Sunday, May 25, 2008

Wide Angle Lens

When I bought my Nikon D80, it came with 2 kit lenses: an 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 and a 55-200 f/4-5.6 with VR. From day one, I've been using almost exclusively the latter, doing more zooming and cropping than anything. And recently I borrowed a friend's 50 f/1.8 prime lens, and I've been using that as well. The 18-55, I have hardly touched.

I think it's because living in L.A. it seems like there's not a lot to shoot with a wide angle lens. Most of the time the sky is a little hazy, so shots with a lot of sky tend to wash out. And looking down at eye level, mostly you just find a lot of clutter - trash, powerlines, cars, grafitti, etc. The zoom & prime lenses do a great job in the city of isolating your subject and removing the clutter. And plus it's easier to just carry one lens, right?

But now here I am in Western Colorado, with a huge blue sky to work with. What a great opportunity to bust out the 18-55 and shoot wide angle at 18mm for a while. I wound up feeling just like a kid at a playground - so much to mess around with, and a whole new approach.

I spent a little time down at Grand Junction's abandoned train station, getting some wide shots of train engines and cars, with huge sky and tons of contrast. Then I drove down to an abandoned farm and pretty much shot everything in sight.

It was a whole new experience. Rather than being 5-10 feet away from a subject and zooming in to frame my shot, using the 18mm focal length I was always 1-2 feet away from my subject at the most. And even at that close distance, the shots felt totally panoramic with a huge sky behind them. So much fun and the pics turned out great - a whole new direction to add to my portfolio.

So, lesson learned - I shouldn't be myopic when it comes to lens choice. And I shouldn't be lazy when it comes to carrying around that bag of lenses. It only takes a second to change lenses, and it's totally worth it to make sure you have the right lens for the shot you want.

So now, I guess I have to grudgingly acknowledge that Grand Junction actually has more to offer than just my in-laws.

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beadinbythesea said...

I don't know a whole lot about cameras but I can relate to wide open spaces having moved from WA state where you're closed in with trees to Eastern Kansas! My little Kodak V570 has a wide angle lens and I love it for scenery shots as well as the close ups of my jewelry.

girl_gone_thread_wild said...

So nice to 'meet' you! Wow, your profile pic is amazing!

I sure wish I could whip up dishes like my grandmothers... I've tried patiently to stand by and copy their moves with no such luck.
My only hope is that flights come down in price justa bit so I can make a trip overseas. Wishful thinking on my part?

Have a wonderful art-filled day!

~Monica :)

The Lone Beader said...

I might need to get a better camera soon - to take pictures of my beadwork. Although my Sony Cybershot 8.1 has gotten me this far!

Anyways, thanks for stoppin by! Cheers from Boston! :D

Connie said...

Paul, thank you for visiting my blog, but later today you'll see storage at its most creative when I post my REAL storage "solutions/UNsolutions"!! Check back late this afternoon. I think your wife would love it!! We're from Calif also but going back next month to visit with kids. Love Idaho though, Mr. Chickadee!! Hah,