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Just how Focal Length Affects What (and How) You See

Your choice of focal length will influence what you see. Would you agree with that will? What if I also said that your choice of central length will affect how you see? That’ s a whole different story, right now isn’ t it? Instead of talking about how focal length affects your own view when you look into the viewfinder, I wish to talk about how focal length can impact how you look at everything around you before you decide to ever even see it in the viewfinder.

Different focal measures will have different fields of look at . For simplicity’ s benefit, let’ s just say that they are going to “ see” the same scene in a different way. Here’ s an example:

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This 20mm lens provides very wide view of Bay area. There are different reasons why some people may prefer this focal length for any scene like this: it can show exactly how vast the city is; it can be very minimalist; it can include a dramatic atmosphere to compliment the buildings.

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Other people might choose the tighter view I got from our 135mm lens. Again, there are various reasons why some people might prefer this particular focal length for a scene such as this: parts of the city, even particular structures, can easily be isolated; you don’ big t feel quite so removed from the particular scene; you can almost completely fill up the frame with buildings, eliminating most of the sky if you’ m like.

Of course , the particular wonderful thing about photography is the fact that there is no right or wrong solution. You might not like either focal duration or you might like both. You may have a completely different reason than the types I listed above. And you know what? That’ s fine!

But… let’ s get back to the point from the article, shall we? If I placed on a lens with a longer central length (105mm, 135mm, 200mm, etc… ) and walk around a town or a landscape, I’ m searching for very different things than if I’ m walking around with a lens using a shorter focal length (14mm, 18mm, 24mm, etc… ). For example , having a longer focal length, I might keep an eye out for interesting details that can endure on their own. I’ m not even taking a look at entire buildings or scenes any longer. I’ m looking at neon indications, doorknobs, engravings, tree trunks plus small bunches of flowers.

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With a broader focal length, I’ m searching for more “ big picture” moments. The small details no longer interest myself since I know they’ ll fail to find a way out in the image. Now I’ meters looking at buildings, the sky and exactly how everything works together in the body. I’ m looking at landscapes. Little groups of flowers don’ t worry me, but entire fields associated with flowers do.

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So here’ s the challenge to you. The next time you’ lso are out shooting for fun, limit you to ultimately one focal length. Ideally, the particular focal length you choose will be a single extreme or the other (telephoto or even wide) so that you’ re required to see the world through different eye than normal. If you’ lso are using a zoom, keep it set to one particular focal length the entire time.

Another option would be to get a macro lens or expansion tube and get up close and personal together with your subjects. Suddenly, a simple garden offers endless opportunities for photos. The city comes alive with consistency. You think you ignored the big image with a longer focal length? Having a macro lens, you’ re abruptly looking for a perfect individual flower in order to photograph.

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This is often a very constructive (and challenging) workout if you’ re used to utilizing a “ normal” focal length such as 35mm or 50mm. Getting your human brain out of 50mm mode can be quite challenging!

This is an exercise that will I’ ve done from time to time plus I’ m always amazed at could start to notice things that I’ ve walked by a hundred times and not noticed before. Not only will you begin to see things differently, you might also start to think differently!

A few months ago, Nasim was visiting Bay area and he brought along the Tamron 15-30mm lens , so of course I needed to take it for a test drive. We kept it at 15mm the whole time I was shooting with it plus it took a while for my mind to adjust to how wide that actually is definitely. While standing at a corner waiting around to cross the street, a very fashionable guy walked up next to myself, stopped and started checking their phone. Immediately, my brain entered 15mm mode and I realized that I really could photograph the guy, the city and also the overhead power lines which are draped over most major roads in SF! Even though he has been only standing about a foot or even two away, I was able to rapidly grab this photo that merely wouldn’ t have been possible having a tighter focal length. It’ h an image that I’ m instead proud of, not so much for the content or even composition, but more because I used to be able to match a scene’ ersus potential with the gear I had offered and create an image in my camera which i initially envisioned in my head.

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Here’ s a single parting bit of advice if you decide to do this and head out with only one zoom lens (especially if you’ re utilized to having a variety of focal lengths together with you at all times)… Don’ t be worried about the shots you missed since you didn’ t have the right central length with you. That’ s some thing that’ s going to happen. Rather, just enjoy the experience of seeing your own world in a different way than you’ lso are used to. Chances are you’ ll possibly come back with different images than you’ re used to as well. Happy capturing!

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