Lens-Artists Challenge #165 – Going Wide

Bryce Canyon, hoodoos, clouds
Hoodoos, Bryce Canyon

“Best wide-angle lens? Two steps backward. Look for the ‘ah-ha’.”

Ernst Haas

Last week Sofia asked us to look up or down. This week Patti has given us yet another directional challenge, this time to “go wide”. When I sold my Nikon equipment to move to mirrorless technology I did not replace my wide angle lens. Instead I subscribe to Mr. Haas’ philosophy of stepping back to capture a wider scene. There are times though when a wide-angle clearly does a better job. So this week I’ve used images taken with my Nikon and a 10-24mm lens, such as the scene above from Bryce Canyon in Utah. It would have been nearly impossible to capture the breadth of the landscape without a tripod and a wide-angle lens due to the limited ability to “back up” to capture the scene.

Rice Fields, China, Longsheng
Longsheng Rice Fields, China

“Sometimes I look with telephoto eyes, sometimes with wide-angle eyes.”

Alfred Eisenstaedt

Likewise in the image above I was looking to capture not only the beauty of the rice fields but also the village below. Again, I was walking along a narrow ledge around the fields and could not have backed up any further to capture the scene.

“Try to approximate as much as possible the way we see, focusing on details, opening up to wider angles…”

Beat Streuli

Sadly, Old Sheldon Church (shown in the images above) is no longer accessible to photographers as it becomes ever-more fragile. I was fortunate to have visited a few years back with a friend to shoot the church ruins at sunrise. I thought the first (left) image with its sunburst best expressed my reaction to a place that for hundreds of years housed the faithful in communion with their God. I also loved the huge live oak tree gracing the second image. I’m curious to hear which of the images you prefer.

Scottish Loch, flowers, rocks
Beautiful Scotland

“The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world’s joy.”

Henry Ward Beecher

For the image above, my husband and I were vacationing in Scotland with our daughter-in-law’s family. They’d rented a large home situated on a beautiful loch to house all of us. I set my camera and wide-angle lens on a tripod at the edge of the water and walked out to the scene several times to capture the landscape as it evolved. The image I’ve shared here was my favorite because of the evening light and the lovely sky.

Bar Harbor, fog, Maine
Foggy Morning, Bar Harbor Maine

“Set wide the window, let me drink the day.”

Edith Warton

I captured the scene above from a hotel window in Bar Harbor, Maine. I loved the peaceful feeling of the fog and mist creeping across the bay. I’d set the camera up the night before to capture what turned out to be a rather boring sunset and was up at dawn the next morning while the camera was still in place. It was simple luck that I’d awakened in time to see the scene. Shooting from a window, only a wide-angle lens could have captured the breadth of the landscape.

Glacier National Park, fog, flowers, purple, valley
Fog in the Valley, Glacier National Park

“Life is short and the world is wide.”

Simon Raven

Finally, my image above was NOT captured with a wide angle lens, nor with a tripod. Rather I used my Fuji X-T2 with it’s 18-55mm kit lens while leaning on a rock wall. I include it as proof that one does not necessarily need a wide-angle lens to capture wide-angle images. As long as there is room to back away from a scene we can capture landscapes such as this one quite well. This particular day a good friend and I were bemoaning the miserable fog which was ruining our opportunity for good images when we suddenly broke through the clouds and ended up above them on the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park. It was EXACTLY the kind of ah-ha moment espoused in my opening quote by Ernst Haas.

My thanks to Patti for pushing me to think about wide-angle shooting which is not something I typically do. I hope you’ll join us in response to her challenge – if so, be sure to link to her original post here and to use the Lens-Artists Tag. Thanks also, of course, to Sofia for guest-hosting last week with her Looking Up/Down challenge. As always you rose to the challenge beautifully and with some amazing variety. We hope you’ll join us next week when Ann-Christine leads us on her Leya blog. Until then, as always, please stay safe and be kind.

In closing, a note on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and to all those affected by the tragedies of man’s inhumanity to man. May we all find peace in our lifetimes and remember those who have served to protect us..

“Imagine all the people, living life in peace.”

John Lennon

121 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #165 – Going Wide

  1. Some stunning photos and a common dilemma. I usually resort to using my iPhone. It has a much wider lens than my travel camera and similar quality. I try not to use the panoramic mode though as it distorts terribly.

    • Yes, I agree Dee but I suspect there is some trick to addressing the distortion because I’ve seen some great panoramas via cellphone images. Whatever it is, I haven’t found it yet!!

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    • Thanks very much Donna! Yes I agree there are times when WIDE is the way to go although I must admit I’m not much for “seeing” that way. Sometimes I just have to be smacked in the head by the beauty of the vista before I go for it LOL!

  5. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge #165 – Going Wide – MAD Production. Company.

  6. As always, Tina, my jaw drops in awe at your photos! They are SO beautiful, and I really appreciate your explanations of how you took the photos. Regarding the photos of Old Sheldon Church, my favorite is the second one. I love how the oak frames the photo as well as the dramatic clouds in the background, creating an interesting contemplative atmosphere.

    • Many thanks Marie – your comment made my day. Yes, the church is so lovely, it’s a shame it’s now protected by an impassable fence so I’m glad we were able to visit before the “protection” happened.

  7. At least you’re backing up rather than getting closer. It is unfortunate how the Old Sheldon Church has become more fragile. But time and one touch too many has a way of doing that. May I ask what kind of calamity it experienced to become a ruin. I like your header image very much … sunset I suppose?

