My Love Affair With My Wide Angle Lens

November 23, 2010 32 Comments »

wide angle travel photography

I’m happy to announce – I’m in love!  My heart is all a flutter, I’m wearing a permanant grin, and when I see the pictures – I can hardly contain myself!

I’m in love with my wide-angle lens!

Travel Photography Lenses

I used to travel with two lenses: a portrait lens 17 to 55mm and a telephoto 75 to 300mm – I thought that was all I needed.  And then I went to Mongolia.  I decided in order to capture the vast landscapes of the Gobi Desert – I wanted to get a real wide angle lens.  So, I purchased a 10 to 22mm and took it to Mongolia to shoot landscapes.  I’d only limit my use of the lens to shoot wide-open spaces.

Gobi Desert Ger
Gobi Desert

Sure – I liked it – but I wasn’t necessarily in love with it…yet.

However, over the last year, I’ve gotten to know this lens better, and it has grown on me.  I realized I had gone into my initial relationship with my wide-angle lens with all the wrong intentions.  I was narrow-minded – I thought it was only best used in landscapes – big, wide-open spaces.  Granted, it is good for those types of shots…

Naepal lamjung district
Puma, Nepal
Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon

How My Wide Angle Lens Won Me Over

But then this summer I realized just how versatile the wide angle lens could be.   It has now become my favorite travel photography lens.  A wide-angle lens can have a massive impact on your photography.  It creates distortions and lines that my telephoto lens would never be able to do!  One of my favorite things to photograph with my wide angle is clouds. 

Discover the best camera bag for travel – organized by travel style

In fact, I will now stop if I see good clouds, just so that I can get a photo – regardless of what the landscape is!  The clouds seem to zoom through the picture with a wide angle, bringing the whole thing alive, and the viewer feels like they are in the photo.

wide angle landscape photography
Gobi Desert Storm
windmill netherlands
Notre Dame Paris
Notre Dame

Go Wide Inside

The wide angle lens isn’t just for the outdoors, it can also be used in cramped, confined, small spaces to take in a whole view.  This is perfect for rooms like this one in Amsterdam.

Museum Wall

Go Wide for Architecture

Speaking of cramped space, it’s also perfect for city streets.  Very few cameras can get a complete shot of the buildings of New York City while standing on a street corner – that’s where the wide angle comes in.

wide angle photography
NYSE Wall Street
Sunset Empire State Building
Empire State Building
Wide angle travel photography
Leuven Belgium

The wide angle lens also has some fun distortion effects.  Whatever object, or part of the object, is closer to the lens will appear larger than the rest of the image; sort of providing a 3D effect.    I love to compose shots with the wide angle lens for this effect.

Brooklyn Bridge New York City
Brooklyn Bridge
Snow Canyon Utah
Snow Canyon Utah
Louvre Paris
Louvre Paris

Go Wide to Tell a Story

My photography tutor in Laos taught me that when photographing people – it’s better to shoot wide so that you can capture how the subject is relating to the space around them.  Sure, I still like tight people shots, but I do get so much more from travel photography where I can see the person and there surroundings.

Luang Prabang Laos
Luang Prabang

Have you fallen in love with the wide-angle lens yet?  I thought so…

Better go make your holiday shopping list now!

My Favorite Travel Photography Gear

See the list of all of my favorite travel photography gear here.  From travel tripods to backpacks to filters!

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