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Use your zoom to shoot detail - Tips on photographing the interesting detail you find on churches, castles and other tall structures.
- Take a zoom lens that has a slightly longer reach such as the 200-400mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor.
Most pictures you see of churches, cathedrals and other tall structures show the whole, impressive structure but by cropping in tightly you can highlight the fantastic repetitive detail, make an interesting patten and shoot detail you don't always notice in the wider shots.
If you can get on the roof or balcony, as well as gaining you a great viewpoint of the city you can often find interesting statues/gargoyles projecting out from the walls. As they don't move they're an easy target and most are so beautifully sculptured that several varied photographs can be taken. However, as not all buildings give you access to their roof, you'll probable end up shooting from the ground where you'll need to use your longer reach of your telephoto or zoom lens to bring the detail to you.
The problem you have with using lenses with longer reach is that they magnify objects, which is of course what you want, but this does mean that even the tiniest of movements can create a large amount of blur in your photograph so make sure you have a tripod and stick to quicker shutter speeds when possible. Using a lens which features Vibration reduction (VR) such as the Nikkor 200-400mm will further minimise shake. If you're shooting detail such as weather vanes where the sky will be your background fit a polariser to darken a blue sky and give more contrast to the shot.
Once you begin to search you'll be surprised at the amount of detail you'll be able to fill your frame with. Of course there's gargoyles, clocks, windows, spires, sundials and weather vanes but a little closer to the ground you'll find stone carvings present and sometimes intricate detailed wood carvings on the exterior walls around door ways and above windows.
Filling the frame with repeating patterns such as brick work or tiles on a roof can create interesting abstract shots. Just fill your frame, watch your shutter speeds if you're working hand-held and make sure you're focusing accurately as blur really doesn't work in this type of shot.
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