Nikon D7100, 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 lens, f/8, 3 frame HDR, ISO 800.
Ultra-wide angle lenses can add a lot of motion and engagement to your images. However, images may lack impact if you don’t have something in the foreground. When I say ultra-wide, I mean shorter than 18mm on cropped sensor, or shorter than 24mm on a full frame camera. These lenses expand the apparent distance in the image, and if you’re not very close to something, then the viewer doesn’t feel a part of the image, and it’s kinda boring.
I was recently in San Diego and I got personalized tour from my buddy, Tony Amat. I first shot the image above with a 50mm lens, but it was boring–totally average looking. So I borrowed Tony’s 10-24mm lens, laid down on the ground, and placed these rocks a few inches from the lens. Now the line of the rocks and the dock lead the eye through and point to the bright building and the lovely sky. For anyone who knows, it’s clearly San Diego, but it’s little different view, and maybe not quite as common.
In this next one, I used a 50mm lens, turned the camera vertically, and shot 12 frames for a panorama (which gives an even wider image than an ultra wide lens). I considered going past the boats on the beach to shoot the long bridge, but realized that the boats in the front would give some depth and perspective. The boats are my foreground element.
Then I swapped lenses with Tony, again, and moved in even tighter, using individual boats as the foreground and subject. The bridge still gives context, indicating exactly where the image is made.
Use your ultra-wide lens to get a new view of common places. National Parks, famous cities, and landmarks of all kinds take on a new flavor–your flavor–when you shoot ultra-wide with various foreground elements. Get out there and make your images uniquely you.
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Thanks for spending some time with me, Tony! It was sure fun to see your town through your eyes.
Wanna join Levi on an adventure exploring a city? Come to Chicago for the Out of Chicago Conference where Levi will be teaching Lightroom techniques and joining other incredible instructors for a weekend of learning and photowalking madness. You’ll also find him on Twitter: @PhotoLevi
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