Join Seán Duggan for an in-depth discussion in this video Using a fisheye lens for night photography, part of Landscape Photography: Night Landscape.
- Ever since I got to this location and been walking around and exploring, I've been really fascinated by the texture of the ridges in the sand caused by the wind. I wanted to see if I could make a picture at a low angle with those ridges in there cause I knew that when the moon is still fairly low on the horizon, as it still is, it's up a little bit now, but it's still kinda low, that it would create these really cool shadows and accentuate the patterns of the ridges in the dunes.
Did a little exploring, looking around, I finally found a great location with this bush and these bushes in the background and some ridges that were pretty untrammeled. There's a few bird tracks over there, which I kinda like. I've got the camera down low, obviously. I've got a fisheye lens on here, a 15 millimeter fisheye lens. The term fisheye sort of suggests that the lens creates a circular image and it totally looks like a sphere. That's not necessarily the case. When this lens is arranged sort of straight onto the horizon, it actually doesn't have any weird curvature or distortion.
It just looks ultra wide. There might be a little bit of distortion on the edges, but it looks just super wide. Whenever you start to tilt it upwards or downwards, that's where you get the curvature distortion. So if you tilt the lens upwards in relationship to the horizon, it's gonna kinda curve up and create a bowl-type effect. If you tilt it downward, it's gonna create a sphere or kind of an orb-type effect. What I'm gonna do here is I'm gonna shoot one kinda straight on where I'm trying to avoid that distortion, but I'm also gonna do one where I'm tilting down slightly cause I think it's gonna look pretty cool to see the almost sphere shape of the earth in the background with the moon rising above the clouds there.
In terms of my exposure on here, I'm set to ISO 200. I'm shooting wide open at F 2.8 mainly because with really wide angle lenses you can shoot wide open and still get pretty good depth of field. I've pre-focused on the bush here. I'm gonna do a couple of exposures, maybe one for the general foreground, maybe one for the sky. I'll try to get it all in one. My general exposure time's gonna be about 30 seconds on this here.
Let's just adjust that and see how it's gonna look. Initially, I'm just using this to check my composition. Obviously, the lights we're using for the video shoot here are spilling in. I think what we'll do now is I will turn those video lights off and I'll retake the shot just in total darkness and see what it looks like then. I think it's gonna look really nice. That looks pretty good.
I like the way that that's looking. I might give it a little bit more, but I think what I'm gonna do now is I wanna tilt the camera down so that I can get the fisheye lens accentuating the horizon line. I think that that'll look pretty cool. Alright, now I've got my composition set where I've tilted the camera down to get that spherical distortion on the horizon. We'll kill the lights and take another shot. So that one turned out really cool, even though there is that really obvious distortion. In this case I really like it.
I've got this great texture in the foreground here. I wasn't necessarily envisioning this type of shot at all, but once we got to this location that little idea light in my mind went off and went, oh, that would be perfect for fisheye. Really pleased with the way this is working out and I might play around with this a little bit more, but the night is young. There's still lots of photos to be made.
- Finding compositions
- Exposing and focusing at night
- Creating an image with reflections
- Using long exposures to blur motion
- Painting with light
- Shooting with a full moon