Welcome to (The Occasional) Photo Tip of the Day! Please also visit my main site jeffwignall.com. Text and photographs Copyright 2016 Jeff Wignall.

“The best way out is always through.”

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Exaggerate Space with a Wide-Angle Lens

Yesterday I closed my posting with a question. Did you get the answer? I'm sure you did! Yes, of course, wide-angle lenses exaggerate or expand apparent space in a photograph. Wide-angle lenses have a wider field of view which creates the illusion of greater distance because they make everything in the frame appear smaller. The farther something is from the lens, the smaller it appears. Also, the wider the lens the more exaggerated space becomes.

Wide-angle lenses are particularly useful when you want to expand space in a landscape photograph. In this street scene taken in the wonderful little town of Prairie City, Iowa, for example, I used an 18mm lens (27mm on my Nikon D70s with the cropping factor) to exaggerate the feeling of distance of this small road. I also used a small aperture (f/22) to keep everything in sharp focus from near to far--which adds to the illusion of distance. One more trick I used to heighten the depth illusion in this photo was to use the power of one-point perspective--letting the road converge to a vanishing point.

What constitutes a wide-angle lens? In basic terms anything wider than a "normal" lens (roughly 50mm in 35mm format, for example) is considered wide angle. The most useful lenses are those that have a 35mm equivalent focal length of between 21mm and 28mm (again, we have to talk in 35mm equivalents because different sensor sizes make the actual focal lengths irrelevant in general terms). There are wider lenses--up to about 10mm--but these begin to fall into the range of "fisheye" lenses, or extremely wide-angle lenses used only for special effects. (And since I have a fisheye lens on order, I'll write more about them very soon!)

Get to know how all of your zoom lens settings or different DSLR lenses transform various scenes and you'll always know which lens to turn to for a specific effect.

No comments: