Wide angle composition

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Halftime in Central Florida, halftime RV'ing.
I'd like to propose a thread to deal with the subject of composition with wide and ultra wide lenses. I have a 14-24 lens that doesn't get the use it deserves. It seems that wide angle shooting, at least for me, presents challenges in terms of composition. Some of the issues are obvious, I suppose. One must control carefully the amount of information in the shot, to avoid distractions. There are issues with distortion, which can hurt a shot, or be a conscious element in the image. Wide shots can cover a large area, or be close up. It occurred to me that it might be interesting to get some the shooters in the Cafe community to share some images, insights and inspiration on this subject. Any interest?

I'll start. Here's a few of my attempts. Both D700, 14-24 2.8 at 14mm

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C&C OK on these shots, but what I'm really interested in is discussion on composition with WA. These are a pretty scenes as wide as I could get with the glass at hand. That's OK, but I'm convinced there's more that can be done with this great lens. Talk about how YOU see in wide angle. Post images!
 
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I think the challenge with a WA composition is the foreground. The DOF is enormous but you sometimes have to get low to "see it" in your head.

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Growltiger

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I like the depth that the wide angle has allowed in the second photo, very well framed.

The first seems fairly ordinary and I can't see that the wide angle has added to it. This is the problem with wide angle and landscapes - everything is so small.

Here are some, all taken with the Nikon 10-24 at its widest, 10mm (15mm equivalent). None of these photos was possible without such a wide lens.
(I love the 10-24. It is a small light lens, and at 15mm equivalent is only slightly less wide than the 14-24.)

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Please ignore the arrow on the next one - it was to show where I took the following photo from.
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This last one uses a favourite technique of mine, I put the camera on the ground using the timer and step back while it takes the photo straight up.

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I think the challenge with a WA composition is the foreground. The DOF is enormous but you sometimes have to get low to "see it" in your head.


That's it exactly. The challenge is to get something in the foreground to make the shot look three dimensional. What one wants to avoid is a shot that looks like it was taken with a standard FOV but the photographer backed up (a lot).
 
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A vertical WA comp.

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DSC4575-M.jpg
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Keeping the bench in the frame and in focus leads the viewer's eye to the guy in the pic.
 
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I still have a lot to learn, but here are my personal guidelines that I try to follow (and try to combine in a single shot, if I could)

GET CLOSE to the foreground
5525306957_084298b215_z.jpg
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Abalone Cove Tidepool - Palos Verdes, CA by JGI, on Flickr

Make use of a leading line
5580321110_84915c21b4_b.jpg
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D7H_2508-Edit by JGI, on Flickr

don't forget the rule of thirds
5424150762_70fda4b7ea_b.jpg
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Redondo Beach at sunset by JGI, on Flickr

here I combined the get close + rule of thirds + leading line in one frame
5424322998_9919f8c370_b.jpg
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Redondo Beach, CA by JGI, on Flickr

also try to find your lens' sharpest aperture without hitting diffraction. This is f/8 on the 16-35
5362128078_d598735ea5_b.jpg
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Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View / D700 & 16-35 by JGI, on Flickr
 
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Rock Hill, South Carolina
I think the challenge with a WA composition is the foreground. The DOF is enormous but you sometimes have to get low to "see it" in your head.

It is more than just that foreground that must be connsidered. In shooting with a normal lens you must think foreground and background. That is not enough with most wide-angle shots. With a wide-angle, and particularly ultra-wide-angle, the stretching of the areas in the shot are so great that you must think of the shot as having three distinct areas - foreground, midground and background. With a wide-angle, if you merely think foreground and background, you can easily and up with a large expanse of blank area in between the foreground and background. It is important to think about having something of interest in each of the three areas.

Another important compositional aspect to consider in wide-angle is that leading lines more important, as their impact is greatly exagerated.

I wish that I could post some examples, but my main computer is down right now.
 
