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Author Topic: when is wide too wide?  (Read 38722 times)
Wim van Velzen
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« on: August 19, 2012, 02:40:59 AM »
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hi all,

Having worked with a maximum of 40mm on 6x6, I was never used to really wide angle photography. In recent years I have been working with a digital back and learned the wonders of stitching. And then comes the moment: do I still like esthetically what I can do technically?

For example this picture of Glencoe Pass: the fact that in the same photograph you can have a normal look forward to the hills as well as a look of the waterfall floor underneath seems a bit weird. Or is this just a new look we all get used to? [ I recall having read a warning in a '70s photo magazine, stating that a 28mm wide angle in the hand of an amateur is a recipe for disaster... ]

I also post a picture of the same spot, with the same angle, but without giving me the 'too wide' feeling.

What do you think?
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stamper
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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2012, 03:19:26 AM »
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I don't see a problem. Both images are fine. If you have two lenses then take both views. Don't just use the longer focal length and ignore the wider one. In the first you see the context in which it is set and in the second the close up detail. Whoever made the quote is being ridiculous for the sake of it? Smiley
« Last Edit: August 19, 2012, 03:21:35 AM by stamper » Logged

louoates
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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2012, 08:42:56 AM »
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Two completely different subjects here. The vertical is all about the moving water and the intrinsic interest a waterfall contains. The horizontal, to me, loses all the interest by bringing in too much extraneous information. My thinking of this scene is that you just had to get closer with the wide shots. Way closer, so that the waterfall still serves as the main center of interest.
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ckimmerle
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« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2012, 10:07:10 AM »
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It's not like it has to be one way or the other. If a particular scene needs to be shot extra wide, use technology to your advantage and make it so. If it doesn't need it, use whatever lens works best.

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Wim van Velzen
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« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2012, 01:30:52 PM »
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Thanks for the input!
The reason I didn't take a picture from a lower viewpoint, is simply that it was out of reach (this is taken from a kind of bridge) - but I admit it would have been a better picture.

It is not so much the question 'which of both is the best', but more: 'is a wide angle effect, where you have around 90 degrees view vertically, for you esthetically pleasing?'. For me my own example isn't, but maybe it is a look I get used to - the same as we collectively got used to a 28mm wide angle effect.

The author of that quote was not being ridiculous, just reflecting the esthetics of his time I think.
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2012, 02:09:02 PM »
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The two images look anything but shot from the same spot or angle, the vertical shot looks taken far more from a position to the right. (Perhaps you didn't mean 'spot' as in camera position, but as in the general scene - it's very hot here and difficult to concentrate.)

The problem with wides isn't the wides, it's the way people sometimes use them. Generally, unless one is consciously trying for an effect, the focal length is best used in as neutral a manner as possible. Pix that depend on distortions etc. usually lack much else. Equally, some impressive images couldn't be made without exploiting the viewpoint/focal length in use.

Maybe it's just not a particularly dramatic scene that you chose to photograph. Looking uphill or downhill is usually quite difficult to do well in a way that shows the sense of height in either direction unless you are dealing with regular buildings; nature can look like anything, so where the clues unless you use waterfalls, as you have done?

Rob C
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2012, 12:54:06 AM »
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'is a wide angle effect, where you have around 90 degrees view vertically, for you esthetically pleasing?'.
It's an interesting subject. Almost all extreme wide angle and panoramic format photos are horizontal. I think the reason is that they are more 'natural' as the eye tends to scans horizontally, rather than vertically. Hence most people will find horizontal wide angles more comfortable to view.
There's also less obvious perspective distortion, which again helps comprehension of the subject.
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stamper
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« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2012, 02:21:35 AM »
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Two completely different subjects here. The vertical is all about the moving water and the intrinsic interest a waterfall contains. The horizontal, to me, loses all the interest by bringing in too much extraneous information. My thinking of this scene is that you just had to get closer with the wide shots. Way closer, so that the waterfall still serves as the main center of interest.

You wouldn't have taken the wide angle shot as well?
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louoates
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« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2012, 03:25:51 PM »
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You wouldn't have taken the wide angle shot as well?

Stamper, yes I would have taken the wide shots but from much closer. It would serve to minimize the surrounding stuff that serves as a reference to place while still showing enough of it without minimizing the waterfall.
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stamper
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« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2012, 02:24:10 AM »
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Of course the one advantage of the wide angled shot is the ability to crop? There are numerous times I have taken an image at a long focal length and then wished I had taken it wider. It is a more flexible approach assuming you are willing to lose pixels.
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RSL
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« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2012, 12:19:20 PM »
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Really? Wide angle so you can crop? Why not use a longer lens and just bang away in all directions? You can merge the stuff later on and you'll have a lot more pixels to work with. You might even be able to find a picture somewhere in all that stuff.
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stamper
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« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2012, 03:14:18 AM »
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Russ you were quite happy to praise the poster in this thread when he posted a cropped image.

