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Thread: Wide-Angle Weirdness

  1. #1
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    Wide-Angle Weirdness



    Hi All - I'm looking for a little help here...Please disregard the artistic/aesthetic merits of the shot - I'm well
    aware it has none. I'm just trying to figure out how to use a WA lens with a foreground object(s) while maintaining a more realistic background.


    I see the "environment" shots in magazines all the time, where there's a person in the FG and the BG looks realistic. I never know the location of course, I'm not familiar with it like I am the East River and the Manhattan skyline. But it seems I should be able to do better than this.


    Doesn't this shot look goofy to you? The way the buildings practically look like toys? Technically speaking is this shot "all wrong?"


    Or am I overreacting and it's actually not bad, or at least not unexpected?


    I realize with a wide-angle lens, when you have a foreground object like I do it "pushes" the background away ...I was just surprised by how much. I have shots at 50mm that are much more realistic.


    Anyway...as always, "Thanks!" for any thoughts you'd care to share.


    5D 17-40mm @26mm 6sec @ f/5.6 ISO 100, PP in DxO 6.1.1


    [img]/cfs-file.ashx/__key/CommunityServer.Components.UserFiles/00.00.00.29.05/5D_5F00_20100703_5F00_13_5F00_dxo_5F00_02_5F00_web .jpg[/img]



  2. #2
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    Re: Wide-Angle Weirdness



    I think the issue might be the direction the boat is facing, I think the nose of the boat leads your eyes out of the frame. If somehow you could put the boat in the bottom right corner of the frame pointing left, and the city in the top left, I think you have a standout picture. I give this advice well aware that due to the position of the dock and the fact that it's probably not your boat that this is potentially not possible. Just my advice, otherwise good shot!

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    Re: Wide-Angle Weirdness



    First thing I noticed was the rather large aperture. Try shooting at f/22 and focus at the hyperfocal point (or just before the boat, as I like to guesstimate). I think the buildings will look sharper.


    Nice location, btw.

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    Re: Wide-Angle Weirdness



    The first thing that comes to my mind is distortion.


    The closer the subject to a wide-angle, the heavier the distortions are. In this case, the boat is close to the lens and that means the boat will be stretched out due to distortion. It's called barrel-distortion and the 17-40 has quite some of that.


    Since the background is much further away, it doesn't suffer that much and so the background looks relatively realistic.


    With for instance a 50mm prime, you will see that distortions are way lower, even close to nothing and so your image will be more natural.


    What I try to say is this: the effect of a wide-angle on close subjects []


    I don't know if I'm correct here, but I truly think this could be an issue for you.


    Good luck next time []


    Jan

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    Re: Wide-Angle Weirdness



    By the way in the test you can see that at 28mm your lens practically doesn't suffer from distortions, so you might want to give that focal length a try?

  6. #6

    Re: Wide-Angle Weirdness



    Everyone has added some great input, but personally the first thing that struck me was the lighting on the boat. The skylinelooks likea twilight/night scene, while the boat almost looks like it was taken midday. Too me it looks as if the boat was lit by a flash or other light source.


    If the world was perfect I would of moved the boat into the water either flipped so it was placed in the lower left faceing in, or moved into the right corner, the people that owned the boat would of had the lights on to illuminate the interior and i would of lit the boat via a gelled off camera flash.


    I agree with the distortion with a wide angle lens I have done some group shots with my 10-22 and the people near the edges were extremely distorted, almost unprintable.


    Thanks


    My 2 cents


    Joel

  7. #7
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Re: Wide-Angle Weirdness



    Quote Originally Posted by canoli
    Doesn't this shot look goofy to you? The way the buildings practically look like toys? Technically speaking is this shot "all wrong?"

    Looks perfectly normal for a 26mm (wide angle) shot. Technically, Jan is on track - perspective distortion is a 'feature' of wide angle lenses. Elements in the foreground are emphasized much more strongly in relation to the background.


    Quote Originally Posted by canoli
    I see the "environment" shots in magazines all the time, where there's a person in the FG and the BG looks realistic. I never know the location of course, I'm not familiar with it like I am the East River and the Manhattan skyline. But it seems I should be able to do better than this.

    You don't know the location, but more importantly you're not seeing the EXIF data. Those shots where 'there's a person in the FG and the BG looks realistic' were probably not shot with WA lenses, but rather with short telephotos from a reasonable distance from the subject - in that case, the 'compression' effect of telephoto lenses equalizes FG/BG elements (and as the focal length gets longer, the FG is minimized relative to BG).


