 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5 E ED Fisheye AF-S 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 G VR AF-P DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 G ED AF-S DX 10.5mm f/2.8 G ED DX Fisheye 12-24mm f/4 G ED AF-S DX 14mm f/2.8 D ED AF 14-24mm f/2.8 G ED AF-S 16mm f/2.8 D AF Fisheye 16-35mm f/4 G ED AF-S VR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR AF-S DX 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED VR AF-S DX 17-55mm f/2.8 G ED-IF AF-S DX 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 G ED AF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G AF-P DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G VR AF-P DX 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED VR AF-S DX 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G IF-ED VR II AF-S VR DX 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 G ED VR 19mm f/4 E ED PC 20mm f/1.8 G ED AF-S 20mm f/2.8 D AF 24mm f/2.8 D AF 24mm f/1.4 G ED AF-S 24mm f/1.8 G ED AF-S 24mm f/3.5 D ED PC-E 24-70mm f/2.8 G ED AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8 E ED VR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 G ED VR 24-120mm f/4 G ED AF-S VR 28mm f/1.4 E ED AF-S 28mm f/1.8 G ED AF-S 28mm f/2.8 D AF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED AF-S VR 35mm f/1.8 G AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8 G ED AF-S 35mm f/2 D AF 35mm f/1.4 G ED AF-S 40mm f/2.8 G AF-S DX Micro 45mm PC-E f/2.8 D ED Micro 50mm f/1.4 D AF 50mm f/1.4 G AF-S 50mm f/1.8 D AF 50mm f/1.8 G AF-S 58mm f/1.4 G AF-S 60mm f/2.8 D AF Micro 60mm f/2.8 G ED AF-S Micro 70-200mm f/2.8 E FL ED VR AF-S 70-200mm f/4 G ED VR AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 E ED VR AF-P 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 G AF-P DX 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 G VR AF-P DX 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR AF-S 85mm f/3.5 G ED AF-S DX VR 85mm f/1.4 G AF-S 85mm f/1.8 G AF-S 85mm f/2.8D PC-E Micro 105mm f/1.4 E ED AF-S 105mm f/2.8 G AF-S VR II Micro 105mm f/2 D AF DC 135mm f/2 D AF DC 200-500mm f/5.6 E ED VR AF-S 300mm f/4 E PF ED VR AF-S
£1299 £330 3.5★ £834 4★ £678 £1044 4★ £1554 5★ £1670 5★ £762 £1072 5★ £869 4★ £574 4★ £1356 4★ £669 5★ £149 £199 £579 £762 4.5★ £849 £3300 £679 £584 £427 £1990 5★ £629 £1774 £1565 5★ £1849 5★ £520 5★ £1072 5★ £2080 £619 5★ £282 £889 4.5★ £208 5★ £479 £324 3★ £1735 5★ £250 5★ £1393 £292 5★ £376 5★ £135 £200 5★ £1599 4★ £405 5★ £500 £2650 £1180 5★ £750 £300 £350 £1899 5★ £522 £1532 5★ £470 5★ £1299 £2049 £782 4.5★ £980 £1232 £1179 £1230 5★
87-92 BuyingGuideDSLRlenses Mar13 AW.indd 89
Fisheye zoom for full-frame DSLRs that gives a circular view at 8mm and full-frame coverage at 15mm Inexpensive wide zoom for DX DSLRs has effective image stabilisation but rather average optics • MTF performance is good from wide open to f/11, only breaking down past f/22 DX format fisheye lens with Nikon’s Close-Range Correction system and ED glass This venerable optic may be a little weak at f/4, but otherwise it’s a good performer A really nice lens that handles well and offers excellent image quality A remarkable piece of kit, producing sharp images with little chromatic aberration Full-frame fisheye lens with Close-Range Correction system and 25cm focus distance A fantastic lens that deserves to be taken seriously, with very little CA throughout • This new standard zoom for DX-format users is designed as a travel lens for APS-C DSLRs • Boasting Nikon’s second-generation VR II technology and Super Integrated Coating • A higher-quality standard zoom for DX-format DSLRs Wideangle zoom with instant manual-focus override for full-frame DSLRs A compact, lightweight DX-format zoom that’s an ideal walk-around lens A compact, lightweight DX-format zoom lens with Vibration Reduction • A compact and lightweight DX-format zoom, this lens is a great all-rounder • Four-stop VR II system, two ED and three aspherical elements in this DX superzoom lens • New DX-format 16.7x zoom with super-telephoto reach – a compact walk-around lens • Super-wideangle tilt-and-shift lens for architecture and landscape photography A fast FX-format prime lens that’s compact and lightweight Compact wideangle lens with Nikon’s Close-Range Correction system Compact wide lens with