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Camera House : Better Pictures 13
This telephoto zoom offers up a super silent PZD (Piezo Drive), internal focus, an ultrasonic motor system and vibration compensation. Its wide angle makes it an excellent choice for landscape photographers, and built- in vibration compensation (VC) keeps shots free from camera shake. Looking for a general-purpose lens? The Canon EF-S 18-200mm offers great low light performance backed up by a 4-stop image stabiliser with aspherical and UD lens elements. Providing the 35mm equivalent of 29- 300mm lens this lightweight, fast lens is superb at zooming in on the action. With a maximum aperture of f/1.8 this fast lens is ideal in low light. It delivers a great bokeh and is equipped with both auto and manual focus. The Silent Wave Motor (SWM) ensures focusing is smooth and aspherical lens elements keep your image sharp. OUTDOOR essenTials Tamron aF 18- 270mm F/3.5 -6.3 Di ii VC PZD LEnS Canon EF-S 18- 200mm F/3.5-5.6 iS LEnS nikon aF-S DX 35mm F/1.8G LEnS So how did Langford go from someone with little interest in photography to the master artisan you see today? Initially, a little serendipity may have been on the cards. “At the age of 27 I really wanted to be a writer but I had all the wrong university credits to get into journalism school. So instead I bought myself a typewriter and a camera – Canon EF – and took off to Western Samoa where I wrote a bunch of articles and took some photos. On returning to New Zealand, I showed my articles to my writer friends – who described them as crap – but they all loved my photos. That’s when the penny dropped and I instead applied for photography school.” Shortly after graduating Langford says he was “lucky enough to introduce myself to the great Magnum photojournalist Brian Brake”. “I showed him my work and within a month he had given me one of his clients who didn’t pay enough to keep his services, but who was great for someone starting out. I worked for that client (The New Zealand Crafts Journal) for the next three years until I left the country. The shoots were varied and covered all sorts of photography – from environmental portraits to products. It was the most stimulating work I could have been given and shaped my future in photography.” It also stood him in good stead for later years, when he would turn his focus on commercial, commercial landscape, and wilderness photography for clients as varied as tourism bodies and National Geographic. Planning and research are integral to the success of Langford’s photographic work. He admits that he will spend “two or three times as much time planning and researching” than he does shooting. “You need to know what, where and when in order to be able to shoot something – especially in travel, otherwise you will be just always chasing your tail.” Langford’s evocative images display sensitivity for his subjects – something he is extremely conscious of when undertaking a shoot. “When I’m working on a Geographic-type feature then I always make sure I’m with the writer when they do the interview, so I can understand where both they and the subject are coming from. Without knowing what the conversation is, how can I possibly understand what to make the photograph about? “Having an understanding of the subject always makes for a more intimate photographic experience and communication.” Langford’s clean and uncomplicated style really invites the viewer into his way of seeing the world. “I like the idea of the viewer being able to understand the photograph immediately, but then also want to stay with the image and learn more. That’s where I like there to be layers in my images – foregrounds, middle foregrounds and backgrounds that all somehow relate to each other. I also like leaving some things unsaid – allowing the viewer to be able to visually walk into an image and then explore with their imaginations what lies around the corner, or just out of sight.” Asked if there is such a thing as a ‘typical Mike Langford shoot’, Langford ponders, “I guess 15 Feature Canon maSTEr 014_Bpics13_landscapes_mike.indd 15 28/05/13 9:08 AM
Better Pictures 12
Better Pictures 14