Exercise: Focal Lengths and different viewpoints

This was a simple exercise in understanding potential impacts of using different lenses to view the same scene but change the perspective by moving myself. In the pair of photos below of Brill Windmill in Buckinghamshire, the first was shot on at a 70mm focal length using a zoom lens, the second at 16mm on a wide angle lens.

Whilst I tried to frame the shots so they contained the same image, the perspective has changed quite noticeably. In the wide angle shot the bench is noticeably bigger although the windmill looks pretty close to the same size, the zoom lens has made the scene look similar but actually compressed it. The result is the wide angle shot does feel like you’re closer to the bench but not the windmill. Also its noticeable that in the wide angle shot the bench and windmill are either side of the frame but in the zoom shot, despite the windmill appearing the same size, there is space to make it more central as the bench is so much smaller.

This was an interesting lesson for me in using the zoom lens to effectively increase the content in frame. Equally, its a reminder that the wide angle lens allows you to simplify a scene if you get in close.

70mm focal length

16mm focal length

Exercise: Focal lengths

In this exercise  the aim was to appreciate the effect of changing lenses from one focal length to another. Using a favourite subject of mine, the BT tower in London (formerly known as the Post Office Tower), I found a spot (Goodge Street) where an area of demolition has (as of December 2011) opened up a relatively clear view of the tower.

I shot first at 50mm with my prime lens, this allowed me to see most of the visible tower.

Moving next to a 24mm wide angle, obviously the field of view has been significantly broadened although the shot was taken from exactly the same position on the side of the road and at the same height.

Finally at the other end of the spectrum is this shot at 210mm, although I had a potential 300mm range I wanted to keep all the tower in shot although obviously I’ve had to make a choice and select a part of the tower as at this focal length you couldn’t frame more than you can see here.

This exercise acted as a great reminder that the lenses I have give a massive opportunity to vary the composition of a shot by simply using the focal length.