by Scott Stulberg
Choosing the right lenses for your photo arsenal can be perplexing and expensive. After a basic lens, the most common lens that people usually buy is some sort of telephoto lens that often is a zoom telephoto. I use these lenses all the time and the 70-200 f2,8 IS from Canon is my workhorse. But many people do not realize the importance of a wide angle view or even a super wide angle view. I love to shoot super wide shots and one of the benefits of having a digital camera with a full frame sensor is that you can shoot incredibly wide shots that are sometimes breathtaking. There are different focal lengths for wide angle lenses but if you want to try something different, shooting super wide can open up a whole new world.
The following three images were all shot with my 14mm Canon f2.8 lens, which was very expensive. Other manufacturers make similar lenses that cost much less but can give you similar results. I travel with my 16-35 wide angle zoom and also with my 15mm f 2.8 fixed lens but many times also take my 14mm lens. The 16-35 is another workhorse for me and has a great wide angle range from 35mm to as wide as 16mm. This is a great lens for so many people and it goes with me everywhere. The 15mm, which is considered a fisheye lens, gives me an an ultra view being wider than the 14mm but also gives an incredible amount of curvature and distortion in the images because it is not rectilinear. The 14mm lens is rectilinear and is about as wide as you can get with no distortion. For the ultimate in wide angle shots, you can always make a panorama shot with multiple images, but if you want to capture as much as possible in one frame, then super wide is your ticket. Super wide shots give you a totally different feeling than shooting with a normal wide angle lens.
The first image was of the Eiffel Tower and I wanted to get as much as possible of the tower in the image without shooting from too far away. I was on a tripod at twilight and was able to get a tremendous amount of the tower in my frame
The second image of the south tower of the Twin Towers in Los Angeles was shot from the roof of the north tower. These buildings are the sisters of the Twin Towers in New York and were designed by the same architect. I wanted to get as much as possible in my frame and so the 14mm was what I needed. I also shot this one at twilight to get a beautiful sky.
The last image was in Burma when I had spent the day with seven amazing monks that I had “borrowed” from a local monastery. I had also asked for seven parasols, which I knew I would use somehow in some of my shots. I decided for one of the shots to get down on my back near a temple and asked all of the monks to circle around me and look down. I had put on my 14mm lens knowing that I would need to shoot as wide as possible so as to not cut off any of their faces. The 14mm was the perfect choice for the job…..and I was completely happy with the result. Super wide angle shots are like nothing else……and well worth the investment!