Dramatic Images with Wide-Angle Lenses

by Linda Eodice

Wide-Angle Perspective
Wide-Angle Perspective
© Linda Eodice
All Rights Reserved
When you want to take in more of a scene than would be possible with a normal (50mm equivalent) focal length, you’ll want to use a wide-angle lens.

A wide-angle focal length – about 12mm to 25mm on digital SLRs with a "crop" factor – will reduce the apparent size of your subject, allowing you to take in more of your surroundings. As opposed to telephoto lenses that produce shallow depth of field, wide-angle focal lengths tend to yield great depth of field.

Wide-angle lenses also alter the perspective of a scene, and can cause some distortion. Vertical lines will converge toward the top of an image if the lens is pointed up, for example. You can control this by keeping the camera level. But sometimes the distorting effects of a wide-angle lens of a wide-angle lens can be interesting and dramatic.

I recently photographed The Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Nevada. (See photo above.) This truly unique research center was designed in a deconstructivism style by architect Frank Gehry, and looks like a structure that was crumpled by giant hands.

I wanted to exaggerate the already distorted aspects of this building against a sky with interesting clouds, so I used my Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM lens with my Canon EOS 5D Mark II (a full-frame DSLR). This wide-angle lens enabled me to encompass more of the building and sky, especially when I pointed my camera up at the structure from a low angle. I used an aperture setting of f/8 in the Av mode, which gave me great depth of field.

Editor's Notes:
Lynne Eodice teaches many excellent interactive online courses at BetterPhoto.com. Learn more about Lynne and her classes...

About Author / Instructor / Photographer, Linda Eodice
Photography Instructor: Linda EodiceThe author of Photos That Inspire, Lynne Eodice teaches a number of excellent online classes for BetterPhoto.com (see the current course listing below.) She is also the former Feature Editor for Petersen’s PHOTOgraphic.

A native of Southern California, Lynne was educated at Pasadena City College and Cal Poly Pomona. Her love of photography began after her husband gave her a 35mm SLR as an anniversary gift. She began her career as a feature writer & photographer for local newspapers that included Pasadena Weekly and The Herald Tribune.

Besides having articles and photos published regularly in PHOTOgraphic, she has contributed to Rangefinder, Digital Photographer and California Tour & Travel, as well as PHOTOgraphic’s Buyer’s Guide, Big Book of Photography and Family Photo magazines. Her images have appeared in a popular instructional book called The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Photography, and she has marketed her stock photos through Index Stock Imagery in New York.

Lynne has exhibited her fine-art scenic photography at Kolb Studio and the visitor’s center at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, at Occidental College in Eagle Rock, California, and at venues throughout the San Gabriel Valley. In addition, she has taught many classes, seminars and workshops.

In the fall of 2007, she was honored as one of the Women Achievers in the San Gabriel Valley in Business Life magazine.

Lynne currently lives with her husband, Dennis and their dog, Chiquita in Altadena, California.