We learn when we play. We know that from childhood. Kids play and figure out new things. Kids play a game of kickball in the street and learn management skills, communication skills, dexterity, and lots more.
So as a nature photographer, why would I play with colored lights? It’s fun and I might learn something.
There’s this thing in the world called Additive Color. When you shine a colored light on something, the color of the object is altered. You’ve seen this in a stadium watching our favorite band. The different colored spotlights coming from different directions create interesting effects. You’ve seen the same thing at a stage play or opera. Gels are put on the spots to change a scene from dawn to sunset.
We’re taught in grade school that when all the colors are added together we get white. Well, I tried coloring with all the crayons and never got white. That’s because crayons or paint have pigments and subtractive color happens. Mix a lot of colors of paint together and you eventually get black or maybe “yulk.” Pigment doesn’t work the same as light.
Project a blue beam of light over a red beam of light and we get magenta where there’s overlap. Project green beam of light over a red beam of light and we get yellow where there’s overlap. Project that same green beam of light over blue and we get cyan.
Notice that my example uses Red, Green, and Blue. That’s RGB color — one of the choices of a photograph’s color space. You know RGB color from your computer or the back of your camera.
Additive Color is used in portrait photography but not often in nature photography.
Background (Skip ahead if you’re not interested)– I’m a “mentor” to a photography group with some really advanced photographers. There are four “mentors” and we give the photographers assignments at the beginning of the year. That’s 12 total assignments for the year. My January 2022 assignment was “Additive Color.” I didn’t give any explanation or help. Just two words. One of the photographers, James Woody, created a photograph for the assignment of red, green, and blue lights pointing at a crystal ball. You might know that I love crystal ball photography so I had to try my hand at recreating James’s photo.
Thanks to James Woody for the inspiration for these photos. Visit James’ website to get some inspiration of your own. www.jrwoodyphotography.com
In Costa Rica, I think you mentioned something about “camera insurance”. Can you please let me know if I should and where I should get insurance for my camera gear?
I’m a member of North American Nature Photography Association. That organization offers equipment insurance through Rand Insurance. The people at Rand are super easy to work with. I’ve really liked my dealings with them. I filed a claim once and had my replacement money in a couple of days. The folks at Rand knew exactly what lens I was talking about and no need to explain its value.
NANPA also offers travel insurance and health insurance. Lots of other member benefits including vendor discounts, field trips, webinars, online meetings, and much more. Being part of the organization is well worth your investment.
One of my participants, Mark Doing, on the November photo tour to Costa Rica asked if I’d like to use his Canon RF 800mm f/11 lens. This is a relatively new lens in the Canon RF line-up so I jumped at the chance.
Above shows an image taken with the Canon RF 800mm lens. Notice the detail in the shadows and the sharpness around the bird’s eye.
Above is a comparison of an image photographed at the same time with the higher priced Canon RF 100-500mm lens. Notice the detail in the shadows and the sharpness around the bird’s eye.
Canon advertises this lens as its “first compact and lightweight 800mm super telephoto lens in the RF lineup.” The lens has image stabilization that provides up “to 4 stops of shake correction” for nice hand-held images. The lens also takes the RF 1.4x teleconverter. That would be 1120mm!
The lens does not focus close like the RF 100-500mm. It only focuses to 19.69ft, which is pretty far away.
The lens is 13.85-inches long with the lens hood. Yet, it only weighs 2.77-pounds. Cost $899.
As a comparison, the RF 100-500mm lens focuses to 3.94-feet, extends to 11.71-inches, and weighs 3-pounds. Cost $2799.
I’d love to work with this lens for a longer time. My short experience with it, though, tells me that this is a quality lens. The price is nice, too.
Bokeh between the Canon RF 800mm and the Canon RF 100-500mm? Look below. Pretty sweet with both lenses.
Have you used the Canon RF 800mm? Opinion and comments below would be nice. Thanks for reading.