This exercise was all about the impact of focal length and the amount of a scene that can be included in a photograph taken from the same spot. I looked at a number of locations for this exercise, particularly seeking out places where there was a reasonable opportunity to get an unobstructed view of the subject for the longer range shots. I planned to shoot this sequence twice, once using an object and once using a landscape.
For the object series, I settled on Pitt’s Bridge, a five span bridge over the River Blackwater in Berkshire. It was originally built in 1717, although has doubtless been modified and repaired at intervals since. It has the advantage of facing east-west and the red brickwork lights particularly well at dusk and dawn. I went for an early morning shot and took four photographs, slightly recomposing at the longest focal length to achieve a better visual balance to that image.
The first photograph (24mm) was the widest angle I used and it shows the environment of parkland, the surrounding trees and the river flowing towards the bridge, i.e. it sets the scene and tells the whole story. At 55mm the amount of view is less, and the parkland setting has disappeared with the image being more about the river and immediately surrounding trees. At 105mm, the image is starting to be really just about the bridge, and the final image, shot at 200mm, shows only the bridge. The last image in many ways is the most interesting as it captures the details of the bricks and old ironwork as well as giving a glimpse under the arches to show the construction beneath the spans – much more intimate and interesting to me, and certainly my favourite image from the set.
As the focal length got longer it was clear to see that the angle of view closed in and there was greater apparent magnification of the image.
Canon 5D Mk II with 24-105mm f/4 and 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS lenses
24 to 200mm | ISO200