I’ve been thinking off and on for the last three years of purchasing a fish eye lens, but I couldn’t justify the expense and really, whether or not I would use it all that much. Lensbaby lenses would more or less do the same and they’re waaaay cheaper than a dedicated fish eye.
But then I got into mountain bike photography where the wider the angle of view is often times better (and makes the rider look like a total bad ass).
So, I did some research last weekend, took a good long run Monday morning to help me decide, came home and hit the “add to cart” button on B&H and commenced to waiting for the White Present Truck (a.k.a. Fed Ex) to arrive with my new 16mm f/2.8 fish eye lens.
As soon as it came Wednesday, I read the small instructional manual that came with the lens, packed up my backpack and headed out to my favorite hiking trails south of town where I hiked, explored and roamed, stopping to take pictures or stopping just to relish the quiet and the light shifting down through the treetops.
The lens is tiny and weighs next to nothing. The trick, and this was something that caught my eye in the manual, is making sure that I keep my hands and feet out of the frame. Something else that I had to watch was my shadow creeping into the bottom of the picture, so I had to make sure to re-adjust my position to the sun to make sure I stayed out of the picture. The great thing about this lens is that it’s teaching me so much about composition. Composition is something that has always come easy to me (it was understanding the Exposure Triangle that gave me fits), but with the fish eye, I’m really aware about doing, what I call, the “Eye Sweep” of the frame before clicking the shutter, checking to make sure that there isn’t anything included that I don’t want in the photo. I’ve always done the Eye Sweep before, but with this lens, I do it at least three times before hitting the shutter.
But I love the whole fish bowl effect, how it looks like I’m peering out into the world from my cozy little den or like I’m way on top of a mountain looking way down below me when I’m just a mere two feet off the ground.
Some of you may not like this effect. It might make you dizzy or carsick (I’m thinking of my daughter who has a hard time with my panning shots. 😉). But I like the whole fishbowl outlook on life, it makes life much more interesting.
I can’t wait to try this lens out on the next mountain bike event.
And the lens is great for making some silly portraits of Langley the Lab, too!