Going Wide? Get Close.

My daughter’s second birthday is May 10th. After she was born, we brought her home from the hospital on Mother’s Day.  This year, my Mother’s Day present arrived a week early. It’s a Canon EF-S- 10-22 mm lens.  After school ends, we will make a weekend of it before summer camp starts, and visit a national park or other scenic area for back country hiking or camping. Fun with a tot in diapers, right? There I will find time and patiently make some expansive visual embraces of large open space.

For this first run going wide, mostly I concentrated on “getting close,” as advised on photo discussion boards.  Shooting with this super wide, especially at the widest angle of 10mm, it was essential to remember that every micro movement of the lens–in relative terms to the subject–would drastically alter the results.


MOUND OF LAVENDER | 1/250 sec; F/8; ISO-125; 10mm

In the first few hours of use, I played with linear distortions of architecture and rectangular objects. Some murals on small buildings enchanted me. All my shots were made hand-held without fussing with the tripod.

The colors and designs of this mural below alludes to Native American pottery decoration. If I had moved in any closer, I would have had to sacrifice a part of the wall, which I really didn’t want to do. When I stepped up closer, that stairwell on the right would get clipped, so I had to back up.


INDIAN BACK ALLEY |1/800 sec; F/8; ISO-125;10mm


My sales experience has taught me that after signing a contract or holding a meeting with a prospect, one should make a T to the right or left to pursue new business opportunities. It’s much the same in street photography. After taking my intended shot, I made a 180 degree turn after asking myself, “What could I have I missed? Is there something else interesting around here that I did not expect to see?”  In this case, immediately behind the Indian Back Alley was a narrow street with a darling small building that had a simply elegant painted wall.

Barrymore's AntiquesBrass Wood Glass Second-Hand Class

BARRYMORE’S ANTIQUES [ Brass Wood Glass Second-Hand Class] | 1/400 sec; f/8; ISO-125; 10mm. The focus of this painted wall, to me,  was the leaping black Scimitar Oryx figures. The white lettering on the far right black corner beneath the store sign made me smile. That’s what I included in the caption brackets .

With this new lens, I captured a mural I enjoy while driving east on Central Ave NE, near UNM. Unfortunately, two parked cars at street meters book-ended the mural. I was forced to clip off a tad on the right-most portion of the wall; I took in as much as I could.



The kids were with me on this photo excursion. We decided on an ice-cream break before heading to a playground. On the way out of this part of town, we drove west on Gold Ave SE. There one encounters lots of bland single and double-story adobe apartment houses for rent. I couldn’t resist the slice of life of an apartment courtyard where college students have likely taken up roost. Henry L., a FLICKR acquaintance, commented to me that this shot was, “Eclectic… kites, chair, scooter, and trash. Real life !”


KITES IN THE COURTYARD | 1/100 sec; F/8; ISO-125;13mm


And on to the playground. We don’t frequent this one because it’s not within walking distance from our house. It features large climbing structures ideally suited for energetic school-aged kids. With so many lines on the jungle gyms, I had a ball driving the lens. The challenge was dealing with the sun: flare creeps easily into the scene with a wide angle; one best beware or allow it in.



CHALK HEARTS | 1/2500 sec.; F/5;ISO-125;21mm


SUPERWIDE AT THE PLAYGROUND | 1/800 sec; F/5; ISO-125; 22mm


Finally, this morning we had a giggle at the bus stop. Before the boys hopped aboard, I snapped them at the doorway. When I showed them how the new lens made their bus look really long and stretched out, they laughed at my parlor trick.


TAKE THE LONG BUS | 1/160 sec.; F/7.1; ISO-125;10mm



5 responses to “Going Wide? Get Close.

  1. Aw, this was a really nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to generate a great article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and don’t seem to get anything done.


    • Thank you for your positive feedback Margaret! It is a discipline to sit and write content to go in a blog entry. Jot down your who-what-where-why-when-AND-how. Which of these elements would be most appealing to your audience? Focus a few sentences on that, and build the content around it to flesh out the story in your post. Natalie Goldberg’s _Writing Down the Bones:Freeing the Writer Within_ is one of my favourite guidebooks for helping to develop your writing voice. /Rachael


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  3. It’s going to be end of my day, but before it is finished I am reading this fantastic paragraph to improve my photographic knowledge.


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