Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Create dramatic and dynamic landscape images when you explore the ultrawide end of the spectrum
As their name suggests, ultra-wide-angle lenses take in very wide angles of view. This lets you produce dramatic landscape vistas in a single shot or move in very close to a subject and still show its environment. In this issue of OP, we have an article on the creative use of the close-up wide-angle technique. It's one of the most powerful effects in landscape photography, and it's ideally suited to these lenses (see "Close-Up Wide-Angle").
The advantage of an ultrawide zoom over a prime super-wide-angle lens is compositional flexibility: You can change the amount of background area that appears around a nearby subject by zooming the lens. You also can adjust the framing of a distant scene without moving the camera just by zooming the lens. Note that changing the framing by zooming the lens doesn't change the perspective; you must move the camera to do that.
Ultrawide Lens Considerations
Lenses work by refracting light rays. Really wide-angle lenses have to bend light rays to a greater degree than longer-focal-length lenses do. This makes ultrawide lenses more susceptible to various aberrations and distortions. And zoom lenses change the way they bend the light as they change their focal lengths, compounding the problems. It's not an easy task to design and produce a good super-wide-angle lens, especially a super-wide zoom.
Note that the tilting inward of vertical subjects near the frame edges when the camera is tilted up and the expanded perspective that occurs when using a wide-angle at close range aren't optical distortions. They're natural effects of perspective. To avoid the appearance of tilting, you need to have the DSLR's sensor parallel to the subject. In many cases, this requires a tilt-shift lens.
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