In the past, being an accomplished nature photographer…landscape, wildlife, macro, or creative…required at least one high end SLR/DSLR and a bag full of lenses. If you were into wildlife, you invested in at least a 400mm lens, and, most likely a 600mm lens and one or more tel-converters. Macro required its own special lenses. Your total investment could reach $20,000 easily, and your kit, even for landscape, weighed 10 pounds and required a separate suitcase when you traveled. For wildlife, you would be carrying 25 pounds of cameras, lenses, and tripods…and if your range included everything natural…that probably required a second camera body as well as your bag of lenses.
Your investment in time learning to use all this stuff dwarfed your monetary investment. Most nature photographers were professionals or advanced amateurs with jobs that were both financially rewarding and flexible enough to provide for such a demanding hobby.
And yet, anyone who spends much time outside. has their eyes open, and has ever taken a single picture of anything…or anyone who has ever glanced through a National Geographic or Audubon magazine in the waiting room…or even watched a wildlife or travel documentary on TV…wants to be a nature photographer. I think it is something near the root of our beings…something we all share as humans. We want to capture the wonder and the beauty we see around us…to, whether we realize it or not, celebrate the best, the most interesting, the most exciting of this world we live in.
Today, anyone with $500 to spend, the will to learn at least the basics of Point and Shoot digital photography, and the ability to carry a camera weighing less than a pound, can capture images of nature…from majestic landscapes, to intimate views of wildlife and the macro world…that the casual viewer could not tell from the work of a professional with $20,000 worth of equipment and a bad back.
If your main interest is sharing the images you capture on the web via social media, and making the occasional print for the wall or even a local photo show, a Point & Shoot Super-zoom digital camera will provide amazingly satisfying results…without breaking the bank or your back.
Such super-zooms (sometimes called “bridge” cameras) are available from just about every major player in the digital camera market…and, in this age when cell phone cameras are displacing many alternatives, are the one of the few segments of the P&S market still undergoing active development. New, improved models are introduced every year. Super-zooms reach from landscape embracing wide angle 24mm equivalent fields of view, to 1200mm (even 2400mm with digital assist) distance destroying telephotos for intimate views of wildlife. Many will shoot as close to your subject as a single millimeter for really spectacular macros. And the image processing engines built in provide accurate exposure and auto focus over the widest range of conditions…and creative modes that allow for sophisticated techniques like High Dynamic Range (HDR) multiple exposure images and Night Shots without a tripod. With the flash popped up they will even do a decent job of shooting the occasional party or family gathering. They are truly the do-it-all cameras of the digital world.
(Click on any image in the galleries to open it for a larger view. All were taken with the Sony HX400V super-zoom Point & Shoot camera with is built in zoom, an under-$500 camera 🙂
So, honestly, there is nothing today (or not much) standing between anyone and a desire to do nature photography. A minimal investment and eager eye are all that is required.
What is stopping you?