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Landscape Photography at an Extreme Focal Length

When it comes to landscape photography, the lens of choice is normally a wide angle focal length, such as a 24mm prime or 16-35mm zoom. Professionals often advocate exploring longer focal lengths by using something like a 70-200mm lens, but what about when you go even longer — much longer? This neat video explores creating landscape photos using an extra-long focal length. 

Coming to you from Brendan van Son, this interesting video takes a look at shooting landscape photos at 500mm. Traditionally, landscape images are shot at wide angles to capture the majority of the scene in a single frame, but of course, that is not to say you cannot use a longer focal length. In fact, this can be a fantastic way to create images unlike those we are used to seeing by leveraging the narrow angle of view's ability to isolate small elements and the telephoto compression's ability to bring elements closer together, resulting in dramatic, eye-catching images. Of course, that can be a lot of bulk to carry around, but it might be worth a try. Check out the video above for the full rundown. 

And if you really want to dive into landscape photography, check out "Photographing The World 1: Landscape Photography and Post-Processing with Elia Locardi." 

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5 Comments
Sam Sims's picture

This shows there are tried and tested approaches but no strict rules.

Tom Reichner's picture

I've taken thousands of landscape photos at 400mm, and hundreds that range from 500mm to 800mm. To me, that's par for the course. Never really liked the look of wide angle landscape shots.

Timothy Gasper's picture

Too many times I have looked at wide angle landscapes and just got lost in the scenery...wondering what it was I was supposed to be looking at. The whole point of a photo is that it should lead you somewhere. It could be more than one place, maybe, but certainly not lead you to....nowhere or to all over the place. Using teles and extreme teles had better take your eyes on a ride you will enjoy. But, to be fair, sometimes a photo of a beautiful scene should be just that. The beauty of it is that it leaves you feeling peaceful and happy.

James Kasameyer's picture

kc portland : I am glad to come across this piece and comments. I have been shooting landscapes at 200 -800 mm and sometimes higher also. I get some nice abstract images. Also some striking views of windblown breaking surf. Hard to tell at that range what shots were in focus.

charles hoffman's picture

telephoto lenses are designed to isolate an item.
they're designed to exclude.
a landscape is supposed to be inclusive and to present 3 dimensions - depth of scene along with its height and width.

A "telephoto landscape " can be a great nature photo - but calling it a landscape is a like calling a wet bird a "fish with fethers"