    I’ll be enabling your candy corn addiction in a few days, showing what I can offer in “product.” (LOL) 🙂

    • Hi David – yes Old Sheldon has quite a history. Originaly burned by the British, then after being rebuilt, last burned Sherman’s troops in the Civil war. Never rebuilt, it was ravaged by both whites and blacks who used its interior to rebuild their homes after the war. Thanks re the header – sunRISE actually, on the way to Deveaux Crab Bank which was featured this past Sunday on CBS Sunday morning. I can taste those candy corns just by thinking about them!

  8. Beautiful selections, Tina! The rice field is stunning, beautifully captured with wide angle lens. The foggy moring is breathtaking. The last image, wow!!

  9. Travelers can seldom do without some wide angle shots. I like that photo of Bryce, going wide. My wife raves about the place, and I’ve never been there. All previous shots I’ve seen are closer. This one gives me a better sense of the place. The rice fields also do well in your wide shots. I love the colours in that photo: the brilliant green of the paddy against the blue distances in the same photo.

    Bar Harbour in your shot looks clearer than I ever saw it!

    • Many thanks IJ. Have to agree with your wife, Bryce is spectacular. The bizarre hoodoos look marvelous en mass, and just as amazing close up. Both a photographer’s and a hiker’s dream. It was my favorite National Park. The rice fields were the highlight of our trip to China (OK except for the Great Wall – a lifelong dream realized. (But a really close call!)

  10. The Glacier park photo is stunning! And Bryce Canyon is amazing. These are both scenes I have never seen in life so I am quite gobsmacked! I am working on some wide angle shots for this challenge. Your response is marvelous Tina!

  11. What beautiful, images, Tina. I said “wow” with the second Sheldon Church photo. I love the composition of that one. The live oak add a sense of timelessness to the church structure.

  12. No, I can’t choose between those two images of Old Sheldon Church. They are both beautiful. I like the way you have explained how you captured these moments. I never use a tripod, though I keep saying I should. I have got used to stepping back since I bought a prime lens, though I appreciate it isn’t always possible! Makes you understand more about composition.

    • Thanks Jude – I am not much of a tripod shooter myself as I find it rather cumbersome but sometimes, particularly pre-dawn or late evening, it’s rather a must because of the low light. Glad you enjoyed both church shots – I’m rather torn myself LOL.

  13. I love all of your images, and I enjoyed reading your commentary on your approach to capturing the scenes. I particularly like the Longsheng rice fields and that final shot of Glacier NP – that’s somewhere high on my ever-expanding wish-list! As to the Sheldon church, both images are very effective but you asked us to choose a favourite so I’ll go for the one with the live oak as it shows the unusual setting of the church among trees and has a mysterious quality.

  14. Great collection, Tina. I love especially the second image of the ruin ( did you process it with some kind of DRI or HDR software?) and the last one 👍. There are two important but contradicting rules: step back and get closer ! I‘d say: learn how to emphasize, what the important part of the image is and act accordingly. You, Tina, know both of them and how to incorporate them in your photography 👍😊

    • Thanks Andre – loved your succinct “rules”. We’ll said! I do think I used some HDR for the images from that shoot but not on the sunburst image. The church is surrounded by trees and some of the angles are very difficult to capture. It’s a lovely relic tho and we’ll worth the effort. It’s now unfortunately surrounded by a very high, locked iron fence. Sad.

      • The sunburst image looks quite naturally, but the other one (tree in front of the ancient walls) has some colors reminding me of HDR. Securing locations is often an important topic for landowners, especially when ruins are on that particular land. Too many people don’t pay a reasonable amount of patience for their own security. That’s odd. One of the reasons why one can’t access some places anymore.

  15. I really liked the rice paddy shot and then I came to the one of Glacier. Wowza! Of course you know me and mountains, but I’d love that one on my wall. But what I appreciated most was your view of what “wide angle” means. I wasn’t going to join this week because I don’t have a wide angle lens and I didn’t want to do all panoramas. I still might not due to activities but at least now I know I could. 🙂


  16. Wow, Tina. Stunning images. Maybe you should think more about shooting wide!! 😀. You knocked this one out of the park. Really fabulous! And yes, I agree that the kit 18 to 55 mm does a decent job. That’s my “go-to” lens. BTW…I really like the Sheldon Church image on the left. It shows the power of the structure, its height, and its beauty. The texture of the bricks is beautiful, too.

    • LOL, not really dangerous, just confined space. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to our guide in China for making sure I was out 2 hours before I’d normally have gone for the best light. In the rice fields the mountains lose their best sunlight much earlier. Who knew?!

  17. Wow Tina! Great images. The GNP image with the Fuji is stunning. My next favorite is the Old Sheldon Church with the tree in front. Simply beautiful. The tree acts as an intro to the subject.

    • It WAS surreal Laurel – one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Amazing to go from dismal, foggy, wet and rainy and then in a flash to literally be above the clouds in the bright sunshine. Amazing.

  18. Great images and thoughts on wide angle … when I’m backpacking I always plan on using the create panorama tool in Lightroom for my wide angle shots.
    And thanks for using the John Lennon quote on the 50th anniversary the week of the release of the Imagine album.

    • Hi Allan, and thanks! Didn’t know about Lennon’s anniversary – that album was an amazing piece of work. I’ve done a few panoramas but am never really happy with them. Will have to check out some of yours.

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