Common Lens Error No. 8: Flare
Flare can reduce image contrast and introduce aperture shaped bright spots within your shots.
It’s caused by light entering the lens at an oblique angle and then bouncing around inside the optic.
It can be an issue when there’s a light source such as the sun near the edge of the image frame or there’s light passing over the front element of the lens.
Because of their wide angle of view, flare is particularly problematic with short focal length lenses.
Fortunately there’s a very easy solution to the problem of flare – use a lenshood.
Many lenses are supplied with a hood, but if you don’t have one you can usually buy something suitable, or even make one.
You can even use your hand to block out the stray light in just the same way that you might shade your eyes from the sun.
Common Lens Error No. 9: Camera unbalanced with telephoto lens
Long telephoto lenses are usually pretty heavy and if you mount your camera on a tripod you may find yourself fighting to keep things on an even keel as the lens is prone to dipping down.
The solution is to move the mounting point further forward so that the camera and lens weight is more evenly distributed front to back.
Many long lenses are supplied with a collar for precisely this purpose, but if yours is missing or wasn’t supplied with one they can be bought separately.
Another advantage of using a collar is that, provided it isn’t over tightened, it allows you to quickly swivel the camera between landscape and portrait format and back.
This makes it an especially useful set-up when shooting sport, action or wildlife when you need to respond quickly to changes in the scene.