Why I am I so bad composing with wide angle lenses?

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
OP DMillier Forum Pro • Posts: 21,395
Ok. Some photos to illustrate...

atom14 wrote:

...hankering for a pic or two to see what you mean.

Here are some examples of compositions that come naturally to me without struggle. I spot this kind of subject quickly and can frame it almost without thought:

These are simple compositions, often reliant on line, curve, colour, pattern. Often then tend to be a "flat", single plane. Framing is usually tight, with a primary subject and few distractions.

However, when I try and shoot with very wide lenses (because perhaps, I want the drama), my usual compositional tricks don't seem to work very well. The result is usually a messy, confused picture with random extra elements I don't want.

I'm a big fan of Scottish landscape photographer Bruce Percy. He clearly uses a lens of something around 24mm equivalent quite often in building his tightly framed, tightly composed landscapes. There is something about his style that I feel ought to map quite well to my preferences, yet when I try it doesn't work out like Bruce's. And I can't figure out why....

Here's some example of Bruce's work that I feel I should be able to emulate but can't:

To my mind, Bruce produces quite minimalist, simple compositions, something I strive to do. And I can control it OK with medium and longer focal lengths but I can't with wide angles:  which means I cannot make images with the back to front depth, like Bruce does.

And I can't work out why...

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