Recent Photographs: all photographs © 1969-2013 by Carl Weese
You seem to be showing several wider shots these days - I am guessing, with the Pentax 15mm lens? - but these compositions look similarly ordered and restrained to the rest. Is this conscious, and if so, does it require particular care to maintain the desired "tone of voice"? Often a characteristic thing happens with wide angles: pictures get more prosaic and everyday, but at the same time more exuberant - a "messier" reality.
Richard, that's really interesting. Yes, many recent posts are shot with the 15mm, while before the 21mm predominated. This is a familiar area: my all time favorite Nikkor lens for my film Nikons was the 24mm f/2. I wish the 15 were f/2, or just crisp at f/4, but the effective length is an old friend. The lens I use second most often on my 8x10 camera (after the 240) is the 165mm SA, which is a pretty close equivalent to the 15 on APS-C.Your notion of prosaic and messier is something I'll have to think more about. For me, the reason to work with short lenses is to get close to the subject. The physical distance between the photographer/camera and the content of the picture is a palpable thing (though often only subliminally). The closer you get, the stronger the connection. But if glaring optical-drawing artifacts of that close distance become a distraction, the game is lost. I'm not sure that I want to go a whole lot wider than this. Twenty-five years ago I bought a 15mm for 35 film format lens to use on a large commercial contract, and sold it after the checks cleared. I suppose a certain "ordered and restrained" graphic sense is always working in my mind, but in a tense relationship with the physical immediacy a short lens imposes.
You seem to be saying, more intimacy from a close working distance... and I'd agree, except that for me, this only works with a "blocked" scene - looking at the ground with no visible horizon, or at a backdrop of some kind. I can't make that work with an open vista beyond; it always seems to slip into the usual distracting game of near vs far, big vs small.
Well, I don't know that near/far has to be a distracting game though I'm sure it can be. I've done a lot of big view landscapes with my banquet cameras, and I don't own lenses for them that even approach "normal"--they're all really short. Let me look up a couple of web galleries that might be relevant and post the links...http://www.carlweese.com/southernmountain04/smount.htmlhttp://www.carlweese.com/brsc.htmlhttp://www.carlweese.com/Giles.htmlOK, this is interesting. Looking at these pictures, which with just a couple of exceptions were made with moderate to really wide lenses, I'd have to say, with the advantage of several years distance from the shooting, that I was trying to have the immediacy of the short lens while intentionally hiding the artifacts of short lens use. I was looking for the advantages of close proximity--even to a view to the horizon--without giving visual clues to what was going on. Thanks for the very interesting question. I'm going to continue thinking about it.
Two more notions spring to mind, both verging on cliche: "cool" vs "warm" - and, "hunter" vs "gatherer". Well, enough of that facile guff. I'll need to ponder more on this idea of hiding the wideangle cues, that's a good insight. (Many people exaggerate these for dramatic effect, and it all gets too stagy.) I am very comfortable at 21mm (Pentax APS-C) but the DA15 needs to really justify itself creatively before I'd consider it - at roughly double the US price here (UK), and I'd make no income from it. Best regards, RP
sorry to revisit an old post, but I have been reading a wonderful series in the NYTIMES concerning the FSA, Rothstein, Evans, et all (http://morris.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/22/the-case-of-the-inappropriate-alarm-clock-part-5/) and this quote from today's entry reminded me of this entry in your blog: "....but what it means depends on the focal length of the lens you use — if it is a long lens then it is abstracted from the landscape, if it is a wide-angle lens, the landscape becomes the context."
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