SL Photography: Wide-angle effects

Kultivate Contributor Myra Wildmist is back with another tutorial! This time she demonstrates how to create wide-angle effects:

In our last few articles, we’ve been focusing on wide-angle lenses – the 20mm and 24mm lenses. As I mentioned, since they open of the field of view (FoV), widen it, they’re great for landscapes and capturing interiors.

Wide-angle lenses, especially ultra wide-angle ones, are less forgiving if your camera’s focal point is above or below the horizon, though. All lenses distort the world to some extent, but this distortion can be especially noticeable with a wide-angle lens. If your focal point (Alt+LMB) is off the horizon too far your photo look very distorted.

Below, are two images.The top one with the focal point way in the air. You can see how distorted the buildings get, almost looking like they’re racing off somewhere. If you’re doing this unintentionally, just readjust your focal point and put it on the horizon.

The bottom image has the focal point set on the horizon at the end of the street.

highhor (1).png
Look at those leaning buildings.  The focal point of this image is way in the air.
goodhor.png
All the buildings are vertical.  Yay! The focal point is on the horizon at the end of the road.

You can use these effects to your advantage and get some interesting photos. In the photo below, I used a 24mm lens with a high focal point. It gives the effect of stretching the
two-story buildings, making them look like skyscrapers.

climbing.png
It’s a long climb up those stairs

Final thought

Keep in mind the distortion effect happens with all lenses, so if your photo looks like all the world around your subject is about to fall in or it’s bending out, just readjust your focal point. You can re-position the camera after you reset the focal point.

You should always set your focal point. Don’t assume SL knows where you want to focus your camera.

Next time, we’re on to 85mm – 105mm lenses and portraiture.That means we’ll probably talk about taking a profile photo.

5 thoughts on “SL Photography: Wide-angle effects

    1. Hi, Virtual. I’m so glad you liked the article. Feel free to IM me if you need help.

      You set you focal/focus point by holding down the Alt key and click your left mouse button (Alt+LMB). You can also you the magnify glass on your camera controls, but that keeps you in the select focal point mode. Alt+LMB is easy and faster.

      More kb commands are in this article:
      https://kultivatemagazine.com/2016/06/09/sl-photography-keyboard-commands/

      Liked by 1 person

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