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=69706.msg552922#msg552922

I didn't see the jibe about.

<You might even be able to find a picture somewhere in all that stuff.>

I would be really interested if you would state definitively your view about cropping. Sometimes you state you are against it, as in your above post and other times you ignore it when it is presented to you as in the above link. Does it boil down to the mood you are in? Smiley

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louoates
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« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2012, 03:57:36 PM »
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A technique I use all the time with landscapes is to take multiple shots right to left with a 200 to 400 mm telephoto ala shooting then stitching them together ala panorama. Everything gets equally "up front" and you can crop to your heart's content. The added benefit is having a huge file size for virtually any enlargement you need.
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RSL
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« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2012, 06:45:02 AM »
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I would be really interested if you would state definitively your view about cropping. Sometimes you state you are against it, as in your above post and other times you ignore it when it is presented to you as in the above link. Does it boil down to the mood you are in? Smiley

Stamper, As far as I'm concerned the art of photography is in what you frame on your camera. That means you see what you're after, frame it, and shoot it. You don't bang away hoping you might find a picture later when you're playing around in Photoshop. There are times when you can't get exactly what you want: the scene is vanishing and you're not yet close enough, so you have to include things in the frame that you know you'll have to crop out later. But if you're having to crop more often than once in a blue moon, you haven't mastered your art.
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Rob C
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« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2012, 06:58:28 AM »
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Stamper, As far as I'm concerned the art of photography is in what you frame on your camera. That means you see what you're after, frame it, and shoot it. You don't bang away hoping you might find a picture later when you're playing around in Photoshop. There are times when you can't get exactly what you want: the scene is vanishing and you're not yet close enough, so you have to include things in the frame that you know you'll have to crop out later. But if you're having to crop more often than once in a blue moon, you haven't mastered your art.



That says it all, accurately.

The single exception I have to sneak in here is cellpix: framing is largely guesswork (hardly lenswork - oh, never mind, it's the humidity) and so cropping has become a regular, nay, constant feature of such work with me. And would you believe that even then I often find I've chopped something off in my shot in the dark?

But, reverting to the original theme of cropping, I believe that the avoidance of doing that is a result of working a lot with 35mm film, both colour tranny and negative, where acreage counted a very great deal.

Rob C
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WalterEG
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« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2012, 07:19:53 AM »
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Coming, as I did, from Motion Picture and Television, cropping has never really been an option for me.

Even with large format where many would be slack due to the image real estate I frame in the camera and work full-neg.

The rare occasions that I crop it is to change aspect ratios.

Cheers,

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stamper
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« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2012, 08:02:35 AM »
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Stamper, As far as I'm concerned the art of photography is in what you frame on your camera. That means you see what you're after, frame it, and shoot it. You don't bang away hoping you might find a picture later when you're playing around in Photoshop. There are times when you can't get exactly what you want: the scene is vanishing and you're not yet close enough, so you have to include things in the frame that you know you'll have to crop out later. But if you're having to crop more often than once in a blue moon, you haven't mastered your art.

A more than reasonable explanation with which it is hard to quibble. Close framing on moving subjects can be hazardous, leaving room for perspective adjustments and aspect ratios are problems. However the point I would make to you Russ is that there must have been a lot of images on here that you have praised but have unknown to yourself been heavily cropped? From experience I have learned that attempting to crop too tight means that you sometimes clip some of the focal point. I prefer to frame loosely which means more flexibility and the downside is a loss of pixels.
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Ray
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« Reply #17 on: August 23, 2012, 09:12:41 AM »
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C'mon guys! Cropping is always an unavoidable part of photography. The camera always crops the image circle that the lens projects, whether you like it or not.

Having decided upon a particular field of view, at the time you press the shutter, does not mean you have to stick with that decision for ever more. People can and do change their mind, sometimes for good reason.

Have you noticed that the cropping tool in Photoshop divides the screen into 9 sections?
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RSL
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« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2012, 10:03:54 AM »
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The camera always crops the image circle that the lens projects. . .

Exactly, Ray. That's the point at which you should crop. Not later, unless there's no other option.

Quote
Have you noticed that the cropping tool in Photoshop divides the screen into 9 sections?

Absolutely. I've also noticed that Photoshop developers are world-famous software engineers, not world-famous photographers.
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RSL
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« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2012, 10:08:46 AM »
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. . .there must have been a lot of images on here that you have praised but have unknown to yourself been heavily cropped?

What's posted here is what's posted here. I'm sure I could download each picture and analyze it in Photoshop to determine whether or not it's been cropped, but frankly, Scarlett, I don't give a damn. I'd also be willing to bet that the posters whose work I most admire are people who most of the time frame on the camera.

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