You know I’ve been studying photography through a home course DVD set. Lesson four covered several of the main settings on your camera: drive modes, shooting modes, etc. I learned a few new things in this section even though I’d had my camera awhile.
The main learning focus of lesson four was to explore focal length. We learned to understand the characteristics of wide angle and telephoto lenses and when each might be appropriate.
Wide -angle lenses can create converging lines, increase distortion and size differences of items in the photo. Telephoto lenses compress items in the photo and make them appear closer together.
The exercise of this lesson was to take multiple photos from the same area using a wide-angle, normal range lens (around 50-55mm which is similar to how the human eye views things), and telephoto lens.
Notice how the lines of the piano all converge smaller towards the back and the items in the front of the piano and back of the piano are all in decent focus (look at the picture, the jar, and the ivy). Wide angle works well for landscapes where you want dramatic lines and the sense of movement from distortion between objects in the front and back. It’s not my ideal choice for this particular shot but it was dark outside when I did this exercise.
With the 55mm focal length there’s less distortion and the relationships between the individual items in the shot are similar to the way the appear to the human eye. While the wide angle lens adds more space, and telephoto compresses the space, these items appear more true-to-life.
At 100mm telephoto lenses seems to bring the items in the frame closer together. At this focal length the incense, the glass jar and the ivy are very close. Additionally the depth of field is smaller so ivy in the back and the bit of picture frame in front of the jar are both blurred.
This photo was taken at 250mm which is my highest telephoto focal length. It has extreme compression because even the leaves that are touching the glass jar are blurred and the whole ivy plant appears to be very close to the jar.
If you want to join me on my weekly lessons you can pick up your own copy of Learn and Master Photography DVD set. I had a lot of fun with this week’s lesson and will be switching up my focal lengths in my photography a lot more when the occasion arises.