The poor telephoto. So often the it gets relegated to shooting the tough subjects like sports and action, or the really far away stuff. Maybe the occasional portrait. When it comes to landscapes, though, the big glass often gets left behind in favor of those nice compact wide angles. Why? Because wide angle lenses portray the grand scene with such magnificence; such… “wideness.” And besides, everyone knows that wide angles are the best lenses for shooting landscapes.
Telephoto lenses rock for shooting landscapes. They let you get right in there and pin the details with tack sharp focus. They let you accentuate specific subject elements and suggest the grand scene, and as you know, anytime you engage the viewer’s imagination through the power of suggestion, you go a long way towards making a compelling image.
Long lenses bring distant subjects up close and they compress perspective in such a way that accentuates depth and juxtaposition within the image. They clearly communicate to your viewer what YOU liked about the scene and they tell the story of your own vision. Plus, with their limited depth of field, telephoto lenses let you isolate your subject against soft backgrounds and do that whole bokeh thing.
So, next time you find yourself heading outside to shoot landscapes, grab the long lens and get yourself into a different creative space. Oh, and don’t forget your tripod.