Get Closer, 2 – Walking vs. Zooming

In the previous post titled Get Closer I mentioned that there are two ways to get closer –

  1. Moving your feet
  2. Zooming a telephoto lens

I concentrated on #1. This is not to say that #2 doesn’t have its place – especially if walking to get closer entails stepping off a cliff 😉
Here are three images to illustrate the difference – point of view & perspective – between the two methods. The 1st & 3rd image appeared in the original post. The 2nd illustrates the result of cementing your feet in the location where the 1st image was made and simply zooming your lens as needed. The zoom effect could be achieved in-post processing by crapping cropping the photo (and throwing away over 50% of your pixels in the process. Why not try to get it right in the camera? And you wonder why I am a Certified Camera Curmudgeon? ;-). In case you never thought about it, the cropping approach is exactly how digital point & shoots, that offer digital zoom as opposed to optical zoom, achieve their result – said result is poorer image quality.
As always, click to enlarge.

I am not saying that any one of these three images is best. It depends entirely on you and what story you are trying to tell. All that I’m attempting to show is a single illustration of the difference between walking closer and zooming closer. The difference depends on the subject and its surroundings. A lone tree in a large flat meadow will fail to illustrate the changes in perspective as much as the current example.
A final point – really work your subject. Use different lenses, different positions, different angles, and different camera orientations. Don’t stop with one or two shots and move on. If you follow this advice you may be surprised at how often the best image is made long after the first image – and you’d have missed it by stopping too soon.
Nuf’ said.

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