The wide view using my favorite lens my photos, my words

A question I often get, usually from people just starting out in photography, is “what’s your favorite lens?”

The majority of my photos are of wildlife captured using my very large, very heavy and very expensive Canon EF 600mm f/4L, so most will assume that’s my favorite lens.

They’d be wrong.

My favorite is the least expensive and lightest lens I own: the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, an ultra-wide angle zoom lens used to capture all the photos in my featured gallery for May.

I know that seems odd, citing as my favorite a lens that cost a fraction of what I’ve spent on any of the other lenses I own. But the reason is simple: The 10-22 allows me to capture scenes that no other lens I own can do.

A number of my lenses, like the 600mm I use for wildlife, are designed to bring distance objects up close. I can use it to bring a distant bird close enough to see feather detail. The 10-22 does just the opposite: It makes close objects appear more distant. The extra-wide view makes it perfect for capturing city scenes or landscapes in areas where the surroundings make it necessary to stand close to the subject (for instance, in areas where backing up a few steps would put me in the middle of traffic or off the edge of a cliff). I can shoot the inside of a large room, floor to ceiling, wall to wall. That makes it great for capturing the inside of a church (like the photo of Trinity Church in New York, below) or the main concourse of a train station.

The interior of Trinity Church, located on Broadway at Wall Street in New York City. The church building, completed in 1846, is the third on this site. The first, completed in 1698, was destroyed in a fire in 1776, The second, completed in 1790, was weakened by heavy snows and torn down in 1839.

The diagonal angle of view at the 10mm (or widest) setting of the lens is more than 107 degrees. That’s just a little less than the field of view of human eyes. For instance, if you stand and look straight ahead at a scene, just about everything you see — from the edge of your peripheral vision all around — can be captured in one image by a camera using the 10-22 zoom at the 10mm setting.

Traffic waits on The Mall before passing through Admiralty Arch toward Trafalgar Square, London.

But there are other capabilities of an ultra-wide angle zoom that make it fun to use.

First, the depth of field (or depth of focus) of an ultra-wide angle lens is greater than that of other, longer lenses. Translated from photo language to normal language, that means a much deeper area of the photo will be in focus. In landscape photos and interior architecture photos, this can mean that just about everything in the scene, from foreground to background, will be in focus. That can make for a nice photo.

An ultra-wide lens also tends to magnify the distance between objects. That makes it easy to use an object in the foreground as the focal point of a photo while still capturing the surrounding “atmosphere” — for instance, my photo of the rose placed in an engraved name on the World Trade Center memorial.

A rose honors the memory of a victim of the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. The rose was inserted in a letter of a victim's name engraved in the bronze panels surrounding two reflecting ponds at the memorial site.

A downside, though, is that a small tilt of the camera creates significant perspective distortion. Parallel lines will appear to converge and objects will look like the are falling backgrounds. That’s not a good thing if the goal is an accurate, realistic photograph of a scene. But that same perspective can be used artistically, to provide a sense of height or scale.

I have a broad collection of Canon L series lenses, including the 600mm I use for wildlife photography. The L series lenses are Canon’s top-of-the-line, expensive professional lenses that use the highest quality glass and robust design to produce superior image quality. And I use these lenses whenever I can.

The Canon EF-S lenses like the 10-22 are much lighter, less expensive, less durable. The lenses are designed to work only on Canon digital SLRs with a “cropped sensor” (APS-C sensors, which are a bit smaller than the full 35mm-size sensor). My cameras all have APS-C sensors, which allows me the flexibility to use either the L series or S series lenses.

But as I’ve explained, it isn’t the price, weight or quality (or lack thereof) that makes the 10-22 my favorite to use. Instead, it’s the type of scenes I can capture with the lens.

Although I do admit that the light weight is appreciated during long hikes through the woods or walks in a city.