Close-Range Correction system Nothing short of stunning. Aside from its high price, there is very little to dislike about this optic Fast FX-format lens that aims to appeal to landscape, interior, architecture and street photographers Perspective Control lens with Nano Crystal Coating and electronic control over aperture An excellent set of MTF curves that show outstanding consistency, easily justifying the price of this lens Nikon’s latest pro-spec standard zoom looks like its best lens yet • FX-format standard zoom with Auto Tripod detection and VR • Constant maximum aperture of f/4 and the addition of VR makes this a superb lens • Boasts a dust- and drip-resistant build for reliable shooting in challenging weather conditions If you crave a wide aperture and prefer a single focal length then this Nikon prime delivers Compact wideangle lens with a minimum focusing distance of 25cm Technical testing shows this zoom to be, as Nikon claims, the ‘ideal walkabout lens’ • Designed for DX-format DSLRs, a great standard prime lens Fast FX-format prime lens with bright f/1.8 aperture. Versatile and lightweight At wide-aperture settings this optic achieves respectable resolution, which decreases with aperture A Nano Crystal-coated lens designed for the FX range A budget-priced macro lens that delivers the goods on multiple fronts Perspective Control (PC-E) standard lens used in specialised fields such as studio and architecture Entry-level prime puts in a fine performance while offering backwards compatibility with AI cameras Internal focusing and superior AF drive makes this a good alternative to the D-series 50mm f/1.4 • Compact, lightweight, affordable prime, will stop down to f/22 A cut-price standard lens for FX shooters or a short telephoto on DX-format DSLRs FX-format full-frame premium prime lens with large f/1.4 aperture Nikon’s most compact Micro lens, with Close Range Correction (CRC) system Micro lens with 1:1 reproduction ratio, as well as a Silent Wave Motor and Super ED glass Latest update to Nikon’s pro workhorse fast telephoto zoom brings electronic aperture control • Latest 70-200mm offers third-generation VR and weight savings over its more expensive f/2.8 cousin • Nikon’s first full-frame lens to feature a stepper motor for autofocus • Budget telephoto zoom with stepper motor for AF and space-saving collapsible design Adds extremely useful optical stabilisation to Nikon’s budget compact telephoto • Successor to the 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR, focusing is excellent at tracking fast-moving subjects • DX-format Micro lens with a 1:1 reproduction ratio, VR II system and ED glass • Fast mid-tele lens with an internal focusing system and rounded diaphragm Rear-focusing system and distance window in this medium telephoto lens Perspective Control (PC-E) telephoto, designed to be ideal for portraits and product photography A 105mm FX-format prime lens with bright f/1.4 aperture, ideal for portraiture A very sharp lens, with swift and quiet focusing and consistent MFT results • A portrait lens with defocus control Defocus-Image Control and a rounded diaphragm in this telephoto optic A super-telephoto zoom lens compatible with Nikon FX-format DSLR cameras • Light, compact AF-S full-frame telephoto lens with ED glass elements •
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16 n/a 22 72 24 77 14 n/a 30 77 20 n/a 28 n/a 25 n/a 28 77 35 72 38 67 36 77 28 77 25 55 25 55 45 67 50 72 48 67 25 n/a 20 77 25 62 30 52 25 77 23 72 21 77 38 77 38 82 38 72 45 77 28 77 25 67 25 52 50 77 30 52 25 58 25 52 30 67 20 52 25 77 45 52 45 58 45 52 45 58 58 72 22 62 18 62 110 77 1000 67 1200 67 110 58 110 58 175 77 28 52 85 77 80 67 39 77 100 82 31 62 90 72 110 72 220 95 140 77
77.5 77 82.5 63 82.5 87 98 63 82.5 80 72 85.5 83 64.5 64.5 78 77 78.5 89 82.5 69 64.5 83 77.5 82.5 83 88 78 84 83 73 65 83 70 72 64.5 83 68.5 82.5 64.5 73.5 63 72 85 70 73 88.5 78 80.5 72 72 95.5 73 86.5 80 83.5 94.5 83 79 79 108 89
83 73 87 62.5 90 86.5 131.5 57 125 85.5 85 110.5 95 62.5 62.5 97 96.5 99 124 80.5 42.5 46 88.5 83 108 133 154.5 82 103 100.5 80 44.5 114 52.5 71.5 43.5 89.5 64.5 112 42.5 54 39 52.5 70 74.5 89 202.5 178.5 146 125 125 203 98.5 84 73 107 106 116 111 120 267.5 147.5
