Photography Tip—6 Techniques To Help You Use a Wide-Angle Lens To Shoot More Powerful Landscapes, Part 2
- Landscape Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots
- Mastering Digital Panoramic Photography
- Creative Landscapes: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques
- The Digital SLR Expert Landscapes
- Bryan Peterson's Understanding Composition Field Guide
- The Landscape Photography Workshop
- The Landscape Photography Field Guide
Digital photography of landscapes is simply better with a wide-angle lens, but only if you learn a few techniques to take full advantage of those unique views. Part 1 of this PhotographyTalk.com article presented the first three of six tips that will help you the most. Part 2 presents the last three.
Leading the Eyes with Lines.
Similar to finding and including an interesting foreground in your landscape photos with a wide-angle lens is the technique of using natural lines (a stream bed) or human-made objects (a path, railroad tracks, etc.) to lead the viewers’ eyes into the frame and toward the primary subjects/objects you want them to see. Think of a wooden farm fence starting from the lower left, across the foreground and then fading into the distance at the middle left of the frame. In the distance in the top right of the frame, on the side of a hill is a classic barn, home or other object or scene. The line of the fence leads the eyes to that object.
Limit the Use of Filters.
A wide-angle lens and polarizing filter are not a good combination if you’re composing photos with blue skies. The filter’s effect on the sky won’t be consistent, and distract from the beautiful landscapes you want to photograph. A polarizing filter can be used to shoot landscapes without any visible blue sky. Screw-in filters are also problematical, as the edges can be recorded in your pictures, especially if you attach multiple filters. Another alternative is to utilize filter packages that include a wide-angle filter frame.
Wide-angle lenses are very simple to focus and, as you turn the focus ring to wider focal lengths, you gain deeper depths of field at specific apertures. This allows you to use the hyperfocal focusing technique. As stated in the PhotographyTalk.com article, Digital Photography—How To Use the Hyperfocal-Focusing Technique, “Hyperfocal focusing of your digital photography is a technique that will help you manipulate and extend the depth of field in certain pictures, such as a landscape, so the entire depth of the picture appears to be in focus.”
There are different hyperfocal distances for each lens aperture. You can find charts online that list the most common lenses and their hyperfocal distances. For example, f/11 is the right aperture at the focal length of 24mm when you focus on a spot approximately six feet in front of the camera. This will result in your entire photo being in focus from approximately three feet in front of the camera to infinity. Change the focal length to 17mm and focus on the correct point in your photo and now the depth of field is 17 inches in front of the camera to infinity at the same f/11 aperture.
As with any piece of photography equipment, a wide-angle lens will provide you with the full value of what you paid for it once you know how it works and how to use it to create artistic and amazing landscape photos.