Out of all the lenses available to me, the wide angle is my favorite. In many ways I consider it part of my personal style, largely because it allows me to express my vision in ways that other lens families do not give me access to.
For me the grand landscape is the primary subject. For me photographing the whole of the landscape, the entire scope of land formations in front of me is fulfilling my vision.
Often, I want to create a visual comparison between what is close and what is far. What is in front of my feet and what is miles away. At such times the only lens that will let me do that is the wide angle.
The wide angle also imparts dynamism to the scene by emphasizing the sense of depth and exaggerating the relative size of the objects in the scene. By doing so it pushes further away the everyday view we have of the world, and creates images that are more surreal than real.
I tried several different compositions before finalizing my choice onto this particular one. I found the location the evening before, then returned the next day in the dark to set up before sunrise. It is very difficult to find a good composition in the dark!
My other compositions of this scene were all horizontals, essentially because without a foreground the only other possibility is a long-lens view of the teepees. In this case an horizontal image makes more sense because it allows you to include more distant teepees in the image.
The vertical composition however allows me to contrast object sizes nicely as well as show the texture of the rocks. It invites close examination on the part of the viewer, and invites the audience to become involved in the photograph.
I used a wide angle to create this image, thereby infusing movement and dynamism in the image. The use of the wide angle worked well in this instance because the teepees in the middle area of the image are still large enough to be recognizable. Had they been further away they would have become too small for their shapes to echo the shape of the foreground rock.
About Alain Briot
Alain Briot creates fine art photographs, teaches workshops and offers DVD tutorials on composition, printing and on marketing photographs. Alain is also the author of Mastering Landscape Photography. This book is available from Amazon and other bookstores as well as directly from Alain. You can find more information about Alain’s work, writings and tutorials on his website at http://www.beautiful-landscape.com