When trekking on an outdoor adventure with camera in tow, many people’s first instinct is to stick to their widest angle lens like glue in order to fit the most of their surroundings into their images. While wide angle lenses do an excellent job of capturing expansive landscapes, many photographers who strictly abide to their widest lens when shooting the land overlook the exciting possibilities a longer lens provides. Here, Mark Wallace illustrates the contrast between different lenses when photographing landscapes:
Wallace brings up a variety of issues that arise in landscape photography and how exactly a longer lens can solve them.
Perhaps the most common of these conundrums is the issue of capturing interesting elements that are far in the distance. With a wide angle lens, even the most impressive features can appear miniscule. With a longer lens, you can easily bring those previously unattainable subjects much closer.
In the same vein, much of the time landscape photographers find themselves having to compromise between an incredible scene and an unexciting foreground lying directly in its path. However, with a longer lens on hand, you can focus in on the details you’d like while bypassing most undesirable foreground elements entirely.
One of the most noticeable differences a long lens possesses is its incredible ability to compresses images. While wide angle lenses are able to capture a larger area of a landscape, often times the final result seems a little bit flat in comparison to the real thing. With a longer lens, although you might be cropping out some of the surroundings, it’s much easier to exaggerate depth and create a much more dynamic image.
No matter how experienced a photographer you may be, switching up equipment allows you to view your surroundings through fresh eyes. Feel free to break the rules and look at things in a new way—you may just like whatever it is that you see.
“I know you’re thinking: ‘Wide angle lenses for scenic photography?’ but don’t forget that long lenses can REALLY give you some dramatic effects.”