Don’t we all love wide angle lenses for landscape photography? After all, they are amazing in gathering in as much of the scene as possible. However, what happens when there are many things in a scene that we do not wish to include, but at the same time we want to keep that stunning foreground object as large as possible? Pictures and simple words are the best way to explain the focal length difference.
I will refer to the foreground as FG and the background as BG. Let’s pretend that the 24mm lens is our FG and the tilt/shift lens is our BG. In all 3 pictures I tried to keep the FG the same size and all have been taken at f/16 aperture and focused on the FG. However, there are some differences.
Next picture: I kept the camera as close to the FG as possible. The zoom lens on my camera indicated 28mm. Notice how far the BG appears to be, although the distance was only 25cm. Also notice that my lens could not focus on the FG at such close distance.
Next picture: This time I moved the tripod further back and zoomed in at 70mm. I adjusted my distance from the FG in order to make it look the same size as the top picture. However, although the FG in both pictures looks the same size, the BG now appears to be larger, and the angle of view narrower. If there were certain elements in the scene that I didn’t want to include in the frame, 70mm would be the perfect choice. Notice that now f/16 was not enough to keep the BG in focus. However, with more precise focus adjustments, I could have the BG in better focus.
Next picture: I repeated the previous step and this time I took the picture at 145mm. The FG is kept the same size but the BG looks even larger. Now, imagine the BG lens being a mountain. Do we always need to use the widest lenses in landscape photography? Food for thought.
Read this article, and many more, in High Definition, inside Issue 28 of Landscape Photography Magazine.