Most of the landscape photography we see these days is made to a fairly standard formula. Throw a wide-angle lens on the camera, find a rock or something for foreground interest, and try to create some depth with a midground and background. It can make for some cool dramatic imagery, but most of it starts to look a little samey, and it can be troublesome because the details can get lost in the overall scene.
Going wide can also be troublesome sometimes because it includes things in the shot that you don’t want there. So, why not go with a lens that’s a little longer and focus on something specific? That’s the topic Nigel Danson explores in this video, presenting us with seven examples of how shooting with a longer focal length can improve our landscape photography.
- Simplify your photos
- React to changing conditions
- Create drama
- Shooting abstracts
- Shooting macro style shots
- Woodland photography – the easy way
In the video, Nigel shows off a number of wide-angle shots with a variety of scenes that all look rather good from a technical standpoint. But they also look quite formulaic like they could’ve been shot by anybody, or the really interesting details just get lost due to being so small relative to the whole image. Nigel then shows the same scenes again, shot with a longer focal length lens, to pick out those details and provide more pleasing and unique compositions.
The difference between the wide-angle and telephoto shots is quite dramatic, and every scene shown in the video is arguably improved by cropping in tight to those details. But Nigel also shows a couple of tricks that simply aren’t possible with wide-angle lenses.
Personally, I often try to avoid wide-angle lenses when I head out into the wilderness unless I’m just trying to capture a record of the location for my own future reference. It’s handy to have a location database of places to visit in the future, especially if you need a good location database for photographing people. But when I’m just going out to shoot the landscape, I will generally just take a 50mm f/1.4 or 70-200mm f/2.8 lens out with me.
And if I want a wide shot, I can still always shoot a series of images and stitch them together in the computer.