Su per-tele­pho­tos – Com­press­ing per­specti ve

Go long and cap­ture scenes that you can’t see with the naked eye…

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pho­tograph­ing the whole thing”, adding, “I think if you add too much to your pic­ture, you di­lute it.”

In ad­di­tion, the es­sen­tial tele­photo qual­i­ties of com­pres­sion, flat­ten­ing and plane-stack­ing are ex­ag­ger­ated. As you can see in the flamin­goes im­age above, not only is the fram­ing all but in­vis­i­ble to the eye, but the scene it cov­ers, prob­a­bly around 10 me­tres deep, is vis­ually squashed flat, with the dis­tinct im­pres­sion that the birds be­hind have some­how rid­den up­ward in the frame.

Two huge draw­backs at­tend this world of nor­mally un­seen im­agery: weight and cost. A Nikon 600mm f/4 weighs five ki­los, mak­ing it more or less im­pos­si­ble to hand-hold, and awk­ward even to walk around with. And then there’s the price (£7,000 / $9,800). There is an an­swer of sorts, which is to use a mir­ror lens (see A Dis­tant Mir­ror, be­low) and ac­cept a drop in im­age qual­ity.

This im­age was shot at an ef­fec­tive fo­cal length of 840mm, and the ex­ag­ger­ated com­pres­sion ef­fect this has pro­duced makes the flamin­goes seem much closer to­gether than they were in re­al­ity

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