Zoom a little more. A zoom lens is a good thing. There are purists. They frown upon anyone using naught but a prime lens. ? that would be a lens with only a single focal length. Ah! I have bias toward iPhone. Well, there are controversies…. I learned long ago that I zoom to compose my shots and give them more emphasis on the subject I am photographing. And in the course of editing I discovered that I cropped many of my photos. So, why not crop by zooming ahead of time? And so I do. I have a 23-200 and an 80-400 zoom lens. I tend to sit at 200 and 400mm for much of the time. ?? it just works out that way. There is no particular reason.

In this instance I chose a random image from the Indian powwow. The need to zoom is derived from the distracting background and my lack of mobility. I was not lazy. It’s just not polite to be walking in front of the audience and blocking someone’s view. I was not a credentialed photographer for the event.

Specifically, zooming closer and eliminating the tents and distracting people in the background would have helped. I was at 110mm out of 400mm. Depth of field did blur the background somewhat. Exposure was good. Focus was good. Technically this image was sound. But I could have done better.

Or, wait for your subject to get closer. Same 110mm zoom, but now the background is less distracting. Better? Both images are sound. There is a choice. I’d go with the second image.


We get bugs. I get bugs. I get to photograph them – a praying mantis and a bumble bee. Fortuitous? Luck? Chance? The opportunity occurs randomly and not frequently.

I go for the dot in the praying mantis eye.

 “A praying mantis has 5 eyes! You would think two would be enough, but not for a hunter like this. Small eyes in the middle of the head are used for detecting light while the big compound eyes are for seeing movement and having depth vision.”

Ok! You learn something new every day. I do not see more than one dot per eye.

Bumble bee?

“A bumblebee is any of over 250 species in the genus Bombus, part of Apidae, one of the bee families.”

I see one type of bumble bee? More? They sting? Nah! I swat them away from me all the time.

The shot? Get in close. Macro lens. Focus. It seems I cannot quite get in close enough. The macro lens gives me plenty of detail. I’m still working on it. The praying mantis sat on my screen for two days. Oh my?!

The bumble bee was one of several buzzing my passion flowers. It was hard to photograph. The bee was buried under the pistil and partially covered. Focus. I tried and got detail of the pollen covered thorax. Depth of field is so shallow with the macro lens. It was hard to get the bee and flower detail in focus simultaneously.

My present goal was to just get in close and focus on the details.


There are options. My macro lens has such a shallow depth of field. Focus is critical. So, what is the interest? – the petal, the stamen/pistil, the water droplets? The answer is that you are looking for the subject to which the eye will notice. Otherwise the image will not work. Water droplets! They arrested my gaze. I shot at least three images and left the rest to the editing. Focus is critical. If you are off (focus), the image is in the discard pile. I liked this image. It was easy to pick it from my options.

Low and Wide Angle

2371 01 MysticGetting low will give you another perspective that is often different. It makes the image stand out among all the others you may have. This means getting the camera to a low angle closer to the ground. The foreground will take a greater dominance. So this won’t work on everything. But wildflowers and rocks near the shore come to mind in images that I have seen. The effect makes the scene have more of a sense of depth. The flip side is that the background ship here is much less important.

Wide Angle

2371 16 Mysticit’s an interesting shot. There are foreground elements and there’s the tall ship in the background. What’s disconcerting is the wide angle distortion. It looks like the tall ship is falling out of the picture toward the back. Somehow in a vertical picture the distortion seems more noticeable. But the shot does stop you for a second look. Here’s an instance where cropping can’t really save you. I like the colors, probably helped by a polarizing filter. I am still a sucker for that brilliant blue cloudless sky. Hey! I tried to get all the elements into the image. Not bad, but it could’ve been better.



Technical: Nikon D90, 1.200 sec, f4, focal length 18

Well you can at least tell that this is a stormy day. The lighting belies the storm. I didn’t check but presume you used fill flash as usual. This helps the exposure. But it takes away the gloomy mood of an impending storm. It’s another decision you make as to whether to get a good exposure or to play to the mood of the day. With all those colorful clothes this would not have been a shot to convert to black and white.


Technical: Nikon D90, 1.200 sec, f4, focal length 18

Hurricane…not so close to the water as it looks! I like the light here…sand…white caps – Susan

Susan, it’s perspective. A photo is a 2D image and depth of field cannot be accurately gauged on a flat image. So yes, the waves looks closer and the effect is nice. There’s not much texture in the sky, but one can’t complain. You have a good shot of the kids. I presume the wind was not to fierce to be a danger.



Technical: Nikon D90, 1/30 sec, f3.5, focal length 18

‘I like the fence framing but I did not focus well and it is blurred a bit!’

This is a shot that makes you pause for a sec. The round fence fools you for a second into believing that this is a fisheye lens effect. The door is nicely framed. It’s a technically okay shot. Susan, there needs to be a stronger image subject. The door… the statue? The fence is a nice touch to use as a frame for your image. You need a main subject. Once again the small f-stop does not give you enough depth of field to focus the fence and the door together. Here it’s not necessary to have the fence in focus.


‘Blurred edges because of electrical boxes but wanted to keep door ajar in photo’

Technical: Nikon D90, 1/30 sec, f4.2, focal length 18

The electrical box is not a bother Susan. It’s at the edge and not really in view. The upper corner is blurred. It is an example of shallow depth of field. The f-stop is 4.2 and not enough to keep focus on the whole gate. You can use this to your advantage. Here it’s a little distracting. The bricks are interesting. The wreathes are interesting. There’s not too much to tie this image together. I’d have focused on the details of the wreathes. Needs…work.