485 230 460 300 485 670 970 290 685 480 485 755 385 195 205 490 560 550 885 335 270 270 620 355 730 900 1070 465 710 645 330 205 800 200 305 205 600 235 740 230 280 160 185 385 440 425 1430 850 680 400 415 1570 355 595 350 635 985 720 640 815 2300 755 89
FILTER THREAD (MM)
MIN FOCUS (CM)
SIGMA FULL FRAME
CANON FOUR THIRDS
PENTAX DSLR DA 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 HD Fisheye ED DA* 11-18mmF2.8 ED DC AW HD DA 12-24mm f/4 smc ED AL IF DA 15mm f/4 smc ED AL Limited FA 15-30mm f/2.8 ED SM WR HD DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 smc ED AL IF SDM DA 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 ED DC WR DA 17-70mm f/4 smc AL IF SDM DA 18-50mm f/4-5.6 DC WR RE DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 smc AL WR DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 DA ED DC WR DA 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 smc ED SDM DA 20-40mm f/2.8-4 ED Limited DC WR DA 21mm f/3.2 smc AL Limited FA 24-70mm f/2.8 ED SDM WR FA 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6 ED DC HD FA 31mm f/1.8 smc AL Limited NEW HD-FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited FA 35mm f/2 HD DA 35mm f/2.8 smc Macro DA 35mm f/2.4 smc DS AL DA 40mm f/2.8 smc Limited FA 43mm f/1.9 smc Limited NEW HD-FA 43mm f/1.9 Limited FA* 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW HD FA 50mm f/1.4 smc DA 50mm f/1.8 smc DA D-FA 50mm f/2.8 smc Macro DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 smc ED IF SDM DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 smc ED WR DA* 55mm f/1.4 smc SDM DA 55-300mm f/4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED WR DA 60-250mm f/4 smc ED IF SDM DA 70mm f/2.4 smc AL Limited D-FA* 70-200mm f/2.8 ED DC AW D-FA 70-210mm F4 ED SDM WR FA 77mm f/1.8 smc Limited NEW HD-FA 77mm f/1.8 Limited D FA* 85mm f/1.4 SDM AW D-FA 100mm f/2.8 Macro WR FA 150-450mm f/4.5-5.6 ED DC AW DA* 200mm f/2.8 smc ED IF SDM DA* 300mm f/4 smc ED IF SDM
£499 £1399 £1050 £820 £1500 £950 £600 £630 £230 £229 £600 £699 £829 £600 £1149 £549 £1149 £1100 £399 £640 £180 £450 £729 £650 £1200 £399 £249 £550 £1200 £210 £800 £400 £399 £1450 £600 £1850 £1199 £1050 £800 £1999 £680 £2000 £1000 £1300
4★ 4★ 4.5★
Updated fisheye zoom lens gains refreshed cosmetic design, new optical coatings and removable hood Premium fast ultra-wideangle zoom, includes all-weather construction and innovative focus clamp Two aspherical elements, ELD glass and a constant aperture of f/4 in this wide zoom Limited-edition lens with hybrid aspherical and extra-low-dispersion elements Weather-resistant ultra-wideangle zoom with fast maximum aperture and fixed petal-type hood A nice balance and robust feel, but poor sharpness at f/2.8 (which significantly improves from f/4 onwards) Weather-resistant, this zoom features a round-shaped diaphragm to produce beautiful bokeh Featuring Pentax’s Supersonic Direct-drive (SDM) focusing system Super-thin standard zoom that’s weather-resistant and features a round-shaped diaphragm A weather-resistant construction and an aspherical element, as well as SP coating A weather-resistant mid-range zoom lens 15x superzoom for company’s K-mount DSLRs featuring two extra-low-dispersion (ED) elements With state-of-the-art HD coating, a completely round-shaped diaphragm, and weather resistant This limited-edition optic offers a floating element for extra-close focusing Full-frame-compatible premium standard zoom – includes a HD coating to minimise flare and ghosting Standard zoom lens for the K-1 full-frame DSLR that’s much more affordable than the 24-70mm f/2.8 Premium aluminium-bodied wideangle prime boasts full-frame compatibility and an aperture ring Updated version of classic fast wideangle prime with new HD and fluorine coatings Latest version of venerable Pentax fast prime features a multi-layer HD coating Despite slight edge softness, this lens performs excellently and is a pleasure to use A budget-priced prime lens for beginners Pancake lens with SMC coating and Quick Shift focusing system Classic full-frame fast prime with perfect focal length for everyday use Revised standard prime for full-frame cameras gains improved coatings for higher contrast Premium fast prime with dustproof, weather-resistant design and electromagnetic aperture Compact fast prime with film-era double-Gauss optics and traditional aperture ring Affordable short telephoto