What’s so special about 21mm lenses for street photography? In the September issue of SPM, Virginia Hines had this to say, “Because they squeeze a wider-than-“normal” field of view into the same frame size, wide-angle lenses change the spatial relationships within the frame so that subjects seem farther from the camera and the apparent distance between objects (in some cases, the objects themselves) are elongated, which yields both creative opportunities and challenges.” True, there are plenty of challenges. A wider field of view means a lot more information and more elements to compose, but there are plenty of opportunities that come with this kind of wide lens too. Here are two that Virginia talked about in her article 7 Situations Where a 21mm Lens Will Improve Your Photography that have us ready to hit the streets with an ultra-wide lens to see what we can learn:
#1 When a street scene merits an image with plenty of background detail. Virginia explains, “When I’m confronted with a scene where I want to associate disparate elements by bringing them into the same frame, I appreciate the 21’s wide field of view.” With some practice, you’ll be able to create strong compositions with multiple elements, an advantage that can improve your storytelling skills.
#2 When you want to enhance the sense of depth with a vanishing point. Think railroad tracks, long city streets, the far end of your subway car. All of these situations include vanishing points and a 21mm lens can give you added sense of depth. Virginia comments, “Its ability to elongate perspective lines without much distortion in the foreground, along with generous depth of field, allows me to create images that convey a powerful sense of depth in space.”
These are just two of Virginia’s seven situations where using an ultra-wide lens on the street can give you unique creative opportunities. If you haven’t read it yet, here’s the link. And if you aren’t a subscriber yet, sign up here. You’ll gain access to hundreds of articles that will educate and inspire you as you continue your journey with street photography.
Happy shooting y’all!