Exercise 4. – Focal lengths

Usually I go out or arrange something at home to photograph, but that day it just presented itself, I only needed to look out the window… It was a miserable day, very dark and rainy, and there was the sunshine coming through the clouds for a brief moment – quite bizarre weather conditions – and then the rainbow appeared. That’s when I shot this with the Canon 15-85 mm kit lens on my Canon 60D.


15 mm

I took this photograph from the top floor window, unfortunately the 15mm wasn’t wide enough to capture the entire rainbow and I couldn’t move back otherwise I would have had the window frame in the picture as well. The wide angle separates the trees and the houses well, creating a sense of depth.

35 mm

35 mm

50 mm

50 mm

85 mm

85 mm

As the focal length increases, the angle of view decreases, compressing the scene, the trees in the background appear a lot closer to the houses than they actually are. As I changed the the focal length, I focused on the left side of the rainbow as it was more visible and dramatic, dividing the sky into two sections, and the chimneys also became a point of interest.

This exercise made me realise that the character of the picture can be easily changed by using various focal lengths, just as placing the subject to different positions within the frame. Depending on where I want to guide the viewer’s eye, I can zoom in and magnify an element, perhaps barely visible, it becomes the centre of interest, a completely different image with different qualities, inevitably changing the purpose of the photograph.


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