Foundations of Photography: Lenses

Class Taken By: Kiko Doran

Taught By: Ben Long

This class was more focused on just lenses but because it was a separate class from the exposure lesson, it did cover a lot of similar things to the exposure piece. The key thing I learned was focal length. Using zoom lenses is great because you can get shots of things far away. It also makes us a little lazy and less willing to stand in the right place to capture the image we want. I didn’t realize putting someone in two pictures where they cover the same real estate in the shot, can be completely different if taken with a zoom vs moving up on the subject. I’m not sure I really think one way is better than the other but they are remarkably different. Sometimes it is better to have the zoomed in shot because it seems to separate the subject from the surroundings better than right on the subject with a large depth of field.

My biggest issue is I don’t have any wide angle lenses to compare with but the instructor says he uses wide angle lenses for the things you wouldn’t expect. He doesn’t use them for wide vistas. He uses them to get interesting angles. His issue with wide angle lenses for vistas is they make things far in the distance seem very small. Wide angle lenses also cause some distortion on the corners of your shots. Better wide lenses have less distortion than inferior wide lenses. Camera position is even more important with wide angle lenses because it will alter the distortion points. I’m curious to try one. I think I’m more interested in a super high quality telephoto lens but I definitely see more of an application for a wide angle lens.

Depth of field was the practical piece to shoot for this lesson. The other information was not really something I could experiment with, short of buying a couple of lenses… I tried to combine the power, or lack there of, in my lenses with the information I learned about depth of field and shutter speed to create some interesting pieces. I’m really enjoying the fast shutter speed shooting and the ability to freeze things in time. I’ve been setting my camera to shoot in burst mode so I can get several shots to choose from when trying to freeze motion. This is where I would love to have a nice sports lens that can shoot across a football field with super fast shutter speeds and still have great exposure settings.

Here are my shots I feel best represent this piece:

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