The Benefits of Reach at Mount Rushmore

When we discuss the ‘reach’ of our camera gear we often do so in the context of nature, and more specifically bird photography. During a trip in 2016 I had the opportunity to reap the benefits of reach at Mount Rushmore.

Note: Click on images to enlarge.

Mount Rushmore is a truly iconic location that is on the bucket list of many photographers. Images are often captured using wide angle to mid-angle focal lengths to capture the feeling of grandeur and scale. The image above was captured with a Nikon 1 J5 using a focal length of 35mm (efov 95mm).  When looking at the enlarged image you will be able to see a maintenance crew on the top of one of the heads.

I usually use my 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom lens for bird photography and I was lucky that I had it with me during our visit to Mount Rushmore. Noticing the work crew, I mounted the lens on one of my J5s. Shooting hand-held with the lens fully extended to 300mm (evfov 810mm) yielded the uncropped image above.

Keeping the lens fully extended I then captured images of the individual heads carved into Mount Rushmore. All of the photographs that follow are 100% captures without any cropping done to them at all.

What I really liked about these images was the amount of detail that I was able to capture by taking advantage of the reach of my Nikon 1 gear.

I was intrigued to see the texture and colour swirls in the rock.

I also was fascinated by the markings left on the rocks by jack hammers and other power tools.

No matter what camera gear that each of us may own, utilizing the reach that is available to us is important for many subjects, and not just nature and birding. The next time you visit an architectural site or a monument, be sure to take a telephoto lens with you!

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Technical Note:
All photographs were captured hand-held using a Nikon 1 J5 and 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom lens. All images in this article were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO OpticsPro 11, CS6 and the Nik Collection.

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