How To Get The Most Out Of A Wide Angle Lens

As a an experienced user of wide angle lenses I decided that I would produce a guide to using lenses wider than 21mm. Now that Lomography has come out with two new wide angle cameras I will expect to see a lot more angle lenses in the hands of consumers. All of the images on this page were made with a Voigtlander Heliar 15f4.5 which is similar in focal length to the Lomo LC-Wide and La Sardina sardine camera.

So you just bought a wide angle camera and now what to do with it?

Follow Ken Rockwell’s advice and get close. With a very wide angle lens, a few feet is like a few miles.

Omg, the ocean is like 50 miles away.

You won’t believe how close I am to this really awful smelling pool of water seen below. Too close. But due to the nature of the 15mm lens, it almost looks like I’m not close enough.


And get down. The image below is not an epic cave or other gigantic form but rather two rocks about 24 inches tall. I had to lay down on a bunch of rocks to get this shot. It was fun but I found the barnacles a little too exfoliating.


Watch out for your knee, fingers, etc. Part of the joy of going wide is that it is very easy to put yourself in the photo even if you don’t want to be in it.

However, on the other hand this pretty awesome.

feet super wide heliar

People are interesting in wide angle. You have to be careful where a person is within the frame or their body will distorted and grotesque.
My sister says she looks like an alien in this picture.

However, as seen bellow, you can very easily use a person to show scale.


Width a very wide angle lens you can also use a much slower shutter speed without having to worry about camera shake. You can usually go to 1/(focal length) so with my Heliar 15mm I’m safe to shoot at 1/15. This is pretty awesome because it allows you to blur water without using a tripod.

surfcoaster usa

Making My Own Special Effects Film


I tried my darndest to make my own super hip special effects film. I took a roll of Fuji Superia into my basement and briefly shined a cool multi colored light onto it. Then I exposed it. In the end, the results were not very hot, but I think I did a good job.