lens ideal for portraits Macro lens capable of 1:1 reproduction and with a Quick Shift focus mechanism Constant f/2.8 aperture; well suited to portraiture and mid-range action subjects Weather-resistant construction, Quick Shift focus system and an SP coating Despite questions about the particular sample tested, this lens scores highly Compact weather resistant telephoto zoom has video-friendly fast and silent autofocus motor Weatherproof HD telephoto lens featuring quick shift focusing system With a constant f/4 aperture and an ultrasonic motor for speedy focusing Medium telephoto lens with an aluminium construction and a Super Protect coating Fast telephoto zoom in Pentax’s high-performance Star (*) series developed for best image rendition Compact telephoto zoom with constant f/4 maximum aperture and weather-resistant construction With Pentax’s Fixed Rear Element Extension focusing system for ‘sharp, crisp images’ Renewed version of short telephoto portrait prime that features a traditional aperture ring Upcoming large-aperture short telephoto prime promises premium optics and weather-sealing Street price makes this something of a bargain for a true macro offering full-frame coverage Super-telephoto lens with weather resistance, designed to produce extra-sharp, high-contrast images SDM focusing system on the inside, and dirtproof and splashproof on the outside This tele optic promises ultrasonic focus and high image quality thanks to ED glass
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14 30 30 18 28 30 35 28 30 25 40 49 28 20 38 50 30 30 30 14 30 40 45 45 40 45 45 19 100 n/a 45 95 140 110 70 120 95 70 70 85 30 200 120 140
n/a 82 77 49 n/a 77 72 67 58 52 62 62 55 49 82 62 58 58 49 49 49 49 49 49 72 49 52 49 67 49 58 58 58 67 49 77 67 49 49 82 49 86 77 77
70 90 83.5 39.5 98.5 98.5 78 75 71 68.5 73 76 68.5 63 109.5 73 68.5 69 64 46.5 63 63 64 64 80 63.5 38.5 60 76.5 69 70.5 76.5 71 167.5 63 91.5 78.5 48 48 95 65 241.5 83 83
67.5 100 87.5 63 143.5 84 94 93.5 41 67.5 76 89 71 25 88.5 86.5 65 65 44.5 63 45 15 27 27 106 38 63 67.5 136 79.5 66 89 111.5 82 26 203 175 64 64 123.5 80.5 95 134 184
317 704 430 212 1040 600 488 485 158 230 405 453 283 140 787 440 345 341 193 215 124 90 155 155 910 220 122 265 765 285 375 442 466 1040 130 1755 819 270 270 1255 340 2000 825 1070
30 26 24 20 28 20 28 28 20 20
n/a 75 77.8 n/a 95 98.1 n/a 86 77 n/a 77.3 70.2 n/a 95 109.4 n/a 90.5 95.6 n/a 87 94 n/a 87 96.3 n/a 89.4 83 77 83 113.2
417 731 580 500 791 485 552 641 583 520
ALL PRICES ARE RRPS, STREET PRICES MAY VARY
SAMYANG DSLR 8mm f/3.5 UMC Fisheye CS II 10mm f/3.5 XP MF 10mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS CS 12mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS Fisheye 14mm f/2.4 XP MF AF 14mm f/2.8 14mm f/2.8 ED UMC 14mm f/2.8 MF Mk II 16mm f/2.0 ED AS UMC CS 20mm f/1.8 ED AS UMC
£274 £950 £429 £430 £899 £649 £363 £439 £389 £430
Wideangle fisheye lens designed for digital reflex cameras with APS-C sensors World’s widest-angle rectilinear lens promises 130° field of view with minimal distortion Features a nano crystal anti-reflection coating system and embedded lens hood Fisheye ultra wideangle prime lens for full-frame DSLRs High-end ultra-wideangle prime with premium optics and large maximum aperture 4.5★ Samyang’s first AF SLR lens features very decent image quality and weather-sealed construction Ultra-wideangle manual-focus lens; bulb-like front element means no filters can be used Updated manual focus prime with weather-sealing and de-clickable aperture ring Fast wideangle lens for digital reflex cameras fitted with APS-C sensors Large-aperture manual focus wideangle lens for full-frame DSLRs
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A DSLR or CSC is nothing without a lens attached! Visit Park Cameras where you’ll find hundreds of lenses available for a wide range of uses, for a variety of budgets.
www.parkcameras.com 01444 23 70 60 90
87-92 BuyingGuideDSLRlenses Mar13 AW.indd 90
• Canon • Fujifilm • Nikon • Olympus • Panasonic • Pentax • Samyang • Sigma • Sony • Tamron • Viltrox • Voigtlander • Zeiss www.amateurphotographer.co.uk
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
24 months 0% finance available! See website to learn more. Offer end
out a lens attached! nd hundreds of lenses or a variety of budgets.
