An ultrawide angle lens is often the best friend of a landscape photographer. But sometimes it can be advantageous to take a slightly different approach. In this video, photographer Nigel Danson shows the benefits of shooting landscapes with a 70-200mm f/2.8 in the beautiful landscape of Scotland’s Glencoe.
While I do often shoot landscapes myself with a wide angle lens, I do feel like it’s a bit of a copout sometimes. Not in general, just for me. Not that I’m a very good landscape photographer, but it often feels like cheating, in a way. I find it much more difficult to get pleasing landscapes with a long lens, so it’s something I’ll try occasionally with my own 70-200mm f/2.8, just to see if I can something I’m happy with. They’ve never look as good as Nigel’s do, though.
Long lenses for shots that include the landscape are typically the result of another subject being the shot. Sometimes it might be a lone tree in a field of snow, or a human subject against a beautiful backdrop. But for the landscape alone, as its own subject, photographers do tend to go quite wide to include as much of it as possible.
Closing down on specific features of the landscape, though, with a long lens, helps you spot things about it that you couldn’t see before. Of course, it’s all weather dependent, too.
As well as extolling the virtues of longer lenses for landscape photography, Nigel also shows how we can represent landscapes vertically. The vast majority of landscapes are shot in, well, landscape orientation. Hence the name. But shooting them vertically can give them a fantastic and intriguing appearance. He also extends this vertical orientation to his drone landscape shots, too.
This, to me, is particularly interesting, because we almost never see vertical photos from drones. That’s likely due to the fact that it’s impossible to rotate the camera vertically on many drones. But with drone cameras getting such high resolution these days, cropping in post isn’t much of a problem, and it does add an unusual element to the perspective.
I think I’m going to have to try shooting more landscapes with longer focal lengths. And I’m definitely going to need to try more verticals.
Nigel has plenty more great Landscape photography videos over on his channel, so be sure to head on over and check it out.