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

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Ed Rizk Veteran Member • Posts: 3,681
Re: Why I am I so bad composing with wide angle lenses?

richard stone wrote:

Kendall Helmstetter Gelner wrote:

I think it's a matter of taste and mood, sometimes I feel lots more like shooting longer stuff, other times I really want to capture a wide subject.

I saw you collected a list of tips for dealing with wide angle images, here's a few more:

1) Keep your camera level if you want vertical lines to appear straight without further post processing work.

2) Nothing wrong with considering cropping a really wide angle image down to a pano!

3) More important the foreground stuff is sharp than background, so err on the side of closer focus if trying to use hyperlocal focus.

4) Since as your notes noted things on the edge get misshapen, you can use that re-shaping to producing a pleasing leading line effect towards the center of the image (works better for objects, re-shapen people might be considered more odd).

I think what is perhaps going on here, for David, and I know this is an assumption, is that he may have the desire to have everything in the frame be (equally) sharp and in focus. To me this is also part of the disturbing allure of the Merrill cameras...

The reality is that we do not see things that are far away with anything like the clarity we can achieve with our Sigma cameras. Trying to keep everything in focus and sharp and detailed strikes me as about as misguided as "lifting" all the shadows in an image, the beginning of the road (paved with good intentions, of course), that leads (sadly) to HDR. Longer lenses can "solve" that problem.

Keeping the distant mountains (or buildings) "in focus" is, to me, something like a visual pun: What exactly is the viewer supposed to "focus" on, in the image? With a WA lens it has to be in the foreground, and middle, distance wise, not the background. Yes, it's fun to peep at these images with everything sharp and in focus, and it can also be disturbing, another legitimate result. (If it is intentional...)

And in the end, if you are trying to take pictures like that you are fighting with reality and your lens choice. I would not say that resistance is futile... But we have to pick our battles.

Reality is highly overrated.

A wide angle shot with a lot of detail should have an overall pleasing composition made up of the larger elements.   The viewer can then look closer and notice the details.

I guess you can use wide angle for environmental portraits where you would try to deemphasize the background detail by blueing it out or darkening it by using flash on the main subject.   But that’s not how a scenic shot works with wide angle.

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Ed Rizk

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