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Why You Need a Wide-Angle Lens

If you’re shooting landscapes, you’ve probably come back from a shoot more than once and been disappointed that the incredible vista you saw in person didn’t transfer to your photos. It’s really tough to create a 2D photo (which is what still photos are—two-dimensional) that has the depth and feeling of being there. That’s why I recommend one of two things:

  1. Don’t try to capture it all. That’s right, use a zoom lens and deliberately capture just a portion of the scene that suggests the whole. These can often be much more powerful than trying to fit everything into one photo, which can lead to a photo without a clear subject, and with distracting images and backgrounds. This is why I often shoot with a 70–200mm lens—to get in tight on a portion of the scene.
  2. Buy a super-wide-angle lens. Not a fish-eye lens—a super-wide-angle lens (like a 12mm). If you’re trying to capture it all, a super-wide-angle (sometimes called ultra-wide-angle) lens is often just the trick you need to take in the big picture. My favorite outdoor lens is my 14–24mm zoom lens (which is also a good sports shooting lens, by the way). I must admit, I rarely use the 24mm end, because I use this lens when I’m trying to get “the big picture,” so I use the 14mm end most of the time. You’ll love what it does to clouds, almost giving them a sense of movement along the edges.
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