Many folks think wide angle when asked about photographing landscapes. True, wide angle lenses can really capture a lot of layers, depth and dimension in a scene. On the other end of the landscape spectrum is using telephoto lenses to photograph landscapes. I was just in two areas which had amazing ‘compression landscapes’, Patagonia and the Smokies. In Patagonia is was a simple matter of aiming your long lens at the stunning red light bathing the peaks. I haven’t seen such spectacular light day after day in a long time. In the Smokies I wanted to capture the classic ‘smoky’ look of the mountains, which also required a long lens. Just remember this; it is very easy to go into a scene with a preconceived notion of what to photograph. Stay aware of the dynamic light and graphic elements that come together for striking images. Sometimes you have to put on your ‘wide angle goggles’, the other time you have to put on your ‘compression glasses’. Compression landscapes are one of my favorites, and allow the photographer to crop down to just the graphics elements in the shot.
Speaking of telephotos, I recently rented a Nikon 300mm F4 PF ED lens for Patagonia. I had seen this lens on some workshops, and was blown away at how small and sharp the lens was. This lens is about the same size as a 24-70mm F2.8; it is so compact it doesn’t even look like a telephoto, especially a 300mm. And this lens is super sharp, with snappy quick autofocus. I was so impressed I came home and immediately bought one. Combined with the D500 (1.5x sensor) using a smaller sensor, the equivalent angle of view is 450mm. This has to be about the most compact DSLR with this kind of reach out there. I’ll post more on this lens shortly.