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Fisheye Lens Photography

CC photo courtesy Pedro Moura Pinheiro

Fisheye lens photography is getting increasingly popular due to the accessibility and numerous discoveries that can be made with the lens. The fish eye lens holds promise for those with a creative mind, with its distorted lines and wide-angled lens. Pray why? Because it captures a hemispherical view of the world around us. No wonder it was called Whole-Sky lens, and used in meteorology to study the skies and cloud formations. Today, these are easily available for popular cameras like Canon and Nikon.

CC photo courtesy Shinez

This is how you can make the most of them:

1. You can capture ‘radial blur’ by slowing down the shutter speed to around 1/25th of a second and spinning the camera. This can be particularly shot at a wedding reception amongst a crowd. Remember, there are two kinds of fish eye lenses: Diagonal can be chosen for a 180-degree field of view, and Circular for a hemispherical field of view. Miniature fish eyes are also available for security cameras and the like. These lenses are commonly used in planetariums, flight simulators and action films.

2. The lens can be best put to use to exaggerate any semi-circular surface like that of the horizon by placing it at the edge of a frame.

CC photo courtesy Paul Burnett

3. Wide angle can prove to be useful when all elements in a scene need to be captured. However, focus on elements at the center of the frame, so it appears straight.

4. Choose a subject that is busy. You can use this lens to identify a person in a crowd. Lines need to be monitored, so they fit exactly in the middle. Circular images can be created when you zoom out to increase the level of distortion. Similarly, zoom in to decrease the level of distortion. Alter the focal length and choose a shorter focal length for lesser distortion.

5. The only disadvantage is that the fish eye is a prime lens, so zooming in and out is not an option here. However, you can move back and forth and act like the zoom lens. More legwork for sure, but then, there’s no gain if there’s no pain.

~Zahid H. Javali