It’s understandable why wide views of big open spaces are so popular. In fact to get us right into the scene all the way from the in-focus foreground detail at our feet to the distant view it’s essential to use a wide-angle lens. But as many landscape amateurs and pros will affirm, taking along a telephoto zoom significantly extends our creative options. Picking out distant details while experimenting with focal lengths can add interest and drama to a shot.
When I first got into landscape photography I found myself switching to longer lengths quite often. Although it adds to the weight I’ve to lug around over rough steep terrain on skinny legs, I always carry a zoom that takes me to 300mm (35mm equivalent). Farther might be even better. Some time after I’d moved over from Canon to Fujifilm (though I still hanker for a 6D) I bought the Fujinon XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS.
If you plod wearily around online you’ll discover that there are mixed views about this lens. Not that it matters much because let’s face it—there are mixed views on everything, often shot through with mind-numbing hair-splitting opinions. Recently I was on a forum where a Fujinon zoom lens got slated as being literally the worst Fujifilm produces, yet a few posts further down it was praised for its capabilities. So, pinch of salt!
The fact is that in my experience as a somewhat-hard-to-please amateur this stabilised Fujinon is very well constructed and has brought home really good handheld results, typically at ISO 400 or more. More than good enough for me then. And, zoomscaper that I am, I won’t head out into the landscape without it.
If you’re new to outdoor photography and you’ve been concentrating on wide-angle shots of open spaces, maybe you could try experimenting with longer focal lengths. Find out how it suits your shooting style. I’ve discovered it really helps if I can include someone in the shot. Unfortunately, I prefer the place to myself and an early low sun. So in the summer months especially that sometimes means shooting a deserted landscape through the lingering mist. You can’t have everything.
To see Slieve Donard in the Mourne Mountains from the air click or tap HERE.