New Image: "Winter Hat"
I have not been shooting much wide angle recently, as I've been more intrigued by longer focal lengths and tighter compositions (I expect this will be a cyclical thing). But during a hyper-cold stop at Pebble Beach, at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, I decided to pull out my ultra-wide to explore some of the cool ice formations along the shoreline.
The thing with shooting ultra-wide is that you have to get really close to your subjects. If you don't, you just end up with tiny subjects and way too much extra image (and distractions) around them. So, often, you end up having to be low to the ground, even sitting on some DARN COLD pebbles to be able to see what you are doing.
I usually end up inverting my tripod for these images, which allows me to get close to small things, but it sure makes the camera a lot harder to work (it's amazing how the super intuitive controls that are at this point muscle memory become mystifyingly difficult with the camera upside down). And while my camera can be controlled from the app in my phone, trying to work a phone with gloves is an even more frustrating experience, so it's just not an option on a very cold day! While working the camera can become a little bit of a challenge, at least there are knob combinations to adjust any setting. I sometimes take the gloves off to work the dials, but there is only so many times you can do this before your fingers start feeling a little numb! Notice that I am also wearing my cleats, which are critical if you are out shooting on some icy rocks.
I composed "Winter Hat" using live view, as you can see in the image below. I don't use the tripod leg spikes, I've always been able to find a way to leverage the tripod so that it is stable (and maybe I just don't want to be thinking about yet another thing to manage in the cold).
Most people think focus stacking is not necessary when shooting ultra-wide. And this is often true. However, when you get REALLY CLOSE to something, it will still be necessary. For example, at 15mm and f/8, your hyper focal distance is over 3' (so, if you focus on anything closer than that, the whole image will not be in focus). In this image, I was inches from the subject. So I used an aperture of f/16 (to minimize the shots needed to make a stack) and focused stacked three images. Each shot in the stack was taken at ISO 100 and 1.6 seconds. Here is the final image:
Most importantly, I still have all my fingers and toes!
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