Exercise 1: From far and from close

For this exercise I am using the two photographs from Creative Arts Today on pages 170 and 171, which look very different from each other.

The first image on page 170 was taken with a wide angle lens and shows a much longer depth of view and a lot more information than the second one using a telephoto lens.

The white fence in the foreground appears enlarged and sharply in focus and gives access to the vast landscape expanding to the horizon, drawing the viewer in and enhancing the sense of space and depth. Also the degrading size of the clouds in the sky contributes to accentuate the depth of field and extends the perspective. The whole city is in the frame and can be taken all in as it spreads before our eyes even if it is difficult to perceive the single details of the buildings and of the other elements which appear sketchy, like patches of colour.

In the second image taken with a telephoto lens we come physically closer to the left area in the middle ground of the photograph and we get a much neater view of some urban details: the features, shapes and patterns of the individual elements like the buildings and the rooftops can now be appreciated, their colours can be distinguished, features that were difficult to see like the bridge and the green areas now appear much more clearly. What is lost in this second photograph is the sense of space, the town expansiveness; depth is compressed and the result is a certain flatness of the image. The absence of the white fence makes it difficult to judge relative sizes and distances.

I would not say that one photograph is preferable to the other, rather I think that the two images make different choices as to what to show: the wide angle one opts for a larger, deeper vision of the whole landscape, the telephoto image focuses on only some elements and gives more detailed information about them, renouncing depth of field.




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