Wide Eyes

Spring is here; it's official. This week has seen me ditch my gloves, scarf, and jumper. Today was up to 20ºC! In no time at all, we'll have cherry blossoms all around, so if you like flowery stuff, stay tuned.

Wide angle photography is fun. It's something I have done relatively little of before, but as I only have a week to play with a lens, I'm snapping more than ever. I plan on reviewing this little critter, but until then, I'll focus on the images (and other waffle).

Wide angle lenses pose a few issues. Firstly, one must get over the idea that "they allow you to get more in". Though this is technically true (if you can't move your feet with a longer focal length), their real purpose is to offer different perspective. 

And thus, the most important lesson of wide angles commences (though I use this rule for all photography, if I can). Have you ever seen a good painting? Of course you have. Take the Mona Lisa. Notice how the artist has not drawn any empty coke bottles, people falling over, cars, scaffolding, or a tree coming out of her head? This is how I try to approach all of my photographs - removal of distracting elements (though sometimes, needs must). With wide angle lenses, this rule becomes all the more important. There's a huge field of view, and so one should be sure that everything in that field of view, is required for the image to deliver its message.

The second rule of wide angles (I'm making this up as I go along by the way), is to watch "the lines". Again, this rule holds for all lenses and all cameras. Leading lines, parallel lines, straight lines... they are all tools to make an image more powerful.

This is actually called a "mansion" in Japan, though it's almost the exact opposite of a mansion.

Recycling cardboard, anyone?

There are probably more wide-angle lessons, which I'll discuss more when figuring them out, or my thoughtful readers may add ideas in the comments.

I'll wrap up this post by saying that so far this lens is a joy to use. I love the wider field of view. The only issue I have with it, is its relatively narrow aperture of f/4.5, which pushes the ISO on my NEX-7 rather high at night. The above image is ISO1600, which is as high as I would ever want to shoot this camera in colour, and it came out quite nicely! The grain adds to the image, and it really has a vintage film look, to my eye.

Oh how I would love a full-frame camera such as the A7(R), on which to mount this tiny m-mount morsel of a lens. Then my field of view would increase even more, and I'd start to see behind me!

Maybe one day...