A few months ago I had to return my friends wide angle lens, which broke my heart (16-35) and started using my 24-105 because that is the widest lens I had .  I like my 24-105  but it just wasn’t cutting it in the comps I wanted to get.  I had a 15mm Fisheye lens that I used in landscape photography but the distortion in architectural photography was to much to deal with for me.  I shoot with a full frame body (Canon 5d Mark ii) so I needed to get my own lens that would handle the wide angle duties but I needed one that fit into my budget.  I decided I would sell my Sigma 15mm fisheye to help with the purchase.  So to the internet I went to research prices within my price range.  On the selling of the 15mm I received $500 so the price range pretty much started there.   So to the wish list I go and see what is affordable.  We all have one…the “if I had the money I would get…?”  Always nice to go to the wish list but I often wonder how cool it would be with an unlimited budget.  But since that is not me I get a few minutes to dream and then eventually work my way to reality.
1st on the list-Canon 17mm T/S…over $2000…ahhhh…NO!
2nd Canon 16-35L Lens…$1300 to $2000….ahhhh…NO!
3rd Canon 24mm T/S…Closer in the range $900 and up but that is a luxury lens not a needed lens and still a little out of the price range, besides I wasn’t about to get another 24mm lens that really doesn’t fit the need of wide angle now does it?
4th Canon 17-40L Lens…$500 to $700 depending on the year made….definitely doable.  I felt I really had to pay attention to the year the lens was made considering this is an older model lens and that is why the price is so affordable.
The other thing to make note of is all of my filters are 77mm in size so I wanted to stay within that size as well.  Buying new filters is just not in the budget.
To make a long story short that is what I shopped for, I researched and bought on Ebay for $540.  I found one in great shape and made in 2007.  Sold by a reputable dealer.
I received it 2 weeks ago and just haven’t had the chance to go out and shoot with it.  Oh, you get it and shoot this or that (Practice Shots) just to make sure it works and has decent clarity but to actually get out and shoot on one of my treks around LA, well that took a few weeks because of other obligations.
Anyway, I got out and shot this weekend.  This particular comp is one I have shot many a time with the 24-105 but that just didn’t get me the width and fullness I wanted in the composition.  The structures looked stubby because of the 24mm wide angle.  The 17mm gave me the width I longed for and the amount of structure needed to give me a full and nice comp.
I have read many an article by other Fine Art Architecture photographers the need for a wide angle lens.  I really didn’t realize until I had to do without for a while. At the end of the day you have to make due with what you have.  We are photographers and dreamers, we are artists.  We will always have a wish list for equipment.  But there is what we want and then there is what we can afford.  At the end of the day, we make do!
This shot in-particular was shot in the financial district of LA. On a side note it was pointed out to me that if you have ever seen the movie “the dark night rises”  these buildings are where the truck goes over the rail and crashes at the end of the movie.  Anyway, these building come together and the distortion of the wide angle lens helps to exaggerate the tilt of all the buildings together.  This angle is a straight up angle in the middle of the street.  Thank God that the traffic at 6am is light.
The Shot:
F/16, ISO 200, 3o seconds, 17-40 MM @17mm, 10 Stop filter, Tripod and 2 second timer used on camera to remove shake from manual shutter button.
Side note:  Check battery in wireless remote shutter release before leaving the house
Post Processing:
>Adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw-Exposure/Black/Fill light/Chromatic Aberration removed
>Opened into CS-5
>Topaz Denoise-Noise removal in buildings glass for smoother look 
>Silver Efex Pro 2.0-Black and white conversion 
>Selections made and saved-Sky-Buildings-Each individual Building-Right side of each individual Building
>Adjustment layer curves-Gradient of sky from center to edges-mask used for sky selection only-gradient tool used to work sky gradient center to edge
>Individual building selection-building 1-Adjustment Layer curves-lights and shadows enhanced
>Repeat above step for each building 
>Adjustment Layer Curves-Darken edges of entire photo for vignette 
>Silver Efex Pro-Push Process Preset for enhancement on buildings only
>Silver Efex Pro-Check full range of zones 0-10
>Adjustment Layer Curves-enhance whites for zone 10 to be represented
>High pass sharpening-Buildings only
>Silver Efex Pro-Grain introduced into sky only to remove banding
Click to enlarge:  Original/During/Final Image below


Enter your email address to receive your 30% discount code

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This