Which lens is best for photowalking?

I get asked this question all the time. Which lens to buy for photo-walking? I don't normally give away trade secrets, but here it is.. It's model number 56-67850..Wait.. I'm of course kidding.  :-) The correct answer of course, is it depends on the type of photowalk your embarking on. If your photowalk is taking you through lots of beautiful vistas and landscapes, a nice wide angle lens would be ideal. On the other hand,  If your photowalk is taking place in more of a urban setting,  then, maybe a longer tele-zoom would suit you better.

For me, I've gotten in the habit of carrying  2 main lens with me on all photowalks. I carry a 24-105mm f/4, and a 70-200mm f/2.8. I find that these two lens are usually more than ample to cover most shooting situations.

Even if you don't own a DSLR, most of today's point and shoot cameras are outfitted with great general purpose lens. My little Canon G9 is outfitted with a 35-210mm lens, which is perfect for photowalking.  Remember, photowalking is about the experience, not how expensive you gear is.

So get out and photowalk this weekend!

If you have a question on photowalking or photography, or would just like to suggest a topic for us to cover, be sure and drop us a line. You can email us at:

Photo Tip of the Day

[tweetmeme]Want to be a better photographer? Get out and shoot. Believe it or not, the more you shoot, better you'll get. Experiment, get creative. Too many of us are just too busy with everyday life, meanwhile were letting life pass us by. It's time to slow down, get out of our cars, take the day off, and go for a photowalk. Photowalking allows you to see the world in a different way. So come on, get out and shoot!

Lens Hoods - Why you need them

  Lens hoods play a very important role, especially in outdoor photography. Despite it's importance, it's still one of the most overlooked items by the average photographer. A lens hoods primary function is to prevent unwanted light from hitting the lens. Without the protection of a lens hood, unwanted side light will hit the lens, reducing contrast, and possibly create nasty lens flare. Lens flare can destroy an otherwise fine photograph.


The lens hoods also serve a second function, that being one of protection. With a lens hood installed you’re less likely to accidentally touch the optics. If you’re photographing small children or animals at close range this will also help you from getting unwanted smudges on the lens, because we all know how much kids and animals love shiny things. 

Now for the downside. Lens hoods are expensive! Each lens has a specific matching lens hood. How expensive you ask? The average cost of a lens hood is generally around $30. That's some very expensive plastic!  

All in all, lens hoods are a vital tool, and worth the investment.

Find the Picture in the Picture

  Photographers take great care to show their photos at there best, and would never think of letting you see a raw unfinished photo. What's  the difference between a snapshot and a masterpiece? Sometimes it's just the ability to see the picture in the picture. Of course I'm talking about photo cropping.

When I decided to write this article, I immediately ran through my photo collection looking for the worst possible photograph that I could find, just to illiterate that even a bad photo can be cropped into a good one.

This is a photograph of my brother on a recent visit.

There's not much right about this photograph, but we can still save it. Let's see, the background is terrible, the left side is dark and under exposed, the right side is just plain boring. The door frame molding is coming directly off my brothers head, I also have a casted shadow onto the background.. What was I thinking!

I wasn't.. I was a normal everyday person, taking a quick snapshot of my brother before he left for LA. Well, when you think about it.. isn't this a typical snapshot we take all the time? Sure it is..


So let's look at this picture and find the picture in the picture. Look at my brother's natural pose, and great smile.  This is a candid for a portrait. Yep! I think I'll crop this photo from a landscape mode to portrait. 










We have uncovered the "picture in the picture"!



Of course we could stop here, but I was still bothered by that background, even through the picture cropped is a vast improvement already. I decided to go one step further, and remove the background using photoshop.


There we are! A everyday snapshot turned into a masterpiece suitable for framing.. :-)

Protect Your Investment

Lenses can be a very expensive investment. Good lenses can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Such a investment is worth protecting. And it's easy to do. Simply by installing a ultra-violet filter (UV filter). A UV filter is a simple piece of glass that screws on to the front of your lens and protects it from scratches, dust, dirt, moisture and fingerprints while reducing unwanted ultra-violet light. Remember, it's far cheaper to replace a scratched filter than your $1000 lens.

When shopping for filters be sure and buy a high quality multi-coated glass. Be sure and stay away from cheap UV filters as cheap plastic filters will degrade your picture quality. One of the best  UV filters is the B+W MRC UV , it's made from high quality glass and I consider this the best UV filter available.

Better Outdoor Portraits

Photographers rarely shoot in the mid-day sun because the sunlight is direct and very harsh, this harsh light, casts very hard shadows. The midday sun comes from too high an angle, to produce a flattering portrait. It causes subjects to squint, and their eyes become lost in deep pockets of shadow.

Try and shoot early morning or late afternoon for your best results.  The light is warmer and softer just after sunrise and just before sunset -- the pros refer this time as 'The Golden Hour'.

If you must shoot a portrait outdoors at high noon, try and find some shaded areas, a trees canopy is nature's perfect umbrella. Have your subject stand in the tree's cover, you get some really nice soft light, and produces a very flattering portrait.

Len's Rules of Photography

You never realize just how many photo opportunities are missed each day, until you start carrying your camera around. Some of my best photographs ever taken were during the course of my everyday life.  I know that carrying a big heavy SLR everywhere isn't always practical. That's why every photographer should at least own one point & shoot camera. Most point & shoots easily fit in your pocket or bag, and are easy to take with you everywhere. I carry my Canon G9 everywhere I go. With your camera in hand, you'll find yourself looking at the world differently. You'll find yourself looking for more photo opportunities, as well as a new appreciation of life and our surroundings. That's where the old wise adage comes from; "Stop and smell the roses."  Len's Rules of Photography

  • Rule #1. Always have your camera with you..
  • Rule #2. Never forget rule #1.