I love to use wide-angle lenses in my landscape photography. To go wide, though, means that you will face a few challenges. One of them is that the objects in the middle of the frame are diminished. A mountain, for example, will look significantly less impressive shrunk down in the middle of the frame. There are several ways you can overcome this. One of them is focal length blend.
How to shoot for a focal length blend
The scene below is from Romsdalen, Norway. I captured the image in October 2017 during a very beautiful sunrise.
I used the Pentax K-1 and the Pentax 15–30, at a focal length of 15mm. The three peaks in the middle of the frame are impressive mountains, but at 15mm they look tiny and modest.
A few minutes later I shot a 30mm image of the scene as you can see in the next image. The mountains are now better sized. Shooting while having a focal length blend in mind is straight forward. If this is what you are going for, it’s a huge advantage to use a zoom lens. Changing between prime lenses is just too cumbersome and time-consuming.
How to blend the images
The real challenge is how to blend the two images. This can be a pretty time-consuming process. I start out with looking for a line I can use as a blending line. The image below shows how I was thinking when I prepared for the blending job. I have marked the line with white.
In Photoshop, I started out with the lasso tool to draw the line I needed. It does not need to be a very precise selection. It depends on the image and the scene. The next step is to use the brush tool to fine-tune the transition line. There will also be some cloning work involved to attain a good and natural-looking blend. (Just for reference, I would characterize the image above as a difficult focal length blend).
I had to use a variety of techniques and approaches when I worked the image. When one approach didn’t work I tried another one, but I learned a lot along the way.
After several hours of work this is how the finished image looks:
To embark on a project like this means that you will face some frustrations along the way. Trial and error are necessary for the end result, and patience. It is also a great advantage if you know how to use masks and the various selection tools in Photoshop. I would also advice you to start out with a simple scene, like for example a mountain which rise up behind a lake or ocean. When you start out I can promise you that it is very satisfying when you are finished, and the image comes together like you envisioned.
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