Best Nature Photography Lens

Hello and welcome to my post on ‘Best Nature Photography lens.’  There is a bouquet of lenses available on the market.  As a beginner, it can be confusing what to buy to get started.  The truth is there is no such thing as best lens for photography.  Every lens has its own strength and weakness.  It is up to the photographer how and where to utilize them. The lens and a camera are a tool to express creativity but the tool itself is not creativity.

In this article, I will discuss some nature photography and how it can be a great learning tool.  Latest and greatest is not needed to capture some good nature shots.  Modern compact and mobile device cameras can be sufficient if you don’t have access to a DSLR.  However, if you like to take your photography up a notch then some DSLR lenses can help you make better photos. Before going into lenses, I would like to talk about some ideas on how to mentally prepare yourself for a better nature composition.


See nature not just look.

There is a huge difference between seeing and just looking. Our desire to photograph nature comes from the love, respect, and awe of nature. Nature photography begins with our personal observations and experiences. We express our emotions and feelings about nature through a photograph. Nature photography gives us a great opportunity to learn and explore our skies, lands, and our waters.

Every time I head out to a lake or a mountain, I am lost into the majestic wonders of nature. The beauty of nature is so magical that sometimes it is hard to believe it exists. Simple things like a blooming flower in spring signals beginning of life.  In order to compose a good image, we must first see nature.

Photo by Mehmet Kürşat Değer


Obstructions to seeing

worry

There are times when I am not fully in-tune with nature. Matters on my mind keep me from truly observing and feeling the surroundings.

In order to photograph nature, first we must identify the barriers to seeing. To overcome this problem we must learn to let go of self.  Letting go of self is one of the biggest barriers to seeing.  Preoccupation with worrying about getting a good shot and enjoying the moment, you are unlikely to achieve both.

We may be worrying about our job, life or kids or something else that just seems to be in the way.  These negative feeling can obscure our visual sense and rob us from our full potential.  Learning to relax body and mind takes time and practice. Responsibilities are important but can be dealt without closing our mind to the beautiful world.

mass stimuli

In this information age, we are constantly being bombarded by mass stimuli. The overwhelming information overload can interfere with our ability to focus. This creates a tunnel vision effect and prevents us from seeing the real world.

-labeling

Monet the famous painter said, “in order to see we must forget the name of the thing we are looking at.”

As children, we express everything visually. Our ability to think visually decreases as we get older. Our thinking becomes more analytical and we place less emphasis on visual exploration.

Frederick Franck states “By these labels we recognize everything, and no longer see anything.  We know the labels on the bottle, but never taste the wine.”


Composition

A good composition is achieved by observing the natural design of the subject.  There should be harmony between the subject and its surroundings.  Composing a scene is about working with a visual design. The elements to visual design may consist of a center of interest, a visual frame such as sky, forest, or mountains.

Mehmet Kürşat Değer

Center of interest is something that immediately catches the viewer’s attention due to its own nature and placement.  The red flowers in this picture are an example of a center of interest.  The center of interest could also convey physical or psychological elements.  The picture below of snowy mountain with a beautiful sunset side light symbolizes sheer power and tranquility of nature.  Placing a person in this center of interest would immediately change its theme from peace to the dangers of nature.

Will Turner


Lenses

Lenses of different focal lengths can be used and the price can vary anywhere from $150 to several thousand dollars. For a beginner you don’t need to throw down large amounts of money.  Even kit lenses are great for outdoor nature photography.  A 35mm prime lens works great.  Wide aperture and larger field of view make this lens very versatile for natural landscapes.

The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8   is a wonderful lens with amazing image quality. Around $200 USD it is a must-have for amateurs and professionals alike.  The construction of this lens is solid with a hard poly-carbonate body and metal mounts. It is a fast lens with an aperture of 1.8 which is great for low light shootings.

The kit lenses that come with Nikon entry level DSLR’s are also amazing for outdoors. The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 GII lens performs very well for nature photography.  This is an autofocus lens with Nikon’s latest technology including vibration reduction.  Although this lens struggles with low light situations, for outdoors it gives you stunning results.


Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 55-200mm


Final Words

Creativity comes within ourselves.  Learning to see is the first step to creating art. There are no set rules on how to create art.  Following some simple guidelines will help you get on the track for better photos.

So get your camera out and start taking some photos.  Creative photography will bring fulfillment and joy to your life.

I hope this article has given you a starting point in nature photography.  It is a very joyful and rewarding field of interest. Please feel free to add your thoughts and leave any questions or comments below.


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6 Comments

  1. First of all I should say that this article has an immense amount of information on Photography. I learned and got to know every single thing about Photography that I needed to know.

    I learned how to use lenses and how different lenses can make a difference.

    Thank you so  much for sharing this article.

    1. Author

      Thanks for the comments
      If you are new to the field of photography, the best way to make it better is by practice and experiment.

  2. I found your article of great interest. I personally use the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm that you described for when I am hiking . It is very versatile whether I am photographing waterfalls or more detailed shots of flowers or even sunsets. Very adjustable and easy to use. Love that mountain shot from Will Turner that you used in your article magnificent!

    1. Author

      Thanks for the comments.  

      The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 15-55mm and the  AF-S Nikkor 55mm-200mm are both awesome lenses.

  3. Nature is indeed amazing and provides a wonderful opportunity for some beautiful photographs. I think I definitely need to take some time out to slow down and just take in the beauty of the world. 

    In relation to the lenses, I’m a bit of a newbie, but I assume that a Nikon lens won’t work with a Canon camera? 

    1. Author

      Thanks for the comments.  Photography is a great way to engage with nature and relax your mind.   Nikon won’t fit canon.  But Canon makes similar lenses.

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