Telephoto and Wide Angle Landscape Image

I watch a lot of photographers on YouTube, because that’s the kind of exciting fast-paced life I have. Anyway, in one of the videos the landscape photographer was advising about how to spur creativity while you’re out shooting by taking some long focal-length photos, some normal focal-length, and some wide shots in the same scene. I guess the theory is that each one would make you think about your surroundings in a different way and come up with some creative shots. I thought it sounded like good advice as sometimes (most of the time) I feel like I am in a creative rut when out with my camera. So, Sunday morning I went out and attempted this plan.

First, the wide-angle lens. When shooting with a really wide lens, you take in an enormous amount of the landscape which is nice when you have a sweeping vista, but it means it is hard to shoot around stuff that you don’t really like. It also tends make anything in the close foreground look unusually large and can make mountains in the distance shrink and look less majestic. I like to shoot very wide as I like taking in all of the landscape, but I realize that it does make a lot my photos look too messy.

On this Sunday morning I set off hiking just before dawn and by the time I got over the ridge to the back of the wildlife refuge, the sun was beginning to find its way over some clouds on the horizon. I wanted to capture the new warm light on the grassy hillside with the trail winding out into the distance. The image below was shot at 15mm focal length, which is considered a very wide focal length. It does make the landscape seem vast and the horizon seem more distant than it is.

I spent a lot of time editing the above photo in Lightroom, which was painful as Lightroom is misbehaving for me right now. The foreground trees were almost black so I had to help them out, and I hazed up the sun a little bit so it seemed less harsh. I will also say that I have a really nice wide lens. I tried a similar shot with my “kit lens” and got a huge lens flare spot in the bottom of the image. I don’t know what Nikon did with this lens, but it worked.

I took some mid focal-length shots and none of them turned out well. As soon as I took the above photo a cloud bank moved in and ruined some things I was trying. I also worked on some long focal-length shots. The longer, telephoto shots allow you to focus on details in the landscape by narrowing the angle of view. So, I put on the 100-400mm lens and began looking for details. I started shooting some brightly lit trees beyond a hill in the distance, but they quickly lost their light thanks to the clouds. But, looking down at my feet I saw a nice little scene to work on.

A few flowers are springing up among these eroded stones and I thought it made a nice miniature scene. I set the tripod as low as it would go and waited for some sunlight to get through a hole in the clouds to warm up the scene. The first image is shot at 100mm which still give you some focus depth in a tight scene. You can see enough of the eroded stone in the background to understand what it is, but it isn’t tack-sharp. If I had been a little less ethical, I guess I could have pulled a few grasses out of the way to improve the scene.

Next I zoomed in really close and when you do this you dramatically reduce the focus depth for items close to the lens. The image below is shot at 380mm, f/10 and you can see that the stone just behind the flower is far out of focus. This does help isolate the flowers, though those dark holes in the background stone still stand out quite a bit. At this point, my few minutes of sunlight ended with some heavier clouds and I packed up and went back to hiking.

Well, that is my wide lens – long lens exercise. The flower close-up seems only loosely related to the large vista in the first image and you wouldn’t know that both photos were taken from the same place. Not sure I was successful in this exercise but it gave me something to think about.

16 thoughts on “Telephoto and Wide Angle Landscape Image

  1. “Exciting, fast paced life..” šŸ˜‚ Thanks for the laugh!
    Hope your photo editor stops misbehaving , but the photos are great.
    Looking forward to seeing more of Texas wildflowers close up. šŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Jason, we all have exciting paced lives, we just lead them in our own way, lol. I love you photos, I still have the calendar you sent me up just to look at the pictures you took. I intend to frame them to put them in my den. I mean, pictures of Texas? Yes please. Texas landscapes are so beautiful and not everyone can find the beauty when the political landscape has crashed and burned.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. All very nice photos. Now I want to go stomp around in the hill country of Texas. I like those eroded rocks with the holes in them, and I think they would have made a good photo subject all by themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

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