Is 20+ frames per second really necessary in wildlife photography?
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Wildlife photographers love mirrorless cameras because many of them offer incredibly fast frame capture rates. I recently got the new Nikon Z9 mirrorless camera, and one of its best features is its ability to shoot RAW at up to 20 frames per second (fps) with no viewfinder blackout. Other mirrorless cameras, like the Sony A1 and Canon R3 offer frame rates as high as 30 fps. The appeal of such fast burst rates for still photography is that these speeds increase the probability that you’ll capture a moment of peak action, or a dynamic animal pose.
The downside to capturing images at these high frame rates is the sheer volume of images you’ll end up with. Not only will you fill your memory cards faster, but you’ll also have to slog through hundreds or even thousands of shots in your triage/culling workflow. Another challenge with setting your camera to high-speed frame advance is that it becomes nearly impossible to fire off a single shot. Even with practice and good shutter release technique, once the camera is set to capture images at greater than 12 fps, shooting individual images is really difficult.
Obviously, there are certain subjects and situations that call for fast burst rates, and for most wildlife photographers, flying birds are most frequently that subject. In most wildlife photography scenarios, super-fast frame rates just lead to lots of redundant images. But when you’re trying to capture flying birds, high frame rates do offer an advantage.
Exploring landscapes and the Milky Way in the Desert Southwest
Last week, I took a quick getaway to eastern Utah with my Image Doctors podcast partner, Rick Walker. Rick and I have been photographing together for years, and we had a fun opportunity to do some night photography in a dark sky location in Utah.
We packed up our gear and made the drive from Colorado Springs to Green River, Utah, where we spent the night. Our plan was to do some location scouting the next morning in Capitol Reef National Park, and then spending the night in a yurt at Goblin Valley State Park.
Capitol Reef National Park
The next morning , we made the 100 mile drive to Capitol Reef, which is a really underrated National Park. While there aren’t the majestic overlooks like you get in some of the other Utah parks, there’s tons of color and textures to be found within and among the rocks there. Conditions were a bit tricky that morning due to the spate of wildfires in California and Arizona, and we quickly realized by about 10am that we were going to be facing a very long day in 100+ degree temperatures if we just hung out until check-in time at Goblin Valley.
Celebrating 10 years of epic landscape photography in South Dakota
The first time I visited Badlands National Park, I was on a week-long photo tour with members of the Nikonians photographic community. It was 2005, and it was my first “real” photo experience with a digital camera, my brand-new Nikon D2x. I had two (!) 4GB memory cards in total, and I still remember the challenge of making the transition from film (fixed ISOs and slow shutter speeds) to digital.
Some lenses change apparent focal length during focus due to their optical design.
Some lenses change their apparent focal length as you move from infinity to near focus. This phenomenon is called “focus breathing.” In the video above, I demonstrate what this looks like using the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G and Nikon 50mm f/1.8S lenses on a Nikon Z7 mirrorless camera.
Pro tips for photographing fall colors and foliage
As summer starts to fade, it’s time to turn our thoughts to the approach of autumn. The smell of pumpkin spice is in the air, and soon the leaves will be turning. If you want to photograph the changing leaves this year, it’s good to have a plan, and have the right approach. Here are my tips for getting outstanding photos of fall colors.