Long Lens Landscapes

Think out of the box and find something to make your photographs distinct
Click Images To Enlarge This Article Features Photo Zoom

Fill in the blanks using word association:

UP / _________
BLACK / _________
APPLE / ________
CONTINENT / ________
LANDSCAPE LENS / _________

Here are my answers - down; white; computer; North America; and finally, minimum of 200mm. "Minimum of 200mm - have I gone nuts? Everyone in their right mind knows to photograph landscapes with a wide angle lens!" This is exactly my point. You don't always want your landscape photos to look like everyone else's. Allow your images to stand out and be different. Try something different. By no means am I telling you stop capturing landscapes with your trusty 28mm. My goal is it to get you to think out of the box and find something to make your photographs distinct.

ISOLATE DETAILS: With many subjects, you’ll encounter opportunities to find an image within an image. For instance, if you‘re photographing native people in a market place, a good shot to include in your cache is a tight shot of what’s being sold. But sometimes you can’t get close to their wares. Out comes the telephoto. Why not apply the same principal to your landscapes? Instead of just using a stand of fall colored aspens as a foreground element, zoom in to single out a uniquely shaped tree that works on its own. In the image of the maple leaves and birch trunks, I zoomed into a section of trees to isolate the pattern of the trunks and to emphasize the color contrast of the bark and leaves.

COMPRESS PERSPECTIVE: Telephoto lenses compress perspective. What this means is foreground and background objects appear much more compacted than they actually are. This can be used to your advantage if you want the compositional elements to appear flattened. The quintessential example is receding mountain layers that seem to be very close to each other, but in actuality are separated by miles. There are many other situations where you can take advantage of this perspective distortion. Buildings can be made to look closer in a cityscape, traffic can be made to look more congested, and crowds of people can look more dense.

EXTRACT: Every year I return to the same locations when I run my photo tours. It’s my goal to find at least one new shot at each location for my participants so they go home with something fresh. While in Bryce Canyon, the standard lens with which to shoot is a wide angle zoom. Shifting paradigms, I decided to photograph an entire sunrise with a long telephoto. Shooting exclusively with my 80-400, I began to extract portions of the wide angle landscape. I slowly scanned the canyon with my eye to the viewfinder and I stumbled across an image of a solitary tree hidden amongst the hoodoos.

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1 Comment

    My go-to places for photography locally are parks and using my long lens,100-400mm, enables me to crop out homes, power poles, etc. that i don’t want in my shots.

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