In a previous post about Landscape Photography I introduced you to my four guidelines that could be used 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 scene that can imaged by a lens and is interchangeably used with the more common 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.
Lately, my favorite lens for landscape photography is the Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 that I’ve borrowed from a friend. It has a field-of-view of 110 degrees. I’ve been using the first generation of this lens with a Fotodiox Leica SM adapter for Micro Four-thirds cameras. A third generation model in Leica M mount has been announced and it looks impressive,
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: When shooting with wide angles lenses, 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.