Telephoto Lenses to Compress a Scene

It had been a longtime goal to shoot the fields of sunflowers in Tuscany. But trips there in June were too early, and trips in August were too late. Then, one summer, on a drive to Cortona a field of perfect sunflowers appeared, at a time when all the others were far past prime. Apparently the farmer had been late sowing that plot. The field was in a flat area, efficient for farming, but without the hilly beauty typical of Tuscany. So: how to take advantage of this opportunity, when the “hillside of flowers” archetype was not possible?

The first images shot were with a standard length lens, and results, as shown at the bottom below, were unimpressive. However, switching to a long telephoto lens, and using the car as a shooting platform for height, produced the top image below, a simple field image, with no sky, no horizon, no foreground, or any of the other typical landscape elements. And yet this image is one that is so evocative for people that it remains in the portfolio year after year.


200mm lens shot of the sunflower field, compressing the scene from above.Sunflowers40mm-1

40mm lens shot, up close, producing much more emphasis on the flowers in the foreground.

C. David Tobie

4 responses to “Telephoto Lenses to Compress a Scene

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