Narrowing the field of view, either moving closer or using a longer focal length lens, is one of the most under utilized tools I see most amateurs and many of my students overlook these days. I don’t know why that is, but as I tell my students mentally “narrowing your vision” and then cropping in camera is the single most powerful creative technique (that costs nothing I might ad!) that can drastically improve any style of photography.
Narrowing our field of view is how we as professionals and artists create composition. When you walk into a scene and merely point the camera with say a 24mm lens, and record the whole scene you’ll rarely come away with an artistic composition. An artistic composition, with visual interest, is often created by what the artist does Not show. In other words, the artist chooses to show something (as the center-of-interest) and eliminates other things that may distract the viewer’s attention away from what the artist wants you to see.
It’s obvious that this concept works on large scenes (landscapes) or large structures but it works equally well on smaller objects such as this truck…
I spotted this old blue chevy pick-up truck planted at the entrance to our local pumpkin patch. I moved around the truck finding the setting sun walking a patch of light across this fender and waited for it to light-up the rusted base, on top of the finder, where the truck’s antenna once was.
Here’s the truck 15 minutes earlier…
This is what I call a “Record Shot” of a truck. The truck as a whole is just not that interesting. In addition the light is coming from behind the truck—I’m looking for dramatic DIRECTIONAL light to high light details and textures.
It does not matter what I’m photographing—the Grand Canyon, the Roman Colosseum, a building or a truck—I may start with a wide angle lens, but I ALWAYS go to one of my telephotos next and slice-up the subject both vertically and horizontally into many often more interesting compositions in my attempt to show my audience something they have not seen before.
Isn’t that what art is supposed to do?
Author: Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman, Certified
Training site: http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com
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