    Basically, this is the classical relationship between focal length and perspective.


    Quote Originally Posted by canoli
    I have shots at 50mm that are much more realistic.

    Ummmm...that's why 50mm is called "normal". [:P] It's 'normal' because that focal length (on FF) approximates the field of view, and thus the perspective, of human vision.

  8. #8
    Senior Member bob williams's Avatar
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    Re: Wide-Angle Weirdness



    I actually Like this picture---especially the background colors, lighting etc---again, nice location. I even like the boat and the and the accentuated bow. If I had to critique it, I would say two things---1. Clone out the little piece of the dock in front of the boat, and as others have said, try a capture the boat with the bow leading into the picture (of course you would need a willing skipper or lucky timing to do this)


    What I would not say is that the boat looks unnatural---It looks as it is expected to look with this lens.


    Quote Originally Posted by neuroanatomist
    perspective distortion is a 'feature' of wide angle lenses

    I couldn't agree more.---Take advantage of this feature. If you want to get better with this lens and be able to anticipate how the scene will look, try one of Bryan Peterson's exercises in learning to see what your lens sees: In your own home, lens affixed to camera, lay on your stomach and start shooting, move from room to room shooting this way, then roll over on your back---go room to room, then on your knees etc.......practice this with all of your lenses---you would be amazed what you will discover. Just a note----my wife thought I had lost my mind when I started doing this, but it really did help me understand my lenses better.


    One great use of this lens is the classic flowers in the forground and rocks, buldings or mountains in the background---then shoot low and shoot wide.


    Also, if you want wide but want to avoid gross distortion, try and make sure there are no straight vertical elementson the sides of your frame---i.e., telephone poles, light poles, straight pine trees etc---these will lean toward the center of your frame----Just some things I have learned with my 10-22


    Lastly, Lets talk about what looks "natural". In my opinion few great pictures look natural, thats what makes them great pictures. For example--a simple family portrait with everyone in white shirts with a white background----when was the last time you saw your family like this (other than for the portrait)?. Another example---those wonderful, dramatic black and white Ansel Adam photos----Great Photosbut not natural or realistic.---those magazine fashion shots---perfect skin--its not natural, its photoshoped, but the models look good....How about those great full frame wildlife shots with the subject in mid air and wonderfully smooth out of focus background---great photo, but not natural. Even in our most basic post processing, we adjust tones, colors, contrast and brightness usually to a point of looking really good, but not natural.


    My point---natural is overated---get creative, have fun and use thecharacteristics of your lenses to create really cool un-natural images.


    Bob





    Bob

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    Re: Wide-Angle Weirdness



    Hey Canoli,


    I actually like this shot. It doesn't look goofy to me. I think you don't like it because the boat looks larger than the buildings. But, I don't think you did anything wrong. I think the others have eloquently explained why this is so.


    As stated above, I would probably just try a smaller aperture for landscapes to achieve a greater DOF next time; like f/11 to get the buildings sharper. It appears that you were working with limited ambient light, so perhaps f/8 would have worked also. Since, 6 sec. is a fairly long exposure, I see that the boats flag was showing some wind motion which is fine, and the radar antennae and lettering on the boat are showing some motion as the water current and/or wind rocked the boat a little.


    I think the buildings are slightly OOF or soft, due to the larger aperture and narrower DOF and perhaps some wind motion on the tripod as I could see that the flag is flying full mast and strongly from the wind coming off of the water. Yes, I am a Sailor, so I am into this sort of thing. This shot would probably have also worked with a slightly higher ISO and a faster shutter speed as there appears to be plenty of light exposure emanating from the tall center/pointed building. I'm not sure if that is the Empire State building?


    But I do like this overall shot; as well as the composition and the ambient lighting. I also like the reflections of the buildings on the water and your waterline/horizon is also straight which is hard to do with a wide angle. In other words, this all works for me.


    <span style="font-size: 11.8056px;"]Rich

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    Re: Wide-Angle Weirdness



    I must have posted at the same time as Bob, but I like his idea of removing the other piece of boat or dock in front of the big boat.


    I would also like to add that, since you didn't like how far back the buildings were pushed, then you could also crop out some of the water in the foreground, which will focus the viewers eye more on the Manhattan Skyline.


    I tried this at home and i liked the effect, but I didn't want to alter your photo without your permission. If you would like, I could post the cropped version or you could try it yourself.





    Rich

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