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Using a Long Lens for Landscapes

When it comes to landscape photography there are a lot of tools you should have in your bag to get “the shot.” One of the tools that is often over looked is using a long lens. Now I’m not talking about 200 or 300mm but 400mm and up. A long lens allows you to do two main things, first you don’t have to get close to the subject which in landscape may not always be possible; and second, a long lens allows you to focus in on one specific area without any distracting elements. These two images I put up are examples of just that.

Both of these images were taken on the backside of Mammoth Hot Springs using the D5 and 200-400 VR. For those that have not been to this area of Yellowstone, the backside of Mammoth Hot Springs looks really cool but the boardwalk doesn’t let you walk by it. You can drive around it though and park, which is what I did. The top image is at 240mm which certainly shows more steam but with the overcast skies the steam gets lost. If it was blue sky and sunny it would look more dramatic. Since the subject wasn’t the steam at all but the mineral formations going in tight was the answer.

The bottom image is at 400mm and works better to show off the subject I had in mind all along, the patterns in the rock. Now I wasn’t even planning on doing landscape when I was out that day, I was looking for critters which was in part why I was setup with the 200-400. That being said, even if I didn’t have the 200-400 in my lap, I wouldn’t have grabbed the 24-70 to capture this image. It wouldn’t have worked. Long lens with landscapes can lead to some really great images if you look for them.

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