Sunday, November 8, 2009

Which Lens? When?

I attended a two hour "Creative Lens Choice" workshop put on by Darwin Wiggett and The Camera Store today. It was two hours well spent. Darwin is an amazing photographer. His presentations are always rich with information and he is an entertaining and enthusiastic speaker - worth catching if you have the chance.

I wanted to share a one quick bit of information from the workshop that really stuck with me. Just like the name of the today's presentation suggests, it is about making creative lens choices.

You cannot make a creative lens choice unless you actually know a bit about the lens types and the effects they produce. Lenses can be broken down in to three basic categories based on focal length - wide angle, normal and telephoto. Wide angle is typically anything less than the "normal" perspective. Normal perspective is what we see, which is approximately the angle of view produced by a 50mm lens on a full-frame camera. So 14mm, 24mm and a 17-40mm zoom would all fall in to the wide angle category. Telephoto takes us beyond the normal perspective and produces a much narrower angle of view. Lenses like 100mm, 70-200mm zoom and 300mm are examples of telephoto lenses.

Each of these types of lenses have different properties and produces a unique effect. Darwin broke it down by lens type and the effect. It looked something like this:

Wide angle = Big foreground, small background and expanded distance

Normal = Well, normal. How we see things with our own eyes.

Telephoto = Small foreground, big background and compressed distance


So next time you are out there shooting pictures think about these lense types, the effects they produce and how you can use that to your creative advantage.


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