on • Olympus myang • Sigma Voigtlander • Zeiss
24mm f/1.4 AS UMC 24mm f/3.5 ED AS UMS TS 35mm f/1.2 XP MF 35mm f/1.4 AS UMC 50mm f/1.2 XP MF 50mm f/1.4 AS UMC 85mm f/1.2 XP MF AF 85mm f/1.4 85mm f/1.4 IF MC 85mm f/1.4 MF Mk II 100mm f/2.8 ED UMC Macro 135mm f/2 ED UMC
£499 £949 £719 £369 £639 £299 £899 £599 £239 £389 £389 £399
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FILTER THREAD (MM)
Fast ultra-wideangle manual-focus lens comprising 13 elements arranged in 12 groups 3★ Tilt-and-shift wideangle lens for a fraction of the price of Canon and Nikon’s offerings Ultra-large aperture, manual focus prime with premium optics 4.5★ While manual focus only, this prime impressed us in real-world use, making it something of a bargain Large aperture manual-focus prime promises 50MP resolution Manual-focus fast standard prime for full-frame DSLRs High-end manual focus lens sports an impressively fast maximum aperture 3★ Autofocus fast short telephoto portrait lens for use on Canon or Nikon full-frame DSLRs Short fast telephoto prime, manual focus, aimed at portrait photographers Evolved large-aperture manual focus telephoto is weather-sealed and the aperture can be de-clicked Full-frame compatible, the Samyang 100mm is a true Macro lens offering 1:1 magnification Manual focus portrait prime has fast aperture for subject isolation and background blur
MIN FOCUS (CM)
SIGMA FULL FRAME
CANON FOUR THIRDS
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25 20 34 30 45 45 80 90 100 110 30 80
77 95 116 680 82 86 110.5 680 86 93 117.4 1106 77 83 111 660 86 93 117.4 1200 77 74.7 81.6 575 86 93 98.4 1050g 77 88 72 485 72 78 72.2 513 72 78 72.2 541 67 72.5 123.1 720 77 82 122 830
13 24 24 24 27 26 15 28 22 28 45 39 27.6 25 28 37 45 28 30 30 40 40 37.4 60 26 120 85 160 100 31.2 150 87.5 280 260
n/a 72 82 n/a n/a n/a n/a 77 72 72 45 72 n/a 77 82 82 82 77 62 67 82 77 82 105 49 82 86 67 105 62 105 82 95 105
73.5 75 87.3 101 95.4 96.4 73.5 83.5 79 78 79 79 90.7 85 87.6 88 89 82.8 63.3 77 87.8 85.4 93.5 120.4 71 94.2 95 86.4 115.9 78 124 91.4 105 121
68.6 105.7 88.2 132 126 135.1 65 92 82 121 100 101.5 129.8 90.2 122.7 107.6 109 107.1 74.2 94 131 100 170.7 268.9 106 202.9 126 182.3 131.5 126.4 291 114.9 260.1 290.2
400 555 520 1150 1170 1150 370 565 470 810 610 585 950 665 940 1020 885 865 435 665 1200 815 1490 2700 515 1805 1130 1160 1645 725 3390 1130 1930 2860
25 20 28 100 35 30 45 45 • 25
77 n/a 77 72 62 55 62 62 72
83 75 83 81 72 72 76 75 78
80.5 66.5 114 88 83 69 86 86 53.5
360 400 900 577 445 222 398 440 285
SIGMA DSLR 8mm f/3.5 EX DG 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM | A 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM | A 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM | A 15mm f/2.8 EX DG 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM | A 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM | A 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM | A 28mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM | A 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM | A 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM | S 70mm f/2.8 DG Macro | A 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM | S 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM | C 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM | A 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro 120-300mm f/2.8 DG HSM | S 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM | A 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM | C 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM | S
£799 £800 £650 £1649 £1679 £1399 £629 £689 £449 £799 £449 £499 £799 £799 £949 £1399 £849 £1099 £360 £799 £1100 £849 £829 £1899 £499 £1349 £1199 £799 £1499 £649 £3599 £1399 £1199 £1599
4★ 5★ 5★ 5★ 4★
5★ 4★ 5★ 5★ 5★ 5★ 4.5★ 4.5★ 5★ 5★ 5★ 5★
5★ 5★ 4.5★ 4.5★ 4.5★ 5★
The world’s only 8mm lens equipped with autofocus also boasts SLD glass Excellent performance at 8mm, which sadly drops at the 16mm end An absolute gem of a lens that deserves a place on every photographer’s wish list Premium full-frame wideangle zoom designed to have minimal distortion in its wideangle imagery World’s first f/1.8 ultra-wideangle prime lens for full-frame DSLRs Pro-specification fast ultra-wide prime for full-frame DSLRs includes weather-sealed construction This fisheye optic puts in a very solid performance – not to be dismissed as a gimmick! FLD and aspherical elements, a constant f/2.8 aperture and Optical Stabilisation Compact redesign of this well-received lens launches the ‘Contemporary’ range Said to be the world’s first constant f/1.8 zoom; DoF equivalent of constant f/2.7 on full frame Excellent resolution and consistent performance, but control over CA could be a little better Compact and portable high ratio zoom lens offering enhanced features to make it the ideal all-in-one lens An outstanding wideangle fixed-focal-length lens The latest addition to Sigma’s ‘Art’ line of high-quality fast primes The world’s first large-aperture full-frame zoom offering a wide aperture of f/2 throughout the zoom range Latest premium fast standard zoom for full frame includes optical image stabilisation Serious full-frame