A telephoto is rightly known as the go-to lens for zeroing in tight on distant subjects. But while a wide-angle focal length boasts a story-telling quality - i.e., its unique ability to combine nearby objects with far-away scenes - the wide-angle can do sooooo much more. By putting your feet to work and physically moving in close, you can simplify your scene, isolate your subject, and use the sky as a simple-yet-colorful backdrop!
Thoughts on Before Image ...The accompanying Rooster-on-Truck series was a fun little project, involving an old 1942 Dump Truck and a metal rooster sculpture at my California ranchette. I wanted a photo that captured all of the rooster, a portion of the truck, and some of the blue sky. And, as often the case, I shot the scene in beautiful light ... late day.
I first tried photographing the scene from a distance with a telephoto, as shown in Before. And while I could fit both of my main focal points nicely within the frame, the background was just a bit too distracting ... barn and tree top competing with rooster and truck. A wider aperture (lower f/number) would have blurred out the background more, especially coupled with a slightly tighter (zoomed-more-in) composition. But for me, there were other issues too. For example, the lower part of the sky was a pale blue, while the fairly straightforward viewpoint lacked the fun aspect and the visual energy that I had envisioned.
Thoughts on After Image ...
My solution was to revisit the scene in early evening on another sunny day. I switched to a wide-angle (my 12-24mm zoom) for this re-shoot, and then moved in super close to the truck (within an arm's length of the closest point). I also kneeled down for a low camera perspective. As a result, in both After images (shot on different days), I was able to place both the rooster and truck against a more beautiful higher-up part of the sky ... a perfect background! No filter used, no filter needed ... just the warm and low-angled sunlight of late day.
By the way, I chose slanted viewpoints for two of the "After" images for a couple of verrrrry good reasons:
Additional Photo Credit Goes ...... to my wife, Mary, for providing the "props" and the idea for this concept! She gave me an abandoned 1942 Ford Dump Truck for a gift a few Christmases ago - as a photo opportunity for our small ranch and as a ranch "decoration". Then, she recently gave me the metal rooster sculpture. And when she saw a real live rooster atop a truck at a neighbor's ranch the other day, she said: "Hey, Kerry, why don't you do that with your rooster on your old truck?" So I did!
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