Joined
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Halftime in Central Florida, halftime RV'ing.
I still have a lot to learn, but here are my personal guidelines that I try to follow (and try to combine in a single shot, if I could)

GET CLOSE to the foreground
[URL]http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5052/5525306957_084298b215_z.jpg[/url]
Abalone Cove Tidepool - Palos Verdes, CA by JGI, on Flickr

Make use of a leading line
[URL]http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5020/5580321110_84915c21b4_z.jpg[/url]
D7H_2508-Edit by JGI, on Flickr

don't forget the rule of thirds
[URL]http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5216/5424150762_70fda4b7ea_z.jpg[/url]
Redondo Beach at sunset by JGI, on Flickr

here's an example of get close + rule of thirds + leading line in one frame
[URL]http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5136/5424322998_9919f8c370_z.jpg[/url]
Redondo Beach, CA by JGI, on Flickr

also try to find your lens' sharpest aperture without hitting diffraction. This is f/8 on the 16-35
[URL]http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5161/5362128078_d598735ea5_b.jpg[/url]
Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View / D700 & 16-35 by JGI, on Flickr

Lovely shots Joseph. Good thoughts on composition. That 16-35 is working for you, isn't it! Thanks.
 
Joined
May 1, 2007
Messages
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Location
Halftime in Central Florida, halftime RV'ing.
It is more than just that foreground that must be connsidered. In shooting with a normal lens you must think foreground and background. That is not enough with most wide-angle shots. With a wide-angle, and particularly ultra-wide-angle, the stretching of the areas in the shot are so great that you must think of the shot as having three distinct areas - foreground, midground and background. With a wide-angle, if you merely think foreground and background, you can easily and up with a large expanse of blank area in between the foreground and background. It is important to think about having something of interest in each of the three areas.

Another important compositional aspect to consider in wide-angle is that leading lines more important, as their impact is greatly exagerated.

I wish that I could post some examples, but my main computer is down right now.


Well stated, Cliff. Lots to think about there. WA really does compress a lot of information into the frame. It all must be considered and accounted for in the composition. Will your computer be up again soon. I'd like to see your examples....
 
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Nova Scotia, Canada
I find that used a focusing screen that has grid lines on it is a valuable tool. It helps me keep the camera level and avoid having skewed verticals and horizontals. If needed, it also helps place objects in the frame (rules of thirds, etc).
 
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San Diego, Ca. (Fallbrook)
Wide Angle

Wide-angle images tend to be more engaging for the viewer because they seemingly pull them into the scene. They seem surreal and dreamy in nature. I incorporate them when I am attempting to include a lot of real estate in the image, or want the viewer to engage his imagination. A well executed wide angle image should make the viewer feel as though he is an actual participant and not merely an observer.

12mm
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10mm
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10mm
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10mm
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USA
I love shooting WA and keep a WA lens on my camera 90% of the time. I don't think there is right or wrong ways to use it.
Foreground interest helps but this seems true for most pics regardless of lens.
To me the best way to understand how you want to use your WA lens is to always move your head around while looking through the viewfinder to see how every angle effects the scene. Kneel down and do the samething. After some time of doing this you will get more used to how certain angles impact shots and you will start to previsualize your shots better
 
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Clearwater, Florida
I had a thread on WA shots for portraits last year. I normally shun wide angle lenses for portraits, but I used my Nikkor 14-24mm lens on my D700 so much on my trip to Yellowstone, that I wound up with many people photos with this lens. The distortion is there, and not always flattering, but it gives a great sense of the landscape along with the people on my trip.

1. The kids in front of old faithful
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2.Artist's point
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3.Hiking the Yellowstone River
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4. This fellow is 77 and took his daughter along with him for the trip.:smile:
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5. My son taking a break in front of the Tetons
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6. The family that bikes together...
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7. Look at those mountains!
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In the end, I'm less afraid of this lens where people are involved. I don't reach for it for portraits, but it can work if WA is needed.
 

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