When I teach or lead workshops, I find that many photographers own a wide angle lens, but they don’t really know how to use it well. Many folks just think of wide angle lenses as a way to show more of a big landscape. That is true, but in my mind that is only half right. The real beauty of wide angle lenses is that they can show both the big landscape and a very close foreground subject!

This is often called an “environmental portrait” because it shows both the close subject and the environment which surrounds it, and thus is a portrait that tells a bigger story.  This works for almost any subject, including foreground flowers in a larger landscape. In this image from Vermejo Park Ranch in New Mexico, I was able to shoot at a  very wide 16mm, with the lens not more than a foot away from the closest flower. That keeps the flowers close, but still shows the big landscape.

Cowpen daisy (Verbesina encelioides) and prairie sage at sunset, Vermejo Park Ranch, New Mexico, USA.. HDR Image - 3 exposures combined.

Cowpen daisy (Verbesina encelioides) and prairie sage at sunset, Vermejo Park Ranch, New Mexico, USA.. HDR Image – 3 exposures combined. Canon 5D III. 16mm lens. ISO 800. f/8 @ 1/320 second.