Er­sion

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ex­ag­ger­ates another kind of dis­tor­tion: a stretch­ing out­ward from the cen­tre that be­comes more and more pro­nounced to­ward the cor­ners (see The egg-head ef­fect, be­low). The strate­gies for deal­ing with this per­spec­tive dis­tor­tion are en­tirely in your hands, and de­pend on how you com­pose the shot.

The ex­ag­ger­a­tion of ge­om­e­try is strong­est when you have a close fore­ground and a deep shot, but th­ese are ex­actly the con­di­tions that give ul­tra-wide lenses their spe­cial character. Us­ing an ul­tra-wide for style needs minute at­ten­tion to the cam­era po­si­tion and an­gle. At 14mm, for ex­am­ple, it’s less a mat­ter of how much dis­tor­tion than where, and the slight­est move­ment when you’re fram­ing a shot makes a big dif­fer­ence. An inch to one side can change things dra­mat­i­cally, so shoot­ing with one of th­ese lenses is an in­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence. Do­ing it quickly and well takes prac­tice.

Shot at a fo­cal length of 14mm. When this pho­to­graph was taken I tried to keep heads and other dis­tor­tion-prone shapes away from the edges

A com­bi­na­tion of my tilt­ing for­ward and the man in orange lean­ing back makes his head oval in shape (note the in­crease in size of the con­sole)

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