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How You Can Learn to Use a Wide-Angle Lens

There are few couples as great as a wide-angle lens and a landscape.After all, that’s why most landscape photographers have at least one wide-angle lens in their bag.Actually, I’d say most landscape photographers have at least one wide-angle prime as well as a zoom lens that’s capable of a wide-angle perspective.But the question for new photographers is, how do you use a wide-angle lens?

How Wide is Wide Enough?

As Thomas notes in the video, on multiple occasions, he’s expressed that 24mm is plenty wide for landscapes.However, he’s recently found himself in various situations in which he wanted an even wider lens.As a result, he picked up a 16-35mm f/4 lens to get a little extra real estate in the images he takes.Now, this doesn’t mean that you also need a 16-35mm lens.You might want something narrower, like the aforementioned 24mm lens, or you might want something even wider, like a 12mm lens.

Use Weather as Your Guide

All photographers – myself included – are guilty at one point or another of scrapping plans to go out and shoot when the weather is less than ideal.But as Thomas notes in the video, when you shoot with a wide-angle lens (or any lens, really…) you need to tailor your images to the conditions the weather gives you.In Thomas’ case, living on the northeastern coast of England, there’s a lot of gray, rainy days to contend with.But armed with a wide-angle lens, Thomas can still get incredible shots if there’s some interesting foreground elements to highlight.

Take the Time to Compose the Shot

With all that foreground detail in a wide-angle shot, it’s imperative that you take the time to compose the image to maximize the impact of the elements within the frame.This means getting down low to the ground to make foreground elements prominent in the shot, moving to the left and the right to see if there’s a better perspective from which to shoot, and keeping an eye on details in the midground and background to ensure they all work together to create a cohesive image.

Get a Wide-Angle Filter Adapter

First of all, if you photograph landscapes, you should have a solid set of filters in your bag, including a polarizer at the very least, if not also a couple of ND grads and a solid ND.I won’t get into the nitty-gritty of what each filter does, so if you want more details, check this article.What needs to be pointed out, though is that you can use a standard filter and filter holder on a wide-angle lens.For example, if your lens fits 77mm filters, a 77mm filter will work just fine.However, if you use it with a standard adapter, the chances that your images will have vignetting – darkened areas around the edges – is much greater.Though that can be used as an artistic element in your shots, in this case, it’s prudent to grab a wide-angle filter adapter (like the one shown above), so the filter sits closer to the lens, thereby minimizing vignetting.