Today I would like to discuss some techniques that you might find useful (or maybe not). This is not going to be technical in any way so there will be no calculations or math of any sort. Now that I got that out of the way hopefully most of you will stick around and read the entire post.
Different lenses have different angles of view (remember we discussed this in a previous post), and one of the most difficult lenses to master is the wide angle lens.
Why do you say that Joe ?
Most people approach wide angle photography the same way as if they had a 50mm lens on their camera and most times they are unhappy with the resulting images. Wide angle lenses don’t really work too well when they are used in a point and shoot fashion. The angle of view is way to wide and the resulting images have no impact because everything looks so small in the photo.
Let me show you the first example which was taken with a Tokina 12-24mm f/4 lens. I just pointed and shot the photo. All of the examples will be in black and white so I don’t distract you with colors.
As you can see in the above photo there is no impact or point of interest. Everything on the horizon is tiny and there is a picnic table covered with snow smack in the middle of this shot (don’t panic over the snow these were taken last winter). Now lets try using our feet and move around a little bit (I know zooming is easier). I would like everyone to get used to looking at a scene and moving around it looking at it from different angles. One of the first lessons I learned way back in the dark ages when I studied photography was to photograph one object from every angle I could think of. Now lets take a look at the next example which was taken with the same lens.
What do you think ? This photo has a lot more impact and all I did was take a few steps forward and use a slightly lower shooting angle. When shooting with wide angle lenses it is always good to have an object in the foreground being the depth of field is so great. Lets take a look at another example with The Tokina 12-24mm lens.
I guess this photo would work for a casual snapshot but there is really no point of interest or impact from this angle. Yes its sharp and the clouds are nice but thats about it. Now lets see what happens when we take a couple of steps to the left toward the rocks.
Notice the three large rocks to the lower left. They are the same rocks as the previous image so all I did was move a little bit to the left and used the rocks to sort of anchor the image or add a little more impact.
If you will take the time to approach common objects and use about 10 minutes of your time to move around them and take photos from all different angles and varying heights I will guarantee your image will improve. Next time you go out shooting try it. I bet the first image you take won’t be the keeper after you see the same object from different angles.
Lets try another example this time using a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens.
This photo was taken on a foggy morning at a local park. I used a lower angle and I thought this image would be the keeper. After taking various images of the same scene from different angles and distances I liked the image below.
In this scene I moved back a little and stood on a large rock to get a higher angle. To my eyes this is a little more like I saw that day before looking through the viewfinder. The flow of the trees through the scene look a little smoother to me also.
Sometimes getting a better shot has nothing to do with moving around. In this example I will use the same lens and shoot the scene in landscape mode (not the camera setting but the orientation). Lets take a look.
There is nothing of interest in this photo it’s just too busy. Now lets take the camera and change the orientation to portrait (turning the camera sideways).
Thats better, all of a sudden by just changing the orientation of the camera the image improves. Its less busy and the composition falls into place. Now the boat and docking poles become the points of interest. The image was improved greatly just by turning the camera 90 degrees and I didn’t even have to move my feet 🙂
So whats the moral of the story Joe ?
The moral of the story is don’t stand still and use your zoom to vary your images. Take the time to move around your subject and shoot it from all different angles. I really think you will be very surprised at the results you get with your images.