Exercise 12 – Close and involved

The brief is to “Switch lenses (or adjust focal length) to the widest angle that you have. A true wide-angle, judged from its visual effect, is around 28mm or less. One of the uses of a wide-angle lens is to be able to cover a large subject area in one shot, but here concentrate instead on using it close to people, and try to achieve a sense of putting the viewer right inside the situation — as you will inevitably be! From the point of view of comfort and confidence, this is quite a challenging way to shoot, but try your best. As with the previous exercise, note down both the problems and the advantages created by working with a wide-angle of view from very close to the people you are photographing”.

I have added a selection of images after looking through my Lightroom images, with a search for 10-20mm lenses.

(click on any image to enlarge)

[112], [113]

These two shots of Elaine show how you can use a wide angle lens to get up close, but care has to be made that you don’t put facial features or limbs out of proportion.

In the close up photo of Elaine on the chair, if I had got any closer it would have made her face and nose look two enlarged. Also any limb such as hands or feet in the frame would look enlarged if positioned in the foreground.

The photo of Elaine getting ready to ride her road bike was taken from a low angle to make more use of the foreground as the sky was grey and boring. Not getting too close while using a wide lens has brought the car and path into the frame giving a sense of place.

[114], [115]

The use of a 20mm lens is able to shoot the surroundings of this image of Dave relaxing by a beach. Although you cannot see his right hand fully, the items on the table such as the coffee and the cigarette packet give clues as to his choosen relaxing activity.

Donna on an Abra on Dubai creek brings you into the picture with the use of a 12mm shot. Being careful not to get so close again as to put any part of the body out of proportion means we can see and feel the landscape and location.

[116], [117]

At first look this may seem like just a photo of a truck. But looking closer you can see the feet of two workmen who have decided to take a quick afternoon nap in the back of the truck. Again the angle of the lens shows the location and where the truck is parked, tucked into a corner of the street.

Elaine was standing next to these Arabian horses in the desert. The 18mm view has allowed Elaine to be shown close to the horses and riders, thus bringing the viewer up close an personal with the subjects.

[118], [119]

I like these two images of a talented artist taken in Lincoln recently. The artist was painting in a local art shop and signing ltd edition copies of some of his paintings. The wide angle lens brings the viewer into the frame as if standing next to the artist. I particularly like image [118] where the wide angle has allowed me to include one of his paintings, a girl who is looking down at the artist signing an order form.

Conclusion:

In comparison using a wide angle lens on landscapes, interiors, architecture etc is easy. Bringing people up close however is a little more difficult, as we need to ensure we don’t position the lens close to limbs or faces which would bring them out of proportion.

I don’t normally use a wide angle lens on people so close, but prefer to use a longer focal length allowing me to keep my distance such as in an earlier exercise in this blog. But this exercise has pushed me out of my comfort zone and give me working knowledge of what does and does not work.

 

 

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