Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Value of Getting Close - Zooms and Teleconverters

Galapágos Tortoise originally uploaded by Cocoabiscuit. Using a zoom or walking close to the item being photographed really works out. The subject of interest is the tortoise, not the background, which was just a dirty enclosure filled with other very similar tortoises. By getting close, you get a much better picture of the textures and colors.
Because getting inside the pen with the tortoises was really discouraged by the folks at the Darwin Research Center (Santa Cruz Island, the Galapágos), I used 3 ways to get closer. The low tech way was to lean as far over the fence as possible. The rest was optical: a zoom lens, in this case a Nikkor 18-20 VR and then to get even closer a teleconverter. I bought a Kenko N-AF 1.4X teleconverter specifically for this trip. It snaps on between the regular lens and the body of the camera. It extends the maximum zoom of the regular lens (200mm) to 340mm. Caveats are that because it is essentially putting a magnifying glass in front of your camera body, it also magnifies light and I had to use exposure control of about 1.5 to compensate and the exif data for the camera won't reflect the increased zoom.

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