On my travels, I frequently see other photographers walking around a location, trying to find the best composition possible, in order to make the best out of a location and come up with a good image. However, in doing so, they are walking around with the camera stuck in front of their eye, in search of that desired composition. I must say that quite often they do so under a variety of weather conditions and this includes some spots of rain or drizzle. It can be a nightmare to work things the way you want, a couple of rain drops on the lens and you have to spend time cleaning your gear. Besides, I don’t personally find this the best way to get your desired composition.
So, what else is there to do?
I have made up (very easy to do) a card from black mounting paper. For a 2/3 format sensor, I find that the inside dimensions of 60x90mm work very well and the framing can be around 25-30mm. Of course, if you are using a different format camera (6×7 or 6×6 or 4/3, you can make the appropriate one to suit your sensor/film). Very easy to make up and if you want something solid, you can use 2 or 3 and glue them together. They can be kept in you camera bag safely.
How do you use them? With practice, you will eventually find that by moving the card away from your eye, you will find the best composition that suits you. And of course, depending on the distance of the card from your eye, you will eventually know roughly which lens you need to use, its all about practice.
Now, all you have to do when you visit a location is to take out the card and walk around. Your camera gear can stay in your bag pack, safe and dry. When you finally find what you are looking for, tripod gets set up and your gear goes on it, as simple as that. I hope this might be of help to some people.
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