Finding Your Subject With A Long Lens

One of the most common problems I observe while in the field – and during my workshops – is when someone can’t find the subject in their viewfinder while using a telephoto lens. Nothing’s quite as cringeworthy as watching a photographer flail around with their glass in a desperate attempt to capture an image before the opportunity disappears (oh, and it usually does). 

Of course, it doesn’t have to be like this. I use a very simple technique that allows me to consistently place my subject right in the viewfinder the first time, every time with my long glass. No gimmicks, no gadgets, just put the viewfinder to your eye and – BAM – there it is.

Wanna know how? Check out the video 🙂

.

PS – If you enjoyed this post, I think you’ll REALLY like my e-books, Secrets To Exposure And Metering For Nikon, Secrets To Stunning Wildlife Photography, and Secrets To The Nikon Autofocus System – as well as my new Noise Reduction video workshop. They’re filled with hundreds of tips, techniques and information just like this. Check ’em out – click here (hey, it’s free to look).

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This entry was posted in Techniques, Using Your Gear, Wildlife.

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Raphael Kopan
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Raphael Kopan

This is one of the best bits of advice I got…..

Bernhard
Guest

Hi Steve,
after listening to your 500PF review I ordered one – got this 2 Weeks ago. Now I saw this – just in time for use with my new lens and a D500 – this is really small field of view.
Works “out of the box” with stationary subjects – but I think I have to practise body rotation for moving subjects.
Thanks for this advice.

John Dahl
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John Dahl

One more detail. You need a consistent hand position grip on the camera and lens or the aim will change. I noticed this when trying to settle on the best way to hold my NEW 500PF. It’s the first 500 I’ve been comfortable hand holding.

Tibor Hrnko
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Tibor Hrnko

Hi Steve, thx a lot for the tip and all the rest of them on your site and in the books. I have a trick to share as well. It is derived from star gazing technique. Telescopes have very narrow field of view – hence fixing a gaze at the star is not precise enough. First there has to be a distinctive feature at the far end of lens at the right spot to be used as aim. I am using knob on lens hood as it can be rotated to the place where it is at the same level… Read more »

Harry Bloomberg
Guest

Great video! I photograph football and can use this technique for taking photos of wide receivers.

Gary Worrall
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Gary Worrall

Once again, an excellent video
This has been a “monkey on my back for some time” I miss so many shots, I’m sure you will have helped me get some more keepers in the future

Doug Welch
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Doug Welch

Thanks great demo and so simple, and this is exactly what the birds and animals do when they stalk prey – head focused everything else moves
If only I had this advise years ago.

Derrick Coetzer
Guest

As usual your tips are great. Keep em coming Steve.

Dale Keith
Guest

Steve, that is the same way my father taught me to hunt with a shotgun. Good video

Johan Schmidt
Guest

Steve, What are you expecting in the D6 for 2020 Summer Olympics? Think this will be the last flagship DSLR?

David Linn
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David Linn

My biggest problem is small birds perched in trees. With small branches in front and large trees behind, the autofocus switches back and forth and by the time I finally have the bird in focus, it moves on.

Ziggy
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Ziggy

Yes. Don’t look in the VF, look through it!

Georg
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Georg

Good practical advice. Thank`s Steve

Bob Smith
Guest

All great advice Steve—and second nature to an old shotgun wing shooter.

Sumangala Rajapakse
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Sumangala Rajapakse

My Dear Steve Perry
I am always following your esteemed sites. I am learning a lot from your Back country Gallery videos.
Also I have already purchased Two of your extra ordinary Resource Guides for my Nikon Wildlife Photography works. Last week I was at the WILDS and even at there I Reminded you with utmost gratitude and sincerity.
At my Home work station I have a Resource Collection of Your Great works most of them with Nikon.
I AM NIKON..I AM WILDLIFE..
Thank you and Warm Regards.
Sincerely yours,
Sumangala Rajapakse
Nikon Wildlife Photographer
SRI LANKA.

Dana Swan
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Dana Swan

Birders use this same trick to find birds in their binoculars. I never thought of using it with my long lens. Thanks for the tip.

Peter
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Peter

Hi Steve, thanks for yet another great video. I read this in your book (or blog…can’t remember which!) and it’s been brilliant for me. However I still can’t get small\fast birds….any tips please?y

Thanks

Noel Franz
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Noel Franz

simple, but very effective…why did it take me so long to start doing this?

Kris Nagy
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Kris Nagy

Steve showed me this trick in Costa Rica. Something this basic helped improve my target acquisition time dramatically. By lunchtime it was second nature. Thanks for all your tips and tricks.
If you don’t have all of Steve’s books you are missing out.

Andre
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Andre

Great stuff Steve. And your wildlife photography book is awsome!

Bonnie
Guest
Bonnie

Good advice

Bonnie
Guest
Bonnie

Good stuff

Vincent Van der Beken
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Vincent Van der Beken

Once again a great video Steve. A question beside the video if I may. What tripod are you using here please?
Thx,
Vincent

Robert Wheeler
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Robert Wheeler

At locations within a few miles of an airport, arriving and departing planes will appear relatively small and isolated in the sky while moving slow enough to provide good initial practice for moving subjects (before attempting birds that may have more erratic movements). Your suggestions really work. Thanks for your generosity making and posting such a practical video.

Luc
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Luc

Great video as usual Steve. Thanks I will stop zooming out and in with the Tamron 150-600

Dale Elliott
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Dale Elliott

Great Information Steve, all your information though all your books has be A-1 thanks Dale

Dale Elliott
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Dale Elliott

Great information Steve, all the information Though your books have be A one !! Thanks Dale

Jules Karney
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Jules Karney

Great video as usual Steve. I am a member of Ugly Hedgehog, bought your book on auto focus.
I shoot a lot of high school sports and sometimes have trouble finding the running back, etc. with a long lens (Nikon 200-500 5.6) so this video really helped. Any other tips would be helpful. Thanks again for all your comments and suggestions.

Adi
Guest

Steve, thanks for the video and tips. The one I struggle with is tracking a bird of pray flying. With the 500mm trying to locate it against the sky in the distance to start tracking it is really hard for me. Does the same technique apply in this situation?
Thanks, Adi