Ever the photophile, a particularly languid morning found me wandering Miramar beach of Goa, testing out my 150-600 Tamron lens. Goa at dawn is quite the ghost town. A smattering of housewives waging a never ending battle against waist fat. Stray dogs lying comatose after a night of reverie. Groggy eyed morning walkers. And the ubiquitous drunk tourists, shambling around like Zombies searching for chai.
Intending to capture a glorious, sweeping view of the beach, I reached for my 14 mm wide angle lens, when upon espying a myriad bunch of young, tender coconut palms, I was soon lying down like a voyeur, camera pointed up their leggy, rugged length. The resultant imagery, is presented here for your viewing pleasure.
Whenever a wide angle lens is pointed above or below the horizon, it causes parallel, vertical lines to appearing in a frame, as if they were converging. All lenses do this – even telephoto lens. The broad expanse of converging lines is clearly visible on utilizing a wide angle lens. Thus, when using a wide angle lens, even small changes in composition will alter the vanishing point by a large amount.
A Samyang 14mm Ultra Wide-Angle f/2.8 IF ED UMC lens was used in conjunction with a full frame Canon EOS 5D mark III DSLR, to capture the palms in a way that makes them appear to be spreading out across the horizon, coming together in the center of the image, even though they are, in actuality, parallel to one another. Exaggerated vertical tilt has resulted in such a large amount of convergence. Wide angle also makes the trees too unusually tall even those these are dwarf variety in real life.
You can reduce these converging verticals in several ways –
(I) Aim your camera closer to the horizon, even if this means that you’ll capture a lot of ground in addition to the subject (which you crop later)
(II) Get much further from your subject and use a lens with a longer focal length
(III) Use image software to remove these distortion from the photo so that vertical lines diverge less, or
(IV) Use a tilt/shift lens to control perspective.
All these options, however, offer their own respective drawbacks, whether it be resolution in the case of points I & III, convenience/perspective in case of point II, or cost, technical knowledge in the case of point IV.
In conclusion, while architecturally converging lines might appear out of place in an image like this, they look aesthetically pleasing and offer an interesting take on the subject.