Monday, September 21, 2009

Instructor's Tip: Wide Angle Wow

Photo by Russ Burden

I hope you enjoy this week's "Instructor's Tip" by one of my favorite instructors, award winning nature photographer Russ Burden. To learn more about how Russ captured the above image, join him on one of his photo tours. Visit Russ Burden Photography to get more information.

NOTE: There will be no Photo Tip of the next Monday as Russ be in the Tetons and Yellowstone leading his 10 day photo tour. If you really want to learn a ton about composition, depth of field, how to read the light, and so much more about the art of making great images, I strongly urge you to sign up for one of his photo tours. With over 30 years of teaching experience and Russ' passion for photography, you'll come home a much better photographer in addition to bringing home lifetime memories.

Whether you photograph landscapes, people, photo journalism, travel, macro, or just about anything else, one way to take your image making to the next level is to attach a wide angle lens to your camera. To really introduce you to the world of wide angle, I’m referring to lenses 24mm and shorter based on film cameras. If you’re a digital shooter, you’ll need to allow for the magnification factor and get a super wide, 12-24mm digital lens. Whether you shoot film or digitally, these lenses allow you to take advantage of wide angle perspectives. In this world of wide angle, there are many advantages and a few pitfalls. I share with you four that I call, “GET IT / ALERT / CAUTION / TIGHTEN UP.”

GET IT: Depth of Field - Inherent in a wide angle lens is greater depth of field. This allows the photographer to get everything from the foreground to the farthest point in the background in focus. Given enough light to stop down to f22, many will provide the ability to focus from within inches from the front of the lens out to infinity.

ALERT: In Your Face Foreground - When I run my nature photo tours and I bring the participants to a location where the beauty starts at our feet and runs as far as the eye can see, I have them get down low. This is the first step in producing what I call an “in your face foreground” shot. I want to create a photo where the foreground element is so close to the camera, it’s “in my face.” This creates a dominant foreground which is critical in making a great scenic.

CAUTION: Filter Vignetting - As its name implies, a wide angle lens has a wide field of view. With this in mind, if you add more than one filter to it, it begins to “see” the filter ring and puts dark corners in your image. The more you stop down the lens, the greater the chance of increasing the area of darkness. This is why it’s important to limit the number of filters you attach to a wide angle.

TIGHTEN UP: Close Quarters Shooting - wide angle lenses are synonymous with shooting in cramped spaces. They allow you to include everything in the composition. The wider the lens, the greater the picture area. When I photograph a wedding, ninety five per cent of the shots I take at the reception are made with a wide angle.

Take a class with Russ or a fellow Digital Photo Academy instructor in your area, check out the Digital Photo Academy. I took Russ' intermediate and advanced courses last year, and he continues to be a strong source of knowledge and encouragement as I progress in my photography.

No comments:

Best Posts

Picture Your World Photography is a premiere photographer in the Denver, Colorado Photographer community on