Best wide-angle lens? Two steps backward. Look for the ‘ah-ha’.Ernst Haas, photo-journalist
Looking for the ‘ah-ha’ seems to me to be an excellent mantra for any photographer. Although in truth I sometimes search for that not by stepping back but by zooming in. For me the important thing is not to settle for the obvious, for the first angle that occurs to me.
Digital photography frees us from the constraints of cost imposed by film, so we can try multiple angles, wide and otherwise. Move around our subjects, step back or zoom in …
Of course we don’t always have that luxury. For wildlife or action shots we must seize the opportunity; we may only get one brief chance. The temptation on sighting an animal is to use your zoom to capture a close-up image, and of course I do that. But it’s good to find the time too if you can to take some wider shots. Capturing the land itself on camera provides context for the wildlife shots and places the animals in their context.
For this week’s Lens Artists Challenge theme of ‘Going wide’, set by Patti, I’ve assembled some shots of the stunning landscapes of Botswana and of the animals that inhabit those lands. Some of these I have shared before, others I hope will be new to you. Together they demonstrate that ‘going wide’ can indeed deliver that ‘ah-ha’ moment we all seek.
Impala herd by the Chobe River
Elephants coming to drink from the Chobe River
Zebra and Sable grazing in Chobe NP
Lioness and cubs with distant buffalo, Chobe NP
Game drives in Chobe NP – a good sighting draws the crowds
Hippo pool on Palm Island in the Okavango Delta
Okavango Delta elephant
Red Lechwe in the Okavango Delta
Distant elephants on Sausage Island in the Okavango Delta
A note on cameras and lenses
These days I use a Panasonic Lumix FZ200 as my main camera; all the images above were shot on that. In the old days when I shot on film I used an SLR camera with a selection of lenses. But I found I almost always used a wide-angle to telephoto zoom rather than change lens. Besides, I got tired of carrying a lot of equipment; (my back seems to have aged faster than the rest of me!)
So when I changed to digital I opted for a bridge camera; and after a brief flirtation with a disappointing Fuji Finepix have settled on the Lumix which suits me perfectly. These photos were taken on its widest setting. If I can’t get wide enough I sometimes follow the advice of Haas and step back. Alternatively I shoot panoramas, create them in Photoshop, or cheat by using a letter-box crop. With wild animals the ‘step back’ option is always an advisable one!
I visited Botswana in 2018