What aesthetic calls for long (3x normal) lenses?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by Wilmarco Imaging, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. ...besides sporting events?

    I shoot mostly medium format, then large format and a little 35mm. Mostly still life, tabletop, portrait and some non-sporting events. Architecture is on my near term to-do list.

    In those situations, I don't see a strong call for a long lens, for example 250mm and longer on 6x7 film. Other examples would be 150mm and longer for 35mm film and 450mm or longer for 4x5 film.

    What do you think? Are there examples of photographers who used longer lenses as a style or signature? What genre benefits from the perspective given by long lenses?
  2. Having used telephoto lens occasionally, its my opinion that highlighting patterns in architecture or landscape can benefit from such lens perspective. For the same reason, creating abstracts out of landscapes and architecture work well with telephoto lenses. These lenses reduces the depth of the scene creating a 2D perspective that works well for abstracts. I have seen many many examples of abstract reflections on glass taken using telephoto. Thats my opinion. It doesn't mean, there cannot be other purposes of such lenses.

    Here is a landscape pattern captured using a very long telephoto lens.
  3. I've been using Fuji's 50-230mm (75-345mm equiv.) for its isolation and close up abilities, not necessarily for telephoto effects. Supriyo, where is that!
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  4. Image compression mostly & foreshortening. Remember the image from"Blue Thunder" where the helicopter came up from below the bridge with the Gigantic sun behind it? Very striking visually. For architecture it might be useful when you can't directly approach the building & it may well relieve us of the dreaded converging verticals you'll get in closer. The birth of the zoom lens changed the way many photographers look at w/a & long lenses, they were originally (in the fixed length era) more of a perspective control tool than a magnifier for the camera.
    DavidTriplett likes this.
  5. Wildlife will always be a prime candidate for long lenses, particularly birds, but just about any critter that runs away when approached (or threatens to eat you).
    Great Grey Owl-1983a-sml.jpg
    Chaz's comments are apropos. This example illustrates the foreshortening effect very well. The sign for the Bluebird Cafe is about 300 meters from my camera position, and the overall subject zone is about 500 meters deep
    Supriyo likes this.
  6. This is in Palm Springs, CA, from the top of a mountain peak which can only be reached by a ropeway apparently.
    DavidTriplett likes this.
  7. Nice view.
  8. Thanks :)
  9. That owl is a great catch, David.
    DavidTriplett likes this.
  10. +1 chazfenn. For instance on model shots where you want to flatten the nose etc., photographers would use a long lens. Likewise for subject separation. I read one article about fashion photographers on scene using very long lenses with walky talkies to the crew around the models because they wanted the facial features to come out a certain way. Some landscape photographers as well. For architecture, more traditionally would use full movement large format cameras to ensure perspective correction in-camera. Not quite as important because much can be done with software these days. I'd say for architectural interiors though, generally you would use wide angle.
  11. Using a 200mm lens on 35mm camera

  12. Thanks for the comments everyone. My take aways for long lens applications:

    - sporting events
    - wildlife
    - architectural flattening and details
    - intentional flattening of perspective as in the street image examples

    Pretty interesting!
  13. Thanks, Supriyo! It was a good day in Yellowstone.
  14. Been there. Amazing views from the top. I've always wanted to try and capture some of the windmills on the lower hills using a long lens to compress the perspective. It should make for a very interesting image, particularly with some long exposure effects, or perhaps a nighttime shot.
  15. "Purty basic", as others have suggested --if subject is too shy, or scary, or you can't get as close as necessary for a good image. Second tier, if your concept includes the kind of compression that teles deliver. Obviously less attainable / affordable medium foemat lenses.
  16. Night shot is an interesting idea. You have to check the timing of the last rope way though. May be, winter could work, with shorter days.
  17. I was thinking more of a high-angle shot looking up along the line of windmills from below, using a long lens to compress the view. A moderately long exposure with star field beyond, so as to blur the moving blades against the towers and stars, might be interesting. It would require a location with many windmills to obtain the effect I have in my mind's eye. I'll have to start thinking about how I might make it happen.
    Supriyo likes this.
  18. Ok I can see it now. That's a wonderful idea. Windmills and stars go really well together for some reason. I hope the land is not within state property though. Also, you need to watch out for rattlesnakes.
  19. I'm headed up through the Columbia River Gorge next week. There are some windmills there. I'll have to see if anything shakes out along the way...
  20. Great :)
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017

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