Joe and Mary Ann McDonald's

Wildlife Photography

February 2008

Tip of the Month

Lens Coat Products

Kirk's dik-diks live in and along thickets, where leopards are also likely to be found. You never know what you'll see next-the dik-dik
might be the best photograph you'll make all afternoon, or it might just give you the extra time so that a hidden leopard steps into view.

I use Canon lenses, big, white, conspicuous lenses when I'm using a telephoto. The color, or conspicuousness of a lens probably doesn't matter very much for most animal subjects, as most animals are probably aware of YOU regardless of the color or camouflag of your gear. There might be exceptions -- certainly in Kenya when someone pulls out a big telephoto close to a nearby bird the chances of the bird fleeing are a bit greater when the lens flashes white (or black, for that matter, with Nikon) than they generally do with a grab camouflaged lens.

To me, the advantage of using a product like LensCoat lies in two areas. One, the lenses are indeed camouflaged, and in the field these lenses are less conspicuous to other people. In places like Yellowstone where one photographer is likely to draw other photographers like a magnet, having gear that is inconspicuous lowers that possibility. For that reason, I generally wear drab or camouflage clothing when afield, not because I'm trying to hide from my wildlife subjects but to draw less attention to myself from other photographers or curious on-lookers. I can't tell you how often good shooting opportunities have been ruined when people have approached me or the subject I was shooting without regard for the effect they might have on the subject. I may have spent hours slowly moving into a position when someone, seeing me, barges in and walks briskly up to a position that may have taken considerable time and effort on my part to accomplish. The result -- the subject often moves away. Having protective, camouflaged lens and tripod leg covers lessens my conspicuousness and the chances of that happening.

Secondly, the LensCoat is a neoprene cover that acts as both padding and insulation. While the LensCoats aren't designed or intended to protect your lenses from damaging bangs, the neoprene does, nonetheless, offer a bit of protection in that way. On cold days, the cover also acts as an insulator, especially on tripod legs that can drain warmth from cold fingers.

Recently I received an email from Scott Elowitz, the owner/designer of LensCoats, alerting me to some new products, which included camera and flash neoprene covers. If you travel as I often do, placing gear in large roll-on bags or in a backpack without individual dividers, these covers are very useful in providing protection and padding to your gear.

The lens and tripod leg coats come in several different patterns, including plain black or white covers, so check out the website,, for the choices, and for the exact LensCoat that is designed for your particular lens.




Our Past Photo Tips of the Month:


Western Digital portable external Hard Drives
CS3 Upgrade

Framing with a Telephoto Against a Desert Sunrise

Adobe Photoshop LIGHTROOM
Workflow and Workload - You Can Keep Ahead
Bring along a Point N Shoot

Backing Up Your Digital Files - you'll need more than you think
Action Wildlife Photography Camera Settings
maximizing depth of field digitally
Capture 1's Most Useful Features
DIGITAL Photographing scenes with extreme exposure values
Effective Cloning in Adobe CS2

Watch Your Backgrounds - The potential of composites or shooting in RAW format
DIGITAL -Shoot for the Future
DIGITAL-Shoot for the Future, Part II
The Helicon Focus Filter Revisited



Smell the Roses
Frankly access your skills before deciding upon a workshop

The Songs of Insects
- a super book on katydids, cicadas, and grasshoppers
A Great Insect Field Guide 
Action Wildlife Photography Camera Settings
The Pond-A Must-See shooting Location in southern Arizona
Don't take in baby wild animals
Seize the Moment!
Take a Workshop First
  Luck, what is it?
At the Pulse of Life by Fritz Polking
Carry-on Luggage for small commuter flights


The Ultimate Long Lens Case - McDonald Safari Bag
Positioning your Roll-on Carry-On bag
New Lens Covers for Long Lenses
The Best All-Around Lens
Keep Your Head Up
Save Your Equipment from Crashing!
The L-Bracket, the ultimate camera bumper
Visual Echos Tele-Flash for the 580EX Flash
Testing your Flash's Aim
The Ultimate Flash Bracket
Using TTL flash with Hummingbirds
Specular highlights and the flashing frog

Geared Focusing Rail for Macro Work
Shooting in Inclement Weather
Low level tripod work
Sighting in a very, very long lens
Padding Your WimberleyTripod Head
Using The Wimberley Gimbal head with a camera body

Wimberley 400 and 600mm IS plate
How do we protect our gear from dust, and carry our gear when on safari
How do you shoot the Moon?

If you see it, it's too late -- a lesson in anticipation
Protecting your long lens from SAND, the pleasures of beach photography
Maximum Depth of Field and Hyperfocal Distance - they're not the same thing!
A great depth of field guide
Carry Your Gear!
Custom Function 4-1 for Nikon and Canon shooters
Sigma's 120-300 f2.8 APO zoom telephoto lens


A Car Tip that could Save Your Life
A Great Website for Information - the Singapore Nature Photography Society
Airline Carry-On Luggage -Let your concerns be heard!

Ask Questions Before You Go
Liquids in your Levels - TSA Warnings!

Disconnect -- travel precautions
Photograph America Newsletter
Obey the Rules
Wildlife Portraiture
Drying out boots with newspaper
Removing Cactus Spines

The Ti Chi Stalk
Photographing Critically Endangered Sites
The Sibley Bird Guides



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