Although wide angle lenses are often touted as being the ideal choice for shooting landscapes, don’t discount your long glass for this purpose. You can achieve stunning results by using telephoto lenses for your nature scenes.
Long lenses let you isolate specific portions of your subject matter and focus on one particular aspect, shape, pattern or color scheme. This narrowed-down view can help you clean up your image and achieve much more simplicity in your compositions.
In addition, long lenses give you increased relative size of the subject in your frame and greatly compressed perspective. You can apply these characteristics with great creative advantage by portraying prominent, striking subjects against bold backdrops. You can also use the extremely shallow depth of field inherent in telephoto lenses to throw your background elements way out of focus.
I find that using lone lenses really accentuates the concept of abbreviation in your photography. By only giving your viewer bits and pieces, you force them to think about the rest of the scene and imagine what’s outside the borders of the frame. You can also highlight specific details in your scene that might otherwise go unnoticed by most viewers who pass by the scene.
I love shooting with long lenses, and in fact, one of my favorite tools for landscape photography is my 100-400mm lens. I use it to capture both close and distant scenes, isolate intriguing elements and create powerful, distraction-free composition.
Here’s a selection of images made with my 100-400. Of course, you can use these techniques with any kind of long lens, whether it’s a fixed short telephoto or a workhorse zoom like the 70-200.
I hope some of theses photos inspire you to try shooting your own extreme telephoto landscapes.
If you’d like more lens tips, download my free mini-guide, USING LENSES- a Guide for Getting the Most From Your Glass.