Question about Wide Angle Lens...

Joined
Mar 5, 2007
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546
Location
Greensboro, NC
...I am interested in acquiring a wide angle lens (10-20 zoom range) and have a question about shooting / framing methods. I see a lot of portrait orientated shots where the bottom of the picture is real close to you and the top of the photo fades to infinity. These shots do not show distortion at the ends like the landscape shots do.

Do you find yourself generally taking landscape orientated shots, and then crop the sides to form a portrait shot??? It seems to me that shooting at 10mm gives you a world of possibilities for cropping photos.

Is there any information on the net about shooting methods for wide angle lens?

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Rob
 
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Sep 21, 2008
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The best tip with shooting wide angle is to get really close to the subject so you can get that look. Some people mistake a wide angle for getting everything in the picture. When they do, everything is in the pic, but small and its boring looking. The best wide angle shots with people in them, is to get as close as possible which makes the viewer feel they almost in the shot.

You can also get wierd an interesting angles by just tilting a few degrees that can make a humdrum picture into something interesting.
 

Growltiger

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The distortion that people associate with ultra wide angles is really only in their own heads. To see what I mean try this experiment.

Find a person who will cooperate. Stand 12 inches from them with one eye held shut. Aim your head 30 degrees downwards. Stay there for at least 60 seconds and try to forget what you know about their shape and instead try to see the image without processing it in your head. Stop compensating. If you keep trying you will eventually see an image exactly like a 10mm lens sees. The person's nose will be huge, their feet will be tiny and far away.

Once you learn to do this, you will be able to see vertical buildings with converging sides - or not, as you wish. You will learn to see the world as if through a 10mm lens. Then you can start to make creative use of what you see, and be able to use the lens to best advantage.

You asked about taking landscape and then cropping to portrait. I don't see this as useful - far better to take the picture as you want it in the first place.

PS. I'm not referring here to lens errors, like barrel distortion, I'm referring to "apparent perspective distortion".
 
Joined
Mar 5, 2007
Messages
546
Location
Greensboro, NC
Richard:

Thank you for the thorough reply. I tried your experiment and found it amazing that you can see like a 10mm lens! I used a hat tree because my kids thought it was "weird" that I wanted to stare at them.

I have purchased a 10-20 lens and just beginning to learn the possibilities of going wide angle.

Thanks again,

Rob
 
L

LSSE

Guest
The distortion that people associate with ultra wide angles is really only in their own heads. PS. I'm not referring here to lens errors, like barrel distortion, I'm referring to "apparent perspective distortion".

agree 100% and that's a really clever trick btw!

I will add that the only distortion present in these and other lenses is often barrel or pincushion which is corrected easily in post processing if desired. perspective distortion is indeed not due to the lens at all.

Another thing to remember is that our brains perceive different than they see. People don't just "see" things they "understand" images. Take for instance a railroad track.
450px-Railroad-Tracks-Perspective.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


your brain "knows" the lines are parallel yet if you view their projection on the 2D plane that's the image they don't look parallel. Yet your brain tells you "see those converging lines? in 3D that's parallel even though your retina "sees" them converging. You know that if you looked at your feet you'd see two parallel lines like this
| |.
Yet look up and they are "seen" as
/ \.
Yet to you they are still "understood" as
| |.

People have troubles with UWA because it only increases what they capture to the side thus making this sort of paradox more obvious. But if you pause a little and "observe" rather than understand images you'd know people leaning sideways when you point that UWA lens up is not only expected but also natural. Even if it looks "strange".


The best tip with shooting wide angle is to get really close to the subject so you can get that look. Some people mistake a wide angle for getting everything in the picture. When they do, everything is in the pic, but small and its boring looking. The best wide angle shots with people in them, is to get as close as possible which makes the viewer feel they almost in the shot.

I agree to some extent. It is not that taking everything in the lens makes for a boring picture but that like with all lenses, you have to have a subject that stands out from it's surroundings. ONE way to make that subject stand out is to jam the lens as close as possible. Yet other subjects do not need this technique, for instance a large building, the grand cannon, a large lake, etc won't necessarily look their best with the lens smaked next to them. Before you take the pic I suggest thinking about the subject and how to best potray it.
 

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