Monthly Archives: March 2013

Foreground control is the hardest part in wide angle landscapes

When I first learnt about DSLR photography, I was told that the hardest lens to master how to use is the wide angle lens. I did not understand why. Now I know. A wide angle lens similar to my 17-35mm lens is one that makes the nearer objects much larger than our eyes see them, and the far off objects  are smaller than what our eyes see them.  As a result, even a slight shift in the camera position will result in major differences in the composition. Once you have found a suitable background for your image, small changes in the camera position will not impact the background much, but the objects that are very near the camera (the foreground), change massively in your image. If your landscape has a foreground, controlling it well is the key to good landscapes.

As soon as I got off my car during my lunch hour today, the top image is what I saw. I wanted to place the antique farm equipment as foreground, while placing the mustard field as my middle-ground and the distant trees/hills as the background. Before I even mounted my camera onto my tripod, I gauged the composition hand-held and once I felt satisfied with it, pulled out my tripod and adjusted it several times, until I was fully satisfied. In the end, I fired several bracketed exposures, that yielded the final HDR image shown at the bottom.

When you find a great middle-ground and background, spend time moving around to adjust your foreground, until you are very sure of your composition.

Image prior to adjusting position for foreground

Image after foreground positioning