alternative to own-brand lenses at a lower price, with no compromises in the build High-quality, weathersealed fast wideangle prime for full-frame DSLRs Unique fast prime for APS-C DSLRs that gives 45mm equivalent ‘normal’ angle of view Superb large-aperture prime; first lens in company’s ‘Art’ series Large and heavy prime promising natural-looking perspective and top-quality optics This lens has a unique design that pays off in truly excellent image quality This APS-C-format lens aims to cover the focal lengths of three prime lenses in one Weathersealed 10x zoom encompasses huge range from standard to super-telephoto The first macro lens in Sigma’s Art line-up features an extending-barrel focus-by-wire design Superb large-aperture telephoto zoom shows high sharpness and minimal chromatic aberration Optically stunning fast short telephoto prime is the ultimate portrait lens for DSLR users Relatively lightweight telezoom comes with weather-sealing and choice of push-pull or twist zoom Sigma’s ‘bokeh monster’ super-fast portrait lens is weathersealed and comes with a tripod foot An optically stabilised macro lens, this super-sharp lens is one of our favourites First lens in company’s ‘Sports’ series; switch enables adjustment of both focus speed and focus limiter Super-fast portrait prime designed to provide sufficient resolution for 50MP DSLRs Budget ‘Contemporary’ version of Sigma’s long-range telephoto zoom is smaller and lighter This portable, high-performance telephoto zoom from Sigma’s Sports line is dust and splashproof
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SONY DSLR 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 DT 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye 16-35mm f/2.8 ZA SSM II T* 16-50mm f/2.8 SSM 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 ZA T* 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 DT SAM II 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 DT SAM 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DT 20mm f/2.8
£609 £709 £1999 £569 £709 £159 £429 £559 £559
3★ 4.5★ 4★ 4.5★
A solid overall performance that simply fails to be outstanding in any way Fisheye lens with a close focusing distance of 20cm and a 180° angle of view High-end Zeiss wideangle zoom lens ideal for full-frame Alpha DSLRs and SLTs Bright short-range telephoto lens Carl Zeiss standard zoom lens Basic kit zoom for Sony’s Apha mount SLT cameras A versatile zoom with Direct Manual Focus Good overall, but performance dips at longer focal lengths Wideangle prime lens with rear focusing mechanism and focus range limiter
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
f/2.8L IS III USM
24 months 0% finance
24 months 0% finance available! See website to learn more. Offer ends 30.05.2021
24 months 0% finance available! See website to learn more. Offer ends 30.05.2021
87-92 BuyingGuideDSLRlenses Mar13 AW.indd 91
Canon EF 70-200mm
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£450 CASHBACK on selected Canon cameras this Autumn!
FILTER THREAD (MM)
MIN FOCUS (CM)
SIGMA FULL FRAME
CANON FOUR THIRDS
24mm f/2 ZA SSM T* 24-70mm f/2.8 ZA SSM II T* 28-75mm f/2.8 SAM 30mm f/2.8 DT SAM Macro 35mm f/1.4 G 35mm f/1.8 DT SAM 50mm f/1.8 DT SAM 50mm f/1.4 50mm f/1.4 ZA SSM 50mm f/2.8 Macro 55-200mm f/4-5.6 DT SAM 55-300mm f/4.5–5.6 DT SAM 70-200mm f/2.8 G SSM II 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G SSM 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM II 85mm f/1.4 ZA Planar T* 85mm f/2.8 SAM 100mm f/2.8 Macro 135mm f/1.8 ZA Sonnar T* 135mm f/2.8 STF
£1119 £1899 5★ £709 £179 4★ £1369 £179 £159 4.5★ £369 5★ £1300 4★ £529 £219 £309 £2799 £869 3.5★ £1799 £1369 £219 £659 £1429 £1119
An impressively bright wideangle Carl Zeiss lens • • 19 72 78 76 555 Carl Zeiss mid-range zoom lens with superb optics ideal for full-frame Alpha DSLRs • • 34 77 83 111 955 A constant f/2.8 aperture and a Smooth Autofocus Motor (SAM) in this standard zoom • • 38 67 77.5 94 565 Macro lens designed for digital with 1:1 magnification and Smooth Autofocus Motor • 12 49 70 45 150 With an equivalent focal length of 52.5mm, a wide aperture and aspherical glass • • 30 55 69 76 510 Budget-price indoor portrait lens • 23 55 70 52 170 A very useful lens that performs well and carries a rock-bottom price tag • 34 49 70 45 170 While this lens performs well overall, performance at f/1.4 could be better • • 45 55 65.5 43 220 Carl Zeiss design said to be ideal for quality-critical portraiture and low-light shooting • • 45 72 81 71.5 518 A macro lens with a floating lens element • • 20 55 71.5 60 295 Designed for cropped-sensor cameras, with a Smooth Autofocus Motor • 95 55 71.5 85 305 Compact, lightweight telephoto zoom offering smooth, silent operation • 140 62 77 116.5 460 High-performance G Series telephoto zoom lens • • 120 77 87 196.5 1340 G-series lens with ED elements, Super Sonic wave Motor and a circular aperture • • 120 62 82.5 135.5 760 Redesign of original features a new LSI drive circuit and promises faster autofocus • • 150 77 95 196 1500 Fixed-focal-length lens aimed at indoor portraiture • • 85 72 81.5 72.5 560 A light, low-price portraiture lens • • 60 55 70 52 175 Macro lens with circular aperture, double floating element and wide aperture • • 35 55 75 98.5 505 A bright, Carl Zeiss portrait telephoto lens • • 72 77 84 115 1004 Telephoto lens fitted with apodisation element to give attractive defocus effects • • 87 80 80 99 730
