Landscape photography – I started off years ago with the broad assumption that for all landscape photography we had to use a wide angle lens. I confess I am not too sure where this assumption originated from but it was there, in my head.
Wrong! Landscapes are not at all easy to photograph in the sense that we are seeking to capture and convey a deep sense of what attracted us to the location in the first place and want to share that wonder with others. True the landscape could stretch out before us, or contain a sweeping oxbow river below us and huge vistas like this could demand the use of a wide lens to ‘get it all in’. But have you ever looked at a scene and thought that what inspires you is just a part of that scene, and not the whole picture?
I was in Tuscany a few years back and was fascinated by a vineyard on an opposite hill near the town of Montalcino. The trouble was that there was a blue featureless sky, and a messy valley floor included. So using a 70-200mm lens, near the 200mm end, I was able to crop out those aspects of the scene that, to me, were NOT what my vision was about and render what impressed me to my viewers.
Two key points here:
1. by using a long lens we are ‘compressing the perspective’, the result of which is to scrunch the selected area up a bit and really make it abundantly clear to the viewer that it was THIS that caught your eye, and not the surrounds.
2. the long lens also helps you to crop out all that is not needed and still gives a decent resolution – so you have no need to crop later and lose vital file size.
The shot here is of the vineyard and you can see how steep that hill looks! Also, note the dynamic approach of the vines ascending the hill diagonally and where I opted to locate the stone hut.
If you have never tried using a longer lens for landscape work then DO give it a try. You may end up being pleasantly surprised. Let me know?