“Wide Angle”

Boston at Sunset from Longfellow Bridge
Boston at sunset from Longfellow Bridge. The sky in this shot demanded it be included, and the best way to capture its drama was with a wide angle lens. I used a Canon EF 14mm f2.8L II on the EOS 1Ds Mark III. The combination of the full frame sensor and ultra-wide lens allowed me to capture the sky and the city perfectly. The sailboats on the Charles River added some nice foreground interest and brought it all together.

In my three years teaching photo seminars and speaking with photographers and enthusiasts, I see a very

common trend.  Most people when getting into photography, tend to go towards the telephoto end of things when purchasing their next lens.  It’s easy to see why. Telephoto lenses allow us to “get closer” without getting closer.  There is something to be said for that.  But it can also make one into a lazy shooter because there’s no need to change your own positioning.

Wide angle lenses, on the other hand, force a photographer to get physically close. The foreground is emphasized, and the background pushed back, so if you’re not close to what you want to emphasize, it will be minimized by the distortion of perspective that wide angle lenses present.

Montauk Point at Sunrise. This was shot using the EOS 5D Mark II and EF 17-40 f4L lens at 17mm. Here, I placed the camera low to the ground and emphasized the foreground rocks. The change in point of view using wide angles is much more dramatic, so going from a 5'7" meat pod point of view to a few inches off the ground can be a drastic change.

Because of the wider view and emphasis of perspective, wide angle lenses can really change the way you look at things. It’s important to take note of the foreground, the background, any leading lines in the scene, and to make sure that you’re not including anything that you don’t want to.

I’ve really fallen in love with wide angles over the past few years, after seeing the world through a telephoto lens while shooting sports early in my pro career. I’ve included a few samples of wide angle images here to

give you an idea how I see when I attached a wide angle lens.  Some of my favorites are the Canon EF 17-40 f4L, the EF 16-35 f2.8 L II, the Ef 14mm f2.8L II and EF 15mm f2.8 Fisheye. For APS-C sized sensors, there’s just no beating the Canon EF-S 10-22mm lens.

The Bachelor & the Three Graces
For this shot of some ancient redwoods in Yosemite National Park, I again pulled out the Ef 14mm f2.8L II and the EOS 5D Mark II. The wide angle lens greatly emphasized the perspective of these giant trees reaching to the sky. I laid flat on my back to get as much of the trees in as possible.

So now, head on over to my Facebook pageand post your wide angle shots. Let’s see how the world looks through our wides…

Kaaterskill Falls in January
This shot of Kaaterskill Falls is probably one of my um, dumber moments. As I hiked up the falls, I could hear the running water. But when I got to the head of the trail, the falls themselves were a frozen pillar of ice. I walked into what is normally the landing pool but was covered with ice. I had no idea how thick it was, so I was lucky not to have fallen through. I used the EOS 1Ds Mark III, and EF 15mm f2.8 Fisheye. The fisheye enabled me to capture as much of the frozen falls as I wanted to, and allowed me to inclde some sky as well.

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