Friday, November 26, 2010

Donington church

click photo to enlarge
With 22mm (35mm equivalent) I couldn't do it, but with 17mmm I can. What is it? The answer is fit this church into the frame in landscape format while showing the "semi-detached" nature of its tower.

The village of Donington - like many villages in the Lincolnshire area called Holland - has a big medieval church, a reflection of the relative prosperity of this area in the middle ages when sheep roamed the flat landscape. However, like a lot of these big churches, St Mary and the Holy Rood is fairly near to the road, has houses in close proximity, and its churchyard has a retaining wall and very tall trees. Consequently, the number of positions for a photographer who wants to capture the whole of the building, are relatively few. My recent purchase of the 17-40mm zoom, a lens that covers the range from "ultra-wide" to "normal" has solved my problem at Donington. Over the next few months I'll try it out on other local churches where this is an issue.

When I first bought an SLR in the early 1970s 35mm was considered a wide angle lens. Gradually, over the years, this came to be seen as a relatively normal focal length, and 28mm became the widest that the average amateur photographer aspired to. Today 24mm is relatively common and the enthusiast can choose from a range of wide angle lenses that go down to around 10mm, at which point the "fish-eye" lens with a 180 degree field of view enters the equation. As a result of this widening of lenses and of choice, images with distortion are much more common than formerly, and viewers are much more accepting of it. But, I'm not. Perhaps it's the legacy of my days with longer focal lengths, or perhaps it's my interest in painting and architecture. Whatever the reason, with some images I just have to straighten the verticals. Any time you point the camera up or down, and straight lines feature in the subject, you get convergence. With a wide angle, however, they occur much more frequently and noticeably. Today's image had them, and they've been corrected, as has the building's relative height. But, what can't be corrected is the proper ratios within the building. Here the chancel looks bigger than it is in real life, and the balance of tower to spire isn't quite right. One day there will doubtless be software that can deal with these anomalies. Until then, this is the best I could do as the late November sun started to disappear behind the nearby houses and trees.

For more of my images of the exterior of this church see here, here and here.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 17mm
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/40
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation:N/A


digibirder said...

Interesting observations. I will follow your lens usage with interest, as I am slowly coming to the conclusion that I need to change from Sigma to Canon glass. I have recently rented a 24-70mm f/2.8 (fantastic) and will shortly be taking delivery of a (rented) 24-105mm f/4.

I do have the Canon 'nifty fifty' 50mm f/1.8 which is also a nice lens for the price, and my husband recently bought me the 70-200mm f/4 IS, which is brilliant. I had been having doubts about the quality of the images from my Sigma lenses, and the Canon lenses are definitely looking to be the winners so far.


Tony Boughen said...

Hi Diane,
So far I prefer the 24-105mm over the 17-40mm, not only for its handy range - it's a good single walk-about on the 5DMk2 - but also because it has good sharpness across the frame, whereas the corners of the 17-40mm (at the widest setting) soften up a bit. In fact, I'd say the 24-105mm is as good as the Olympus 11-22mm which I am very familiar with, and that's high praise from me.

I hear only good things about the Canon 70-200L IS, but I've initially gone for the new Tamron SP 70-300mm f4-5.6 Di VC USD for its smaller size and weight and the extra 100mm which I was used to with Olympus. A lot of my photography is done on walks, so weight is a factor I have to take into account.

I've never used a Sigma lens, even in the days of film, so can't speak with any authority, but from what I read some lenses are better than others, and variability within a line is an issue for some.


digibirder said...

I saw your post about the Tamron lens, too. I may have taken a closer look at that one if I hadn't already gone for the Canon.

Last year I bought a Sigma 18-200mm with OS as a walk-about lens, but I have to say I haven't been overly impressed with it. I was beginning to think it was me or my technique, but since I'm getting decent images from the few Canon lenses I've used I will make a guess that the Sigma lenses are not all they're cracked up to be. Maybe.