Tech info: D90, 18-200mm
One of my favorite ways to use a wideangle is to move in really tight on a subject, getting as close as I can to it (without being pecked, kicked, slapped or arrested) and have it fill one side of the frame, while letting the background fill the rest.
It’s a great way to create a strong, storytelling picture of inanimate objects or people (or roosters). You just have to be careful, with people, not to get so close that you distort their features (unless you want to).
Here’s another example, using one of the Gorgon heads at Magnis Lepta in Libya as an anchor for the composition:
Tech: D70, 12-24mm
Or this shot of the Place of Refuge on the Big Island:
Tech: D80, 12-24
Most of the time, the side of the frame I place the subject on depends on which way he, she, or it is looking. You always (well, almost always) want the subject looking into the frame (don’t ask me why, it just feels right).
For the Hawaii shot, it was a gray afternoon, and it wasn’t twilight yet, so I set the WB to tungsten, orange gelled my SB 800 flash (which was being held by my brother Gary, who was the writer on the piece, and fired through my little portable handheld umbrella system). I underexposed the background by about 2 stops and ramped up the flash till it looked right.
So move on in with the wide angle for stronger compositions….but be careful not to ruffle any feathers!