£580 4.5★ £1279 £600 4★ £629 4★ £541 4.5★ £169 4★ £650 4★ £1249 £460 £529 £930 £580 4.5★ £799 £1350 5★ £699 4.5★ £300 4★ £170 3.5★ £749 5★ £470 4★ £579 £789 5★ £1340 £1150 4★
Wideangle zoom of APS-C with dust and splashproofing and optical stabilisation • Second-generation image-stabilised fast wide zoom includes weather-sealing and faster AF • Versatile mega-zoom, a very good all-in-one solution, as long as you won’t need to enlarge to A2 size • • Most compact and lightest full-frame ultra-wideangle zoom in its class Very strong performance at longer focal lengths but weaker at the other end • Lightweight all-in-one lens for APS-C DSLRs with Vibration Compensation • • The longest-ranging telephoto zoom yet made turns in a surprisingly decent performance • Upgraded fast zoom with improved image stabilisation and moisture-resistant construction • Standard zoom with constant f/2.8 aperture and minimum focusing distance of 33cm • A new, full-frame, high-power zoom incorporating PZD (Piezo Drive) • • Premium large-aperture prime with moisture-resistant construction, billed as Tamron’s best-ever lens Moderately wide prime combines ultrasonic focusing, image stabilisation and a fast aperture • • Unusual image-stabilised full-frame zoom designed for portraits, with large maximum aperture • Excellent telephoto zoom with updated autofocus and image stabilisation plus sealed construction • Lightweight telezoom promises high optical performance, image stabilisation and weather-sealing • Ultrasonic Silent Drive (USD) technology for focusing and Vibration Compensation • • Low-dispersion glass and compatible with both full-frame and cropped-sensor DSLRs • The first full-frame 85mm f/1.8 lens with image stabilisation, that’s also moisture resistant • • A very nice macro lens that is capable of producing some fine images • Redesign of the 90mm f/2.8 SP AF Di Macro; comes with vibration compensation • • Relatively compact and lightweight telephoto zoom with moisture-resistant construction • Updated version of Tamron’s popular long telezoom • • Longest focal length of any affordable enthusiast zoom on the market and produces excellent results • •
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24 77 28 n/a 39 67 28 77 29 72 49 62 45 72 38 82 33 67 49 67 30 72 20 67 45 77 95 77 95 67 150 62 95 62 80 67 29 55 30 58 150 67 220 95 270 95
£449 £499 4★ £529 £849 £699 4★ £900 £360 4★
Gains a new waterproof top coating for the front element and updated cosmetic design Compact, ultra-wideangle lens with a fast maximum aperture and decent optical performance Replacement for 12-24mm f/4 wideangle zoom; for Nikon DX DSLRs Wideangle zoom with super-fast, super-bright, constant f/2 aperture for shooting in very low light This large-aperture wide zoom for full-frame DSLRs is an updated version of the AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 Premium fast prime designed for high-resolution DSLRs, with dust and weather-resistant construction Some weaknesses wide open, but reasonable MTF curves make this a decent optic
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30 28 25 28 28 40 30
£2329 £1999 £1299 £1999 5★ £1699 £829 £559 £949 5★ £949 £989 £1379 5★ £1299 £1899
This super-wideangle lens has an angle of view of 110° and uses an advanced retrofocus design Compact super-wideangle lens with premium optics including a floating focus system for close-ups Premium wideangle lens with complex optics designed to be free of distortion Optically excellent, large-aperture manual focus wideangle lens with weather-sealed construction Large aperture, premium-quality manual-focus prime with weather-sealed construction Compact, moderate wideangle manual focus prime Classic double-Gauss design manual focus standard prime for full-frame SLRs An exceptionally good lens offering sharpness, detail, clean edges and a great user experience Manual-focus macro lens with half-life-size magnification and stunning optics Classic portrait prime designed to give smooth, rounded bokeh effects Fast 85mm manual-focus prime lens that’s perfect for portraiture A manual-focus macro lens with absolutely superb optics and half-life-size reproduction Telephoto lens with a large aperture and smooth bokeh, ideal for medium-distance portrait photography
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25 25 22 25 30 30 45 45 24 100 80 88 80
TAMRON DSLR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD 15-30mm f/2.8 SP Di VC USD G2 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD 17-50mm f/2.8 SP AF XR Di II VC LD Asph IF 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 AF Di II VC 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD 24-70mm f/2.8 SP Di VC USD G2 28-75mm f/2.8 SP AF XR Di LD Asph IF Macro 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD 35mm f/1.4 SP Di USD 35mm f/1.8 SP Di VC USD 35-150mm F2.8-4 Di VC OSD 70-200mm f/2.8 SP Di VC USD G2 70-210mm f/4 Di VC USD 70-300mm f/4-5.6 SP VC USD 70-300mm f/4-5.6 AF Di LD Macro 85mm f/1.8 SP Di VC USD 90mm f/2.8 SP AF Di Macro 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD 150-600mm f/5-6.3 SP Di VC USD G2 150-600mm f/5-6.3 SP VC USD
