Wide and Tight

Photo © Bob Krist

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:

Photo © Bob Krist

Tech: D70, 12-24mm

Or this shot of the Place of Refuge on the Big Island:

Photo © Bob Krist

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!

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. I like the careful placing of the rooster, too, so as to expose the lettering of the sign And, the little rooster (?) – kinda like a soft note on the piano; i.e., an echo of the theme. Great colors. Where was the pix taken?

    Degas’s pixs of his ballerinas had a lot of dramatic diagonal lines leading out of his photos, too. He liked to photo his dancers at oblique angles to get more into the photo (with the dance master in the foreground), adding to the 3-dimensionality effect. That’s where the WA can come in when photographing just about anything.

    Bill Allard uses those same kind of lines, too.

  2. Bob: I know you are using the smaller Nikon’s for travel. I have a D80 and want another small body. Do you recommend the D90, D5000, or wait for the latest update of D90. I like to shoot low light so I would like a camera with higher iso/low noise capability. What is the vertical object in front of the door on the Lucky Star photo. Almost looks like an animals tail…chicken for lunch.

    1. Mike: You can’t go wrong with the D90….that thing may be a feather or a piece of grass…whatever it was, I didn’t eat it! Bob

    2. Hi Mike, I have a D90 and also considered the D40, D60, etc. class of camera. Keep in mind the weight and volume you save on the smaller body might have to be made up for with another charger and set of batteries as they are a different type than the EN-EL3 that your D80 has. I believe the D5000 is the same.

      The D90 is wonderful, my unscientific estimate is that it is a stop and a half better in low light than my former D80.

  3. This is great, I really ought to carry my 12-24 more often. It feels so unloved 🙁

    Love these posts on great tried and true techniques I’ve neglected over time. I know the gear posts will always attract more visitors but keep these coming!!

  4. Wow, you have some incredible shots. I like the color contrasts and the HUE of colors you are able to capture. Looks like you have some good trick shots. Any problems with the Rooster staying still?

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