An instantly recognizable scene for anyone that happens to have driven this road south of Queenstown in New Zealand. As landscape photography locations go, it’s an easy one to get to since it’s right on the side of the highway.
The main reason I wanted to include this photo is to share a side-by-side comparison with this main photo, and another that was taken in the exact same location using a wide angle lens. I find that a lot of people tend to gravitate towards wide angle shots for landscape images, and whilst it’s true that they work best for the majority of situations, there’s often reason to reach for the long lens as well. I’m actually a huge fan of long lens landscapes and you’ll see them a lot of you follow me on Instagram.
A longer focal length is a great tool when you have layers in your image, and this Lake Wakatipu shot is a perfect example. The long focal length compresses all of these layers and makes them appear closer together than they really are, then it draws in far away background elements and makes them a much larger part of the composition. In this location, a long lens shot probably wouldn’t have worked well if that spit of land hadn’t been on the right-hand side, but this is what gives us our first layer so for me, it works.
If you have a long lens with you, and you see the opportunity to depict the layers in a landscape, or enhance the importance of a far away background element, give your long zoom lens a try next time you’re out.