I add a new featured gallery the first of each month. The numbers in the gallery title represent the month and year it was featured. Last month’s featured gallery, with photos of wrens, has been moved to my featured gallery archives.

Night traffic moving in Times Square, New York City.
Sun beams around a cliff on the Old Man's Cave Trail, Hocking Hills State Park, Logan, Ohio.
Spiral walkway leading to skylight, Guggenheim Museum, New York City.
Cubed Curve sculpture and buildings, Sixth Avenue and W 50th St., New York City.
Reading room in the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Traffic waits on The Mall before passing through Admiralty Arch toward Trafalgar Square, London.
The interior of Trinity Church, located on Broadway at Wall Street in New York City. The church building, completed in 1846, is the third on this site. The first, completed in 1698, was destroyed in a fire in 1776, The second, completed in 1790, was weakened by heavy snows and torn down in 1839.
A quiet moment at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.
The trail to the Slate Run Living Historical Farm goes from shade to sun, Slate Run Metro Park, Canal Winchester, Ohio.
A rose honors the memory of a victim of the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. The rose was inserted in a letter of a victim's name engraved in the bronze panels surrounding two reflecting ponds at the memorial site.
The Marblehead Lighthouse stands outside the keeper's house in Marblehead, Ohio. The lighthouse was completed in 1822 and is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the United States side of the Great Lakes. It is now part of Marblehead Lighthouse State Park.
Toronto's CN Tower and Rogers Centre loom behind yellow umbrellas in the beach area of HTO Park along Toronto Inner Harbor. The CN Tower is the world's tallest building at 1,815 feet, 5 inches (553.33 meters). A revolving restaurant is at 1,150 feet (351 meters).
Looking up at the Texas Capitol dome from rotunda floor, Austin, Texas.
Doorways lead from the main hall of Union Station to the trains, Washington, D.C.
The fountains at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nev.
Water flows over Hayden Falls, Hilliard, Ohio.
The view of the towering arches of the main hall of Union Station, the historic train station in Washington, D.C.
The Smithsonian Institution Building, commonly known as the castle, stands on the south side of the National Mall in Washington, DC. The statue in front of the building honors Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian (1846-1878).
Steps exit a tunnel carved through rock, Hocking Hills State Park, Logan, Ohio.
The morning sun shines through trees above a trail in Slate Run Metro Park, Canal Winchester, Ohio.
Visitors walk inside the atrium of the Oculus. The Oculus, a futuristic structure designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava to look like a dove in flight, is the centerpiece of the World Trade Center transportation hub in Lower Manhattan in New York City adjacent to the 1 World Trade Center building. The massive Oculus includes train and subway connections, retail space and restaurants.
Looking up at the dome above the statue of Thomas Jefferson in the Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C.
The setting sun silhouettes sailboats moored in the Hudson River between 27th and 28th streets in New York City.
The Marblehead Lighthouse stands on the edjge of Lake Erie in Marblehead, Ohio. The lighthouse was completed in 1822 and is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the United States side of the Great Lakes. It is now part of Marblehead Lighthouse State Park.
Looking up at the marble columns and ceiling at the entrance to the Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C.
Visitors walk inside the giant atrium of the Oculus. The Oculus, a futuristic structure designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava to look like a dove in flight, is the centerpiece of the World Trade Center transportation hub in Lower Manhattan in New York City adjacent to the 1 World Trade Center building. The massive Oculus includes train and subway connections, retail space and restaurants.
Cubed Curve sculpture and buildings, Sixth Avenue and W 50th St., New York City.
Looking up toward skylight from under a spiral staircase, Hotel Monaco, Washington, D.C.
Grandfather’s clock between doors in the Centre Family Dwelling, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Ky.
Cubed Curve sculpture and buildings, Sixth Avenue and W 50th St., New York City.
A small plot of green space occupies the middle of a courtyard between reflecting glass buildings at 400 and 444 N. Capitol St. NE in Washington, DC.
