Zooming In

I remember the day I made an amazing discovery about composition on my adventure in photography.

I was browsing some photos I had taken of a spectacular white tiger at Out Of Africa Wildlife Park, Camp Verde, Arizona. And I noticed that some of the photos captured the entire animal and others were zoomed in to capture the expressions on the animal’s face, especially in the eyes. And the images I loved the most were the ones where I zoomed in. As I looked through all the images from that photo shoot, I realized that the ones with the most impact had less distractions and focused in on a single emotion.

Once I discovered that I needed to zoom in to focus on a single subject, it changed forever the way I capture landscape and wildlife photography images. I still like to capture the grand landscape. But I pay more attention now to the edges, and most often, I zoom in to get more focus on subjects with detail. Bill Fortney, one of my photography mentors, calls this “extraction” — the art of zooming in and capturing details. He is a master at this art and actually teaches some classes at KelbyOne Online Training. In his class, Extraction and Close-Ups in Nelson Ghost Town, he walks you through the ghost town of Nelson, Nevada, and teaches about composition, design, and detail in photography. One of my favorite Bill Fortney classes is Intimate Landscape Photography. In this course, Bill shows you how to focus in on small, intimate, parts of the landscape and extract a beautiful photo from the overall view. It’s well worth the view!

So to zoom in on an image, I like to use my Nikkor 80-400mm lens. There are some secrets though to using this lens. The first is that clarity is best achieved on a tripod or monopod, especially with a larger telephoto lens. The image of this tiger was taken at 380mm, almost the full focal length, along with my Nikon D800E camera. I used my tripod as a monopod by shortening two of the legs. That way I could move quickly from place to place, setting up all kinds of shots. The other secret to clarity when zooming in with longer lenses is a fast shutter speed. The closer I zoom in, the more I find camera shake becoming an issue. The slightest movements are picked up so it’s essential to have faster shutter speeds. For a 400mm focal length, I try to get at least 1/800sec in shutter speed. It’s almost always necessary to shoot wide open and increasing ISO to 800 or higher. Yes, I may get some noise in the photo, but it’s easily fixed in Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom, or other noise filters like Topaz DeNoise.

So the next time you go out shooting images, take along a telephoto lens, and try zooming in and capturing a closer image. You will be amazed at the impact you get in the fine details.

♥ Blessings and Grace to You!


myPhotoWalk Devotional

… He has given us great and precious promises
2 Peter 1:4

myPhotoWalk Technical

  • Title: Tiger Eyes
  •   Request This Image > SmugMug Image Request
  • Description: Capturing the eyes of a white tiger at Out Of Africa Wildlife Park, Camp Verde, Arizona, USA.
  • Creator: Catherine Martin
  • Date Created: 05/09/15
  • Camera: Nikon D800E, Nikkor 80-400mm, FL 380mm, ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/800sec.
  • Photoshoot: myPhotoWalk PhotoShoot at Out Of Africa Wildlife Park, Camp Verde, Arizona, USA.
  • Post-Processing: Adobe Camera Raw, Adobe Photoshop, Nik Software, OnOne Software, Topaz Software.
  • Copyright ©2018 Catherine Martin — myPhotoWalk™ — Quiet Time Ministries. All Rights Reserved.
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