My, how different it looks!

When taking photographs your choice of viewpoint and lens makes a huge difference.  Many of you will have digital compact cameras with large zoom ranges, and it’s worth taking a single subject and looking at how it changes as you change the lens focal length (zoom), and also how it changes as you change your viewpoint.  Doing that will help you take better images when you are on your travels.

Below is a series of images where I have changed the lens focal length and changed my viewpoint.  They are of some lobelia plants which are about 2 feet tall.

"Lobelia 18 mm" by Derek Gale

In this first image I used a very wide angle lens, 18 mm, and dropped down to ground level.  Because of the effect of perspective the plants look very tall indeed, and the background includes lots of sky.  The image shows the plant in its surroundings.

"Lobelia 63 mm" by Derek Gale

Moving the viewpoint up a bit and changing to a lens that has a field of view narrower than the human eye, about 63 mm, gives more isolation to the lobelias.  The sky has gone so the background is now just the hedge and the plants in between are less distinct.  The image is more like a plant portrait.  This focal length is good for people portrait photography too.

"Lobelia 300 mm" by Derek Gale

This image has been taken with a 300 mm lens.  It’s the equivalent of the telephoto zoom on some superzoom compact cameras.  The background hedge is now very out of focus, and the lobelia plants look as if they have been cut out.

The images above were taken from a constant direction so the lighting is constant relative to the camera.  It was falling from behind me.  I moved round to see how it would change with backlighting.

"Lobelia 300 mm" by Derek Gale

Still taken with the 300 mm lens and a little bit closer to the lobelia, the image now looks very different.  The background is now very soft.  The backlighting has really lifted the image.

Having taken the shot of the lobelias, I moved my camera a little and took this image of another type of plant.  The backlighting on the flower looked great, and I used a closer plant to give an out of focus area which softened the contrast on the other flower heads.

So, you can see that zooming your lens and changing your viewpoint changes the image a lot.  Get out and have a practice.


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