Blog - Photography Blog - Anish Patel Photography

Landscape and travel photography blog. Everything from traveling to camera gear.

Antelope Canyon

Sand-Lens

I went to Page, AZ for one real reason - to photograph Antelope Canyon. I got through one morning at Lower Antelope Canyon and having not shot a slot canyon before, there were a ton of mistakes I made that I think other photographers can benefit from knowing.

First, everyone tells you it’s dusty and full of sand and you shouldn’t change lenses if you can. That’s good advice but the duh part of it - that sand will get on your lens and you need to blow it off, kind of eluded me till half way in. The sand added some nice sun flare like parts to some of the pictures, which I had a blast photoshopping out. Takeaway - bring a rocket blower and use it.

Second, pointing the lens straight up in the more open Lower Antelope Canyon will lead to subtle sun flares, where patches of the image will be desaturated. I didn’t notice them in my liveview screen and they really can’t be photoshopped out completely. Takeaway - use your finger to block the very bright spots and later blend the layer in Photoshop.

Third, bring a wide angle zoom lens and maybe a fisheye too. You really will be working in fisheye to 24 mm range, so you can leave everything else at home. I would have loved to take some macro shots but as part of the tour, you’re not going to have the time or space to look for and setup for macro shots. This is specific to Antelope Canyon though, if you go to some of the other less busy ones, go ahead and bring those other lenses.

The other more common tips that plenty of other people have given like, go on the photography tour, only go when it’s a clear sunny day and such should be all adhered too as well.

One last tip that made the whole thing way more enjoyable for me; take a deep breathe, look straight up and pretend you’re the only person there - all the pictures on the internet don’t do you own eyes justice.

Macro Fantastic

I finally got a macro lens a couple of months ago and I’m starting to really like it. Not so much the lens but taking macro shots. Why? Well, it requires not really going anywhere far. All I have to do is find a flower or plant (which they’re plenty of in Atlanta) and start shooting.

Think that's a beetle.

I usually just stroll out a hour or two before sunset and find a flower and start shooting. I haven’t yet had the patience to wait for insects and then hope for a good pose but I have some decent flower shots. Nothing groundbreaking but hey, they didn’t require that much effort.

The reason why I really like it, is that doesn’t really require planning and long car rides and such. So when I’m feeling lazy but bored, it fills a nice gap. Plus, it allows me to take more photographs and learn a couple of things, like you can’t focus stack a flower with any hint of a wind.

 

So what lens have I been using? The continually back-ordered Tokina 100mm f/2.8. It seems pretty sharp to me, though I’m looking at 26 megapixel files, so don’t take my word if you’re using a 50 megapixel Canon behemoth. The Tokina is pretty nicely made, considering the price and I’m glad I didn’t buy the Nikon 105mm f/2.8. Is it also 1:1 magnification (1 inch in real life will be inch on the sensor), which is what swayed me over the older Nikon macro lens.

There are three cheap ways of getting into macro photography:

 

More of your standard flower shot.

I won’t go into which marco lens is the best or best value, but the two above are cheap, good, are 1:1 magnification and have a good working distance, so you don’t have to get super close to your subject and block out all the light.

With the extension tubes you can either go smart (with auto-focus) or dumb (without). I did the “and/or” for the them because there’s nothing stopping you from using them on macro lens! Instead of the 1:1 magnification, you could get 2:1, so 1 inch in real life would be 2 inches on the sensor - welcome to the world of abstract macro photography. Of course you can use the extension tubes on a non-macro lens to get a higher magnification than your normal lens - even if it’s not 1:1, it’s a start and it’s cheap.

An abstract, shallow depht of field macro shot.

Peach tree bloom.

I’m having fun shooting macro and if you haven't started, hopefully I’ve shown you that it doesn't have to be expensive to get going.