Hola Amigos!

Dana and I had a nice relaxing weekend.  All we really had planned was a Photo Walk thru Old Town Tustin with 50 of our closest friends!  Every year, Adobe Sponsors these Photo Walks in over 900 cities around the world.  You basically get a group of people together, pick a location, and walk around taking pictures.  After you get back, you can upload them and win prizes and stuff.  We’re still weeding thru the pics, and might post up a few this weekend, or later on next week.  We’ll let you decide who’s pics are better! 🙂

So, last week, I started what I’m hoping might be a semi regular thing here on Wednesdays, and that’s the “Ask a Photographer” topic!  So far, only 3 of you were brave enough to ask us anything… that’s cool.. the questions were pretty good, and hopefully I can answer them for ya!

Question #1 from Matt Donders: If you could shoot at any one focal length or with only ONE lens, which would it be?

Good question.  For me, I don’t really have a favorite per se.  It is usually the best lens for any given situation.  I did just pick up a  20mm f/2.8 which for a walking around lens is just wide enough on the D300 to feel pretty normal to me.  For years, on my old film camera, I used a 35mm f/2 as my standard walk around lens which is slightly wider than the standard 50mm lens.  So for me, a little wider just feels right.

Dana might answer this and say either the 17-55 f/2.8, or the 50mm f/1.8 are her favorite lenses.

Question #2 from Elaina: Why is Nikon better than Canon? At some point, I will have to go out and buy a new camera. What should I get and why?

And the basic answer is… it just is!  Just kidding.  Honestly, both Canon and Nikon make extraordinarily good cameras.  In my opinion, Canon was leading the way, up until Nikon introduced the D3 and the D300.  Nikon finally caught up.  For us, Dana and I have always used Nikons.  I sold my Minolta gear in college, and bought an all manual FM2 that has traveled all over the country with me, and it has never let me down.  When I met Dana, she already had a better Nikon than me, so I scored there! Since we both had lenses, it seemed the obvious choice to stick with Nikon when we made the jump to digital.

As far as what camera you should get.  It gets to be like a Ford vs. Chevy debate amongst car people.  Both are good.  Both will get you great pictures, if you know how to work it, and both cameras have superfans that are usually pretty loyal!  For me, a lot has to do with how the camera feels in my hand, how it’s balanced, and how easily I can navigate around the menus.  The camera should feel like an extension of yourself.  I’ve used Canon, and it just doesn’t feel right to me.  That doesn’t mean it won’t be the same for you! I’m sure Canon people will argue with me on this one!

As far as which camera you should get… even the entry level Nikon or Canon cameras are pretty good, and waaaay better than the best digital cameras from just a few years ago.  For a hobbyist, I would buy somewhere in the mid-range, and spend most of your money on lenses.  You’d be amazed what really good glass on a basic camera can do!

Question #3 from Suz: What is the best (and least expensive) solution to sun spots?

Now, I had to DM Suz on Twitter to clarify what she meant.  And by sun spots, she was talking about flare.  You know… those orbs of light that tend to sneak into the picture, and either make or break your picture.  I personally kinda like a little flare, when it works with the picture, but at the same time, I’ve had tons of pics ruined as well.  I seem to notice it more with wider angle lenses.  The 20mm lens I just picked up is SUPER flarey if you angle it at all towards the sun.  There are a few ways to help counteract flare.

One-Don’t shoot into the sun.  I know sometimes it’s hard not to, especially if you really dig the shot, and there is no way around it.
Two-Use a lens hood.  These are usually lens specific, and correlates the the focal length of the lens.  These usually don’t cost a ton, and work pretty good most of the time to help reduce flare.
Three-Use your hand as a shade.  This may take a little practice.  If you have your shot set up, and notice flare coming into the lens, take your left hand and try to block the light the light from entering the camera.  If the sun is on the left hand side of your frame, move your hand above the lens, and to the left… move it around while looking thru the viewfinder. Make sure you don’t get your hand in the picture (like I did in a shot last week!)  Once you got it blocked, take the picture.  This is what I end up doing most of the time, if I have to block flare on the fly!

Well, I hope that helped you guys out a bit!  Feel free to hit me up here, or on Twitter if you ever have any questions!  I’ll leave you with one pic from the Tustin Photo Walk.  Not the best shot, but a good look at some gnarly flare from my new lens!