I’m in the midst of a series showing photographs from back in 2013. Today, we’re at Baker Beach, which is on the western edge of San Francisco. The world’s famous Golden Gate Bridge might have given it away.
I don’t often make landscapes, but since these images also feature a large manmade object, one can argue they are urban landscapes of sorts. I’ve photographed the bridge a number of times but wanted different angles and decided to visit Baker Beach. I managed to catch it during golden hour with the warm afternoon light.
What I think is most interesting, photographically, is how I used different focal lengths to play with the level of telephoto compression. In the first photograph, I shot at the equivalent of 112mm, which made the bridge loom larger compressing the space between the fence and bridge.
I shot these two photos, moments apart, at 50mm and 85mm equivalents.
Here, I’m back at 112mm again. Look at how much larger the people look, relative to the bridge.
I continued on the beach towards the bridge and finally made these two photos, eliminating most of the people in the frame. Look closely and you’ll notice people on the rock, however, on the right. Again, I made these pictures at 50mm and 85mm equivalents.
Beyond the pretty touristy photos, the main takeaway is that strategic use of focal length can be another compositional tool. Zooming with your feet (by physically moving closer or farther) and zooming with the lens makes different kinds of images. You don’t get telephoto compression when you zoom with your feet. Your foreground subject might get larger but the background stays pretty much the same.
I have a free monthly newsletter that’s perfect for busy people. Signup for the Newsletter to get the best of my posts, old and new, plus additional content not available anywhere else.