German photographer Christian Schmidt was commissioned last year to shoot a series of photos of the world, from the perspective of Earth itself.
The project, which was done for Toyota and the ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi Düsseldorf, required Schmidt to get creative with a wide angle lens. He shot all the photos with Phase One and Alpa SW cameras and a Leaf Aptus back using 23mm, 28mm and 35mm lenses — ultra wide focal lengths on medium format.
“There was a lot locationscouting before we finally started with taking the actual pictures,” Schmidt tells PetaPixel. He spent 3 weeks in Germany, Austria, Iceland, Tenerife, LaGomera, and the coast of France.
For some of the photos, Schmidt and his crew dug a bit into the ground to get the camera even lower.
The goal of the ad campaign was to show “a different, changed perspective,” Schmidt says. “The view from the earth itself and to visualize the sensitivity for the earth, nature and world we are living in.”
This series of ad photos went on to win a number of awards in the advertising industry.
Just before sunset a few days ago, a gorgeous double rainbow appeared over the San Francisco Bay. I happened to have a fisheye lens attached to my camera, so I ran outside and snapped the shot above.
The rainbow stuck around for a few minutes, so I had time to shoot using a few different setups.
There are many articles out there with tips about how to photograph rainbows; there’s nothing I can write about technique that hasn’t been covered, but I wanted to show what you can expect to get using a few different wide lenses.
What was surprising is that a 16mm lens on a full-frame camera (10mm on APS-C; 8mm on Micro Four Thirds) is not wide enough to capture a full double rainbow.
I didn’t have time to try a 12mm or 14mm lens, but I did shoot using a 16mm full-frame fisheye lens on the full-frame Sony a7R II, and a Rokinon 8mm II fisheye lens on a Sony a6500. You’ll notice that an iPhone (or other current smartphone) has no chance of capturing a full rainbow in a single shot, although sweeping a pano works well.
About the author: Eric Cheng is an award-winning photographer, technologist, drone expert, and author based in San Francisco, California. He has served as Director of Aerial Imaging at DJI and Director or Photography at Lytro. He currently serves as Facebook’s Head of Immersive Media. You can learn more about him, see his work, and connect with him through his website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This article was also published here.
The first rule for any photographers, portrait, landscape, or weddings: always, always check your gear, count it twice, because the last thing you don’t want to happen is not having the right gear for what you want to shoot.
But s**t happens — none of us are perfect. Just like when I went for a long weekend trip to the Rocky Mountain National Park, the highest altitude national park in the lower 48 with sweeping views of the Continental Divide. Annnnnd I forgot my wide-angle lens…
Trying to pack light with just one lens, I ended up carrying my 55-200 zoom lens instead.
So when we hiked up Chasm Lake, coming up to a sweeping view of the craggy peaks, waterfalls and mists, I was pretty upset at myself for forgetting my 10-24mm. But then I harkened back to my early days starting this hobby, when I used to do a lot more panoramic shots with a kit lens before ponying up for a proper wide angle or even a tripod.
So here’s what I did to get a panoramic shot without a tripod:
1. Frame the picture in my mind, so I remember where to start and where to stop
2. Meter at one of the frames, and set everything to manual to fix the settings (aperture, shutter speed, focus, ISO, white balance). This is so that the exposures on each frames are the same
3. Hold the camera close to my body with my elbows squared on my torso, my left hand holding the base of the lens.
4. Start shooting at the center of the frame that I wanted to shoot for, and start spiralling out, pivoting the camera with my left hand as the axis. Basically trying to avoid parallax errors by pivoting as close to the base of the lens as possible. (Using LCD Live View mode is useful here because you want to try to stay as still as possible)
5. Take a picture of the ground or with the lens cap on, so I know when my series of panorama pictures ends
6. Put everything back to your previous setting, so you won’t screw up your next shot by leaving it in the last setting (lesson learned the hard way)
After my trip, I downloaded all the pictures to Lightroom CC and used the built-in stitching tool (Menu bar: Photo > Merge > Panorama). Which is a great tool since I no longer have to rely on third party apps, like Hugin, to stitch my photos. Granted, it’s not as much control as Hugin, but it works pretty well for the most part.
My panorama consisted of 20 pictures total, and with my aging 2010 Macbook the stitching takes a while to complete (but not too bad, like 15 minutes or so).
Once Lightroom is done stitching, I cropped the picture to remove the white spaces. And do my minor post processing after (exposure, contrast, colors).
Note: before starting the stitch, I do apply the image sharpening to all the frames first.
And just like that, I get to have a picture to remember the scenery even without my wide-angle lens. And on the plus side, I get crazy details on this picture (mind you the JPEG is about ~66MB at full rez).
Can you spot the hikers at the trail just over the upper left of the waterfall?
So yeah, you can do a panoramic shot without a tripod or a wide-angle lens. It’s not perfect, and sometimes you do get parallax errors without having a proper tripod/panoramic plate. But hey, when you’re in a pinch, it never hurts to try.
You can always make do with what you got and it might just force you to think a little more creatively.
About the author: Ryan Prawiradjaja, who goes by Ryan P, is a photographer, runner, and traveler from the San Francisco Bay Area and currently based in Austin, Texas. You can find more of his work on his website, Instagram, and Flickr. This article was also published here.
The 20mm f/1.8, released under the tagline “Explore Your Wideness,” features 13 elements in 12 groups including two aspherical and three extra-low dispersion elements. As with the 35mm f/1.2, this manual focus lens promises “to minimize aberration and unnecessary light dispersion, delivering high resolution from the center to the corners of the image.”
Beyond the lens elements, the Samyang 20mm f/1.8 features a circular 7-blade aperture and a minimum focusing distance of 0.2m (~8 inches).
The lens will come in Canon EOS, Nikon AE, Pentax K, Sony alpha, Canon M, Fujifilm X, Samsung NX, Sony E, FT, and MFT mounts.
“Samyang 20mm F1.8 ED AS UMC is a wide angle manual focus lenses for DSLR cameras with full frame sensor size,” writes Samyang on the product page. “The flow of light is devised based on the uniqueness of the distance from glass to sensor in mirrorless cameras to create optimal performance.”
So while this will work with DSLRs, it seems the target market Samyang has in mind are mirrorless full-frame shooters.
The photo version of the lens (a cine version was also released today) is slated arrive in September, and will cost 500 Euro (~$550 USD). To learn more, head over to the Samyang website by clicking here.