83.6 98.4 99.5 83.6 79.6 75 79 88.4 73 75 80.9 80.4 84 88 76 81.5 76.6 85 71.5 115 199 108.4 105.6
84.6 145 75 90 94.5 96.6 123.9 111 92 99.5 104.8 80.8 126.8 193.8 176.5 142.7 116.5 91 97 76.4 86.2 260.2 257.8
440 1110 540 460 570 400 710 905 510 540 815 480 796 1500 860 765 435 700 405 550 1135 2010 1951
77 82 77 82 n/a 72 55
84 89 84 89 89 80 73
89 92 90 106 133.5 107.5 95.1
555 560 600 725 940 950 540
95 77 82 82 72 58 58 67 67 72 77 67 77
102.3 90 95.5 95.2 84.8 77 71 82.5 81 78 90 80.5 129
100.2 93 95 123 124.8 83 71 94 75.3 88 113 104 132
947 721 851 1225 1174 702 380 922 730 670 1280 843 1123
TOKINA DSLR ATX-i 11-16mm f/2.8 CF AT-X 11-20mm f/2.8 PRO DX AT-X 12-28mm f/4 PRO DX AT-X 14-20mm f/2 PRO DX Opera 16-28mm f/2.8 FF Opera 50mm f/1.4 FF AT-X 100mm f/2.8 AF PRO D Macro
ALL PRICES ARE RRPS, STREET PRICES MAY VARY
ZEISS DSLR 15mm f/2.8 Milvus 18mm f/2.8 Milvus 21mm f/2.8 Milvus 25mm f/1.4 Milvus 35mm f/1.4 Milvus 35mm f/2 Milvus 50mm f/1.4 Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 Milvus 50mm f/2 Milvus Macro 85mm f/1.4 Planar T* 85mm f/1.4 Milvus 100mm f/2 Milvus Macro 135mm f/2 Milvus 92
87-92 BuyingGuideDSLRlenses Mar13 AW.indd 92
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Surpassing the boundaries of what is possible in making large format images, GFX100S builds on the groundbreaking ideas from the GFX100, with a philosophy of mobility and portability, to create a camera that is positioned to provide you with an opportunity to take large format imagemaking to places it has never been before.
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Peter Dench considers... Studio portrait of Juning, Cebu City, 1953, from the book, Someone Else’s Mother, by Caroline Irby
he photographers I tend to admire most are the ones who do what I don’t and shoot what I can’t. British photographer Caroline Irby is one. Her work came to my attention in 2010 with her first book, A Child From Everywhere, in which she photographed and interviewed children from 185 countries who had migrated to the UK. The images were intimate and humane. This image wasn’t taken by Caroline but is the linchpin of her second book, Someone Else’s Mother (published by Schilt). The studio portrait is Juning, a Filipina woman who lived with Caroline’s family in Hong Kong and London for 22 years working as nanny to her and her elder brother. My childhood impression of nannies was shaped by Julie Andrews. They were white western women and could sing. Nannies were for posh families and posh was as far removed from my family as the thousands of miles that separated Juning from hers. Juning was 13 when this portrait was taken on her first trip away from Bantayan Island where she lived. The eighth of 15 children, she had already put in years of hard work. The tinted cheeks and slender shoulders belie the toil spent working with her fisherman father before school. She wears a Catholic cross – a faith that would guide her to friendships and husbands on the other side of the globe. Her eyes invite you to look straight into her past and hint at the woman she would become. When leaving home for better-paid work abroad became a necessity, with their father absent, Juning left her four children in the care of her mother. Juning would only see them every second year when she returned for holiday. On her first visit home, her youngest child didn’t recognise her. The notion that Juning lived apart from her children is painful for Caroline to imagine. Someone Else’s Mother is her response. It’s not a judgement on her parents’ choice to employ Juning. It tells Juning’s story, those of the children she left behind and Caroline’s own recollections of a childhood spent with their mother. The stories interweave with photographs taken by Caroline on a Rolleiflex during three
visits to Juning’s island, pictures from her father’s albums in which Juning features mainly in the role of nanny, and pictures from Juning’s own albums. ‘I coordinated my most recent visit with her four children, all in their 40s and 50s. Two of them now work abroad themselves. I also took my children and we all spent time together, talked about the childhood
that Juning’s children spent apart from their mother, their experience of her occasional visits home, and the effect of her absence on their lives,’ says Caroline. The resolute portrait of Juning stands framed on Caroline’s desk. The face of one compelling story among millions of Filipinas who’ve had to work abroad to support their families.
Peter Dench is a photographer, writer, curator and presenter based in London. He is one of the co-curators of Photo North in Harrogate and has been exhibited dozens of times. He has published a number of books including The Dench Dozen: Great Britons of Photography Vol 1; Dench Does Dallas; The British Abroad; A&E: Alcohol & England and England Uncensored. Visit peterdench.com 98
98 FinalAnalysis Mar13 JP AD.indd 98
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