Part Two : Imaginative Spaces
Project 1 :The distorting lens
The section is all about lens techniques.
With your camera set to aperture priority mode. “Find a scene that has depth. From a fixed position, take a sequence of five or six shots at different focal lengths without changing your viewpoint. (You might like to use the specific focal lengths indicated on your lens barrel.)”
For this exercise I decided to use both my 17mm to 50mm and 70mm to 300mm lenses. This meant I had to do a lens change part way through the exercise. That said my camera was fixed on a tripod so it was not too much of an issue to make the change. I noted that the apertures changed as I moved through the set due to the different minimum apertures of the lenses that I used.
“As you page through the shots… it almost feels as though you’re moving through the scene. So the ability to change focal lengths has an obvious use; rather than physically moving towards or away from your subject, the lens can do it for you.”
I thought for this part of the exercise it would be better demonstrated by using a slideshow. This more clearly shows the progression through the images and the effect that different focal lengths have on the look and feel of the image. It is easier to compare than with static images which your eye would need to read across.
“The other immediate difference between the shots is the ‘angle of view’, which also depends on the sensor size of your camera. Use the sequence to try to get a feeling for how the angle of view corresponds to the different focal lengths for your particular camera and lens combination. Which shot in the sequence feels closest to the angle of view of your normal vision?”
My camera has an APS-C sensor which measures 22.2 mm × 14.8 mm as opposed to the 36 mm × 24 mm of a full frame sensor, this is translated in to a crop factor of approximately 1.6, so it is important to understand the relationship between the different sized sensors. Put another way and maybe more simply, an APS-C sensor has a reduced field of vision (i.e. you cannot see as much) which can be both beneficial but also restrictive depending on what you are wanting to capture.
It is a disadvantage when you want to capture a wide-angle view, this is because a wide-angle lens of say 28mm on an APS-C sensor (with a crop factor of 1.6) is approximately equivalent to a 45mm lens on a full frame sensor so you wouldn’t be able to capture as much in the frame. However, when working with a long focal length lens, an APS-C sensor can be an advantage as a 300mm lens on an APS-C sensor (with a crop factor of 1.6) would be equivalent to a 480mm lens on a full frame sensor.
This is relevant for this exercise as the focal lengths quoted are based on a cropped sensor, so for your ease of reference I have also provided the full frame (‘ff’) focal length equivalents for the images I have posted.
Out of the images I have posted above the one that most closely resembles what I would consider my ‘normal’ vision which is difficult as I wear glasses so ‘normal’ vision to me is mostly blurred, however, I would say it would be the second image – 35mm (ff 56mm).
“Does zooming in from a fixed viewpoint change the appearance of things? If you enlarge and compare individual elements within the first and last shots, you can see that their ‘perspective geometry’ is exactly the same. To change the way things actually look, a change in focal length needs to be combined with a change in viewpoint.”
Comparing the first image (17mm) zoomed in on screen and the last image (300mm) in the sequence, the white fence baseboard to the left and the ivy on the right wall at the far end appear the same.
This exercise was interesting both from the perspective of learning about my camera settings as I would not normally use aperture priority mode and also learning about different focal lengths.
From a compositional perspective my favourite image out of those shown above is the one taken at 300mm (ff 480mm). It portrays a sense of mystery with the positioning of the ivy with reference to the path. You can see that the path extends beyond the ivy but vision is obscured enough that you can’t quite see what is beyond.
The course notes suggested an EXIF viewer is downloaded from www.photome.de. I did this and have pulled of the EXIF file information for image 3 of my final submission to show what information this viewer provides:
PhotoME version: 0.79R17 (Build 856)
File name: …..[removed]\_MG_3608.CR2
File type: Canon Camera RAW v2
File size: 20,986.2 KB
Creation date: 19/06/2016 12:56
Last modification: 19/06/2016 13:19
Camera: Canon EOS 70D
Lens: Canon EF 70-300mm F4-5.6 IS USM
Software: Firmware Version 1.1.1
Dimension: 5568 x 3708 px (20.6 MP, 3:2)
Focal length: 100 mm
Exposure time: 1/125″ (-0.33 EV)
ISO speed rating: (154/23°)
Program: Aperture-Priority AE (Manual)
Metering Mode: Spot
White Balance: Auto
Focus Mode: Single-point AF
Flash: Flash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
It would be interesting to hear what other students think about this software.
Michael Langford, 2010. Langford’s Basic Photography: The Guide for Serious Photographers. 9th Edition. Focal Press.
This completes my submission for Exercise 2.1.