Happy Groundhog’s Day!
In the initial post in the Landscape Wednesday series, I introduced you to my four guidelines for your own explorations in landscape photography. Number two was: Use a wide angle-of-view.
Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that can imaged by a lens and is interchangeably used with the more general term field of view. So-called “normal” lenses generally cover an angle of view of between 50 and 25 degrees. A wide-angle lens’ focal length is shorter than a normal lens and its field of view typically covers between 100 and 60 degrees. Super wide-angle lenses can cover up to 180 degrees.
My favorite lens for landscape photography is Canon’s EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Ultra-Wide Zoom because it offers me versatility with the SLRS I use that have full-size, 1.3X and 1.6X sensors/ I am sure that Nikon, Olympus, and even Sony shooters will have similar lens options. When shooting my Infrared cameras—EOS Rebel Xti and Rebel Xt—I like to go wider with a Tamron 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di because these cameras have a 1.6x multiplication factor and a more angle-of-view with IR (and even HDR) photographs seems to add to the drama.
There is no “magic bullet” or perfect lens for photographing landscapes but I find that wide-angle lenses produces a dynamic perspective especially in those situations where you can’t back up enough up to capture those wide vistas.
TIP: Be sure to use a lens hood! Capturing large chunks of sky in your photographs increases the chance of flare caused by the front lens element being struck directly with light from the sun that can create the traditional flare artifacts on film but can also reduce contrast and affect apparent sharpness. Get a lens hood for all your lenses; it’s cheap insurance and will protect the front element of the lens from being damaged too.