Toecabulary is the comprehensive glossary of photography terminology and techniques. Every week, you get to learn a new term defined and depicted in stunning photographs and videos. Click here if you wish to refer to this Dictionary of Photography in its entirety, or, click here to read all our weekly Toecabulary posts that discuss various concepts of photography in great detail.

If the subject you want to photograph gains full meaning and context only if its surrounding, its environment is also included in the frame, it only make sense to do so. This is why we have wide-angle lenses – to tell an all-inclusive story in pixels.

And the field of view and the focal length of the lens are inversely proportional to each other. In other words, the field of view is wider if the focal length of the lens you are using is shorter and vice versa. Today’s Toecabulary will bring you photos illustrating the use of wide-angle lenses. Watch out this space for more!

The rugged glory of the Lóndrangar, Iceland, is captured here with a 35mm wide-angle lens. This is a very versatile travel photography lens. It is used to shoot everything from such breathtaking landscapes to lovely portraits. The grace of the anguished waters crashing on these rocks is the story that the 35mm lens helps us narrate in its totality.

In this frame, a boy is jumping into the waters of Ganga, but the 24mm wide-angle lens has also captured a few children already playing in the river, along with a boat sailing and two boats moored, everything making the image as dramatic as it can be. With this lens, distances are captured without exaggeration even as the wide-angle perspective is preserved. And with little or no distortion, which is generally a trait of the ultra wide-angle lenses.

Here is a silhouetted image of camels made at the Pushkar Mela (Pushkar Fair). This is a very wide perspective captured with an 18mm lens. As discussed in today’s first post, the shorter the focal length of the lens, wider the perspective. This image thus includes a lot of the surrounding even as the photographer was very close to the subject, something that is achieved with ultra wide-angle lenses.

This poignant image of a polar bear in the scattered icescape of Svalbard in the Arctic is made with the 8-15mm fisheye lens, shooting precisely at 15mm. The power with which this lens renders the vastness of the polar bear’s habitat speaks for itself, in its 180 degree sweep of the place. Have fun with one the next time you are on a photography expedition!

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