Join Justin Reznick for an in-depth discussion in this video Using a telephoto lens to create an original image, part of Landscape Photography: Telephoto Lenses.
- There's a real thirst for being original or creating original content within photography. And while I think that the most important thing is making images that really make you happy, that please your eye is the most important thing, I certainly do embrace originality, and I do think if that's a goal of yours, one of the keys to getting there is really embracing telephoto lenses. When you have the ability to isolate interesting elements of a particularly iconic location, that gives you the opportunity for that original look you may be going for.
Now what I'd like to do is demonstrate some work by Frank Gehry. Now, in my Chicago architectural course, I kind of really introduced the idea of following an architect you're really passionate about, and I'm going to share a couple images from different locations. Now, I'm not going to show you what the buildings themselves look like. You're definitely free to do an image search online to see, but what I want to show you is what I took away from the buildings, what made me excited in terms of capturing an image.
And if you go online to do an image search, I would challenge you to find something similar because chances are most images are going to be wide angle, basically taking in the entire building. Well, for me, that's kind of doing what everybody's doing. I want to find something that really catches my eye. So we're going to start with a building that's often referred to as the Dancing House, and this was taken in Prague. So if you do a search for Frank Gehry dancing house Prague, you'll get a whole bunch of images. But this particular one here, I call windows, and you just see the windows of the side of the building with these fantastic lines that I just love coming through and also the light here where it's just really bright and gets a littler bit darker here and then brightens up again.
This, to me, I just, I love this image. It just makes me happy, but, again, it's not the story of the whole building. It's original, and it's fresh, and it makes you feel like, hey, I saw something in here. Yeah, maybe somebody else saw it at some point but not to my knowledge, It was something that was fresh to me at the time. So I really encourage you to use a telephoto lens to create original work. Let's look at another example from Frank Gehry. This was taken at the Cleveland Clinic for brain research in Las Vegas.
So, again, it's the Cleveland Clinic, but it's in Las Vegas. And, again, do an image search and see what the building looks like. But, for me, the interesting story was that Frank Gehry makes functional buildings, and people sometimes think it's pure fantasy what he's doing but, no, this is actually a functional building, but it looks like you have people with offices looking up and out and all sorts of different angles.
So that's what it really was about, creating that surreal look of something that is fantasy in perception but also is very functional, and that's one of the things that makes Gehry special. So, again, this is my interpretation of that building, and, for me, it feels original and unique and, again, using a telephoto lens. Let's look at one more example. This was taken at the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and what I wanted to do was photograph this building at sunset.
And when you're using this stainless steel that Frank Gehry loves to use, you get a very silvery, reflective building. But if you go at the right time of day, it'll actually reflect different colors, and this is right at sunset, and I have some warmth of the sun in the upper left corner. I've got some pink from kind of the pink reflecting back. There's kind of pink on the horizon there, and then I've got the blue from the shadows. Just all these colors coming out of one basically silver surface, and if you were to photograph this an hour previous, you wouldn't have that.
So, again, you notice I'm very tight, telephoto lens, working on angles and kind of the sharp elements of the building but having some color variation, so using the time of day and really isolating some key elements and was able to focus on color for separation. Again, do an image search for Disney Concert Hall. It's one of the most photographed buildings. You'll see tons of images, but I do challenge you to find something that looks anything quite like this. So get out that telephoto lens, especially in an iconic location, and try and create something that you've never seen before.