Meridian, Idaho
Come on a journey of awe-inspiring photography from Louis Ruth


The best tip I can give anyone for getting the most detail out of your equipment is to learn it. Your lenses are different lengths and most are different F/stops so learn where the sweet spot of each lens is. A sweet spot is generally 2 to 3X the F/stop. For example if you are using an F/2.8 professional series lens then your max F/stop would be F/8. This all depends on how well your scene or subject is lighted. If you are shooting daytime than use the base ISO. Nikon 64-100, Canon 50-100.

Whatever you do, do not use F22 to F/32 for a landscape scene thinking you will get more detail. Its completely wrong and should not be done. Let me explain to you what I mean. Each lens has its own sweet spot where it performs at its absolute best. Your photos will degrade DLA is an acronym for Diffraction Limited Aperture.
This aperture value is the result of a mathematical formula that approximates the aperture where diffraction begins to visibly negatively affect image sharpness at the pixel level. stay within F/8 to F/11.

A good way to photograph a scene to find out the best F/stop you will need is quite simple.
Make sure your camera is on a sturdy tripod, then set up your camera and lens. Start by using a multiplier of 3X your aperture like F/8.0 to F/11 then take a photo. After you take the photo, zoom into the scene 100% on your camera's view finder to look at the detail. If you capture all the detail you need for that scene then fine. If you can reduce the F stop and still get all the scene details you want, then you will have a cleaner looking image.
Now take the same scene and max out your F/stop to 22 or 32. Now zoom in and see how much your photo has degraded/artifacts around the edges and overall photo. Don't go past f/11....theirs no reason to.

My best landscape scenes have been photographed at F11 which is a nice balance since I use a Canon 100-400MM L F4.5 to F5.6. This is the sweet spot for that lens and landscapes. But, if I were to use the same lens for a wildlife scene/subject I would use an F/6.3 to F/7.1 because of the exposure speed I would need.

Gear updates-
Camera update- In 2018 I will be shooting with a Nikon D810 36MP Full frame body.

Lens update for landscapes- I will be using a prime lenses for my photos. Nikon 24mm, 35mm, and 85mm f/1.8G lenses.
Lens update for wildlife- Nikon 200mm-500mm f/5.6


Using a polarizer or UV/glare filter is great if you absolutely need them. In certain situations, you need a good polarizer to deepen the sky color and cut down on the UV glare. I always play with the scene not using any type of filter first, capturing several different exposures in RAW.
Keep in mind that all lenses have glass inside of them and they were created with out a filter in front of them. Lenses perform at their very best when they have a hood on them to cut down on the stray light, but they were not created and tested with a filter of any kind. Do this; photograph the same scene with and without a polarizer and then look at the colors, contrast and sharpness levels. Its been my experience that even the absolute best polarizers like B+W MRC Nanon with knock out .5 to 1 light stop an allow for possible ghosting around the edges.


Buy the best tripod you can afford, don't skimp! Why do I say this, well its simple and correct. If you are willing to put out the bucks for a nice camera and lens, don't you want your photos to be detailed or would you rather have blurry photos? If you buy a lightweight tripod for backpacking that's great, but make sure you don't weigh down the tripod by putting on a heavy camera that is not going to be stable.
Carbon fiber tripods have a come a long way since day one and have become very sturdy and stable.
I can only recommend my current model which is an Mefotto 8XCarbon fiber 4 leg tripod.
Its light weight and with the correct Induro BHL2 swivel/ball head you can use a full frame camera.


Use the best photo editing software that you can afford and if you can't afford to buy it outright, then choose a monthly plan like Photoshop. I love using the Photoshop monthly plan because it updates your software to the most current version without having to buy it at full retail. If their are any bugs or fixes then your Adobe Cloud will notify you when you sign in. Go to Adobe Photoshop CC2019 and see if this works best for you.


If your going to spend all the money in camera gear and software but not making sure your images are noise free, then why bother. When you are ready to edit your photo, try zooming into the image at 100% in Photoshop and look for noise or water spots. You should be shooting in RAW mode so that you can remove any unwanted water spots or grainy/noise in your photos.
Most lens water spots will be seen at the top and bottom of your image and look like a darker dot (water spot)
To remove them simply, choose your "spot healing brush" and use 10% tolerance.
Noise or RGB is so bad in some photos that it is very hard to remove. Their are several ways to go about removing overall noise in dark areas and water/skies. Try using your "remove noise" adjustments in Photoshop.
You can also choose to soften or blur out the background layer. I always recommend creating layers to work with each section of your photo. Such as background, foreground and subject.