Lenses for land­scapes

Chris Rut­ter shows how you can use dif­fer­ent view­points to dra­mat­i­cally change the per­spec­tive of your im­ages

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Find out how chang­ing your lens can change your per­spec­tive

It’s of­ten said that lenses change the per­spec­tive of your shots, with wide-an­gle lenses ex­ag­ger­at­ing per­spec­tive and tele­photo lenses com­press­ing it. That’s not ac­tu­ally the case. While it’s true that you need to change the fo­cal length of your lens to achieve dif­fer­ent types of im­ages, the lens doesn’t ac­tu­ally af­fect the per­spec­tive of your im­ages. All the lens does is de­ter­mine how much, or lit­tle, of the sub­ject you in­clude in your im­age. To change the per­spec­tive you need to change the po­si­tion from where you ac­tu­ally take your shot, mov­ing to one side or an­other, shoot­ing from higher up or lower down, or by mov­ing fur­ther away.

The con­fu­sion lies in that once you have cho­sen the point to view the sub­ject from, you then need to use dif­fer­ent fo­cal length lenses in or­der to fit all the el­e­ments in the scene

All the lens does is de­ter­mine how much, or how lit­tle, of the sub­ject you in­clude in your im­age. If you want to change the per­spec­tive you need to change your po­si­tion

that you wish to in­clude into your shot. So, if you are close to the fore­ground sub­ject you need to use a wide-an­gle lens to get ev­ery­thing into your shot, while if you are shoot­ing from a dis­tance you need to use a longer fo­cal length so you can fill the frame with the sub­ject.

When you’re shoot­ing land­scapes, mov­ing to­wards or away from your sub­jects can make a rad­i­cal dif­fer­ence to the sort of shot you’re able to take. Chang­ing your dis­tance from your sub­jects also means you need to choose dif­fer­ent lenses in or­der to fit ev­ery­thing into the frame. Let’s see how it works…

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