Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Frame: Project - Focal lengths

Exercise: Focal Lengths
Aim:  The aim of this exercise is to explore the change in perspective of wide angle and telephoto on the same subject and the impact this has on the image.

Plan:  My first plan was to use a very tall building but this proved difficult as I would need to be some considerable distance away and could not find the straight path I had visualised.  I chose a smaller older building on the corner of a square that had a curved front and some interesting detail.


I took a number of images in succession and have chosen the following two;

F11, 1/320, 160mm
The image above shows the compressed perspective of a telephoto shot.  The buildings appear to be right next to each other when there is, in fact, a road on either side of the white building.  The straight sides suggest that you are looking from a distance and not looking straight up from the foot of the building.  You get an idea of the size and shape of the building in it's surroundings and the detail is visible, including the writing around the top.  It remains the focal point but has far greater competition from other elements in the frame.

F13, 1/250 sec, 18mm
 This second image is far more dramatic and isolates the subject from the buildings around it.  The curved shape is more pronounced but detail towards the top, including the writing is now lost.  There is greater symmetry created in this image as the edges of the lit area of the building lead in from the corners and converge towards the top.

Learning points:

Both images have their own appeal.  The first image orders the building in it's surroundings and due to the writing gives it a purpose or a place in history.  The second image creates more drama, isolating the building.  That said, converging verticals are not always wanted in architectural photography hence the use of shift lenses but that is not the point of this particular image.

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