The days are getting longer, the sun is getting brighter, streams are breaking through the ice, and flowers are breaking through the snow. Spring is coming, which means that very soon we will go to nature with cameras at the ready! To be fully equipped, we offer you a selection of the necessary equipment and photo accessories for spring shootings.
Let’s start with the basic thing — the lens. To choose the best lens for spring photography, you need to decide what kind of photos you are going to take.
A popular genre of spring photography is the first flowers. To capture the buds emerging from under the snow, the best option is a special macro lens. A macro lens allows you to capture an object at a scale of 1:1.
Such optics can focus at a very short distance, but at the same time it does not need to be brought too close, obscuring the object from the light. A macro lens allows you to photograph not only flora, but also fauna — with it you will not need to approach a shy insect to photograph it.
At the same time, many macro lenses are good not only for shooting small objects close-ups, but also for portraits or astrophotography.
Our guide will help you choose a macro lens for your camera.
If your target is larger and more mobile — birds and animals that rejoice in the spring forest after a long winter, then you will need a completely different lens. To shoot from a considerable distance, you need a long lens — a telephoto lens.
Telephoto lenses are a large-sized accessory, they are used for shooting wildlife and for sports events. At the same time, telezooms are better suited for birds and animals — telephoto lenses that allow you to change the focal length. A good option would be a universal telezoom with a range of around 100–400mm.
And if you want to shoot beautiful portraits in the spring forest, then a portrait fix is ideal. These are moderately telephoto lenses (around 85mm) with good aperture (f/2.8 and brighter), which allow you to get a beautiful picture with a pleasant background blur.
If you don’t have a clear “specialization” yet and want to photograph everything a little bit, then your option is a universal zoom lens. This glass has an equivalent focal length of 24–70mm. You can read how to choose your first lens here and here.
It’s great to have your lens weatherproof, since the weather is so unpredictable in spring.
A spring photographer’s best friend is a tripod. A tripod is an indispensable companion for both landscape and macro photography. It allows you to correctly position the camera, correctly crop the picture, and not fill up the horizon. You can mount your camera on a tripod and wait for the right moment when the sun comes out of the clouds or the flower stops swaying in the wind — as long as you need. But most importantly, a tripod helps to get rid of the “shake” when shooting handheld.
If your main goal is landscapes, then you need a full-sized tripod, but it is better not too large, because you have to carry and carry it with you. So travel tripods for travelers are suitable.
It is very good if your model has a small minimum working height — about 10 cm. So you can create pictures where in the foreground there are details that are located near the ground: flowers, stones, leaves. These tripods are also good for macro photography. An example is the Manfrotto MT190XPRO3.
If you don’t pretend to be an advanced landscape painter and you have a light enough camera, you can often get by with a mini tripod. It will be a versatile option for shooting flowers, and for travel, and for everyday city photography. Of course, getting a lot of different angles will be more difficult, but you will save a lot of space in your backpack.
An interesting option would be a mini tripod with flexible legs, like RayLab MTF-SC or Joby GorillaPod. Thanks to the flexible legs, this tripod can be wrapped around tree branches or placed on uneven surfaces. This design significantly increases the number of available angles.
Sunny days are coming, which means it’s time to get out the ND filter (neutral density filter). An ND filter is the “sunglasses” for your camera.
On a bright sunny day, you can open the aperture to the maximum to get a blurry background and highlight the subject, but in order not to overexpose the picture, you need an ND filter. So you get expressive photos of the first spring flowers or other inhabitants of the forest.
ND filters help create high-quality photos when shooting at slow shutter speeds. By increasing the shutter speed, you run the risk of overexposing your photo. An ND filter reduces the light output.
Why should a photographer increase exposure in spring, you ask? With slow shutter speeds, you can get the water and cloud smoothing effects that landscape painters love.
For videographers, an ND filter is a must for shooting on a bright sunny day. You will set the shutter speed according to the frame rate to get natural motion blur. In order for the background to go into a pleasant bokeh without overexposure, you need to use an ND filter.
Spring gives us blue skies, and to deepen its hues, a polarizing filter is used. But it’s not just good for that.
Polarizing filters reduce reflections and glare from shiny surfaces. Landscape photographers use them to capture the transparent expanse of lakes and rivers. Antiglare has an interesting side effect. It makes colors more saturated, especially noticeable on greenery.
So, in order to prepare for the spring shooting and the first field trips, we need a few accessories.
First, you need the right lens. You can get by with a standard zoom, but for more specialized tasks you need special lenses. For close-ups of flowers and other plants, a macro lens is best. For shooting animals and birds — a telephoto lens. Portraits are always good with fast fixes.
Second, you need a tripod. The most versatile option would be a full size but not very heavy travel tripod. If you don’t want to take a full-size tripod with you, you can get by with a mini tripod with flexible legs.
Thirdly, for shooting outdoors, you will need filters: an ND filter for increasing shutter speed and shooting at an open aperture on a sunny day, as well as a polarizing filter for more saturated colors.
Sunny days are just around the corner! Dare!