Looking down the spiral staircase in the Trustee House at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Ky.
Traffic flows from Regent Street onto Coventry Street around the north side of Piccadilly Circus in the City of Westminster in London's West End. The curved building to the left is part of the Quadrant at the bottom of Regent Street.
A statue, The Player, stands outside Coors Field in Denver, Colo., home of the Colorado Rockies baseball team. Engraved on the base of the statue is a quote from Branch Rickey: "It is not the honor that you take with you but the heritage you leave behind."
Double staircases, Centre Family Dwelling, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Ky.
Plants in the Enid A. Haupt Garden at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., brighten the walk to the Smithsonian castle housing the museum's information center.
Rush-hour traffic flows on the West Side Highway in New York City's Financial District just before 5:30 p.m. on a weeknight. On the left are the buildings of the World Financial Center. The streak in the sky is a plane that flew just north of the city during the exposure. This image was taken looking north through a window on the 35th floor of the Marriott Financial Center.
Water from a stream in Hocking Hills State Park flows into Devil's Bathtub, a small waterfall and swirling pool that feeds a second waterfall.
Overcast sky and buildings reflected by the reservoir in Central Park, New York City.
Hayden Falls after a rain, Columbus, Ohio.
The Washington Monument stands above two security poles on a sidewalk to the east of the monument on a bright November afternoon in Washington, D.C.
Moss-covered boulders line a creek bed in Hocking Hills State Park, Logan, Ohio.
Fall colors reflecting around Canada Geese in lake, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
Light filtering through the forest, Clear Creek Metro Park, Rockbridge, Ohio.
The Cloud Gate, on Chicago's AT&T Plaza in Millennium Park, is a 110-ton elliptical sculpture forged from a seamless series of highly polished stainless steel plates that reflect the city's skyline. The sculpture, often referred to as "The Bean" by many locals because of its bean-like shape, is by British artist Anish Kapoor.
Washington Monument surrounded by clouds, Washington, D.C.
Looking through Shangra La Arch, a natural bridge in Carter Caves State Park, Olive Hill, Ky.
Steps carved in rock on Old Mans Cave trail, Hocking Hills State Park, Logan, Ohio.
Sunset behind Empire State Building and skyline, New York City.
30 Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan, shown at dusk, towers over the flags that surround the ice skating rink in Rockefeller Center. The 70-story tower, built in 1933 and originally called the RCA Building and then the GE Building, is now the Comcast building and is home for NBC Television.
Walkers enjoy a late-afternoon stroll along the Embarcadero in front of the Ferry Building in San Francisco.
"Cupid's Span" sculpture on the Embarcadero in San Francisco, with city in background.
At the Korean War Memorial in Washington, DC, a stainless-steel statue of a soldier - windblown poncho protecting him from the weather while his eyes stay alert for danger - walks point as a squad of 19 leaves the cover of trees while on patrol. The 19 statues, created by Frank Gaylord, are a realistic part of a memorial that includes a polished black granite wall with faces etched into the granite, reflecting the statues; an adjacent Pool of Remembrance; and various other granite or stone structures containing etched information about the war, which lasted from 1950 to 1953. The Korean War Memorial was dedicated on July 27, 1995.
1 World Trade Center towers above the north reflecting pond, part of the 9/11 Memorial in New York City.
Pedestrians approach Columbus Circle and the Time Warner Center while crossing Eighth Avenue at W. 59th Street in New York City.
Promenade, a bronze sculpture by Ann Weber, stands in Skyline Park in downtown Denver. The artist intended the sculpture to represent two people on a walk.
Skylight in the roof of Guggenheim Museum is framed by the spiral walkway, New York City.
Boulders in the creek bed, Conkle's Hollow, Hocking Hills State Park, Logan, Ohio.
Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge on a November morning, New York City.
The sky, pennant sign and barriers display Chicago Cubs' blue around the bleacher entrance to Wrigley Field.
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Created By
Pat Hemlepp
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