A Few Good Reasons to Never Leave Your Telephoto Behind

Apr 13, 2021

I know you've heard me say, "Spring takes its time to arrive in full splendour here in Alberta, Canada," and it's absolutely the truth! Snowstorms, mixed precipitation, frosty mornings and icy winds are the norms around these parts.

Now I might not make spring sound very attractive, especially for those of you who are already enjoying blossoms, but I assure you it is! Hence, I took the time to venture out into the mountains, over the weekend, in the hope of finding some pretty landscape scenes. In some locations, the ice has begun to thaw, leaving behind patches of open water. Large slabs of blue ice are beginning to heave out from within a few frozen lakes spilling up onto the shorelines. It's a beautiful time for landscape photography filled with unique icy features.  

In hopes of capturing a few of these spring-like features, I hurried myself out to Banff with plans of grandeur in my thoughts.

 

However, as soon as I made it to Banff, a white storm wall of snow welcomed me. I was able to capture a few images before I became engulfed in a mountain snow globe. 

 

Refusing to give up, I ventured into the forest for some snowy self-portraiture hoping the snow would let up for sunset. It didn't.

So what's a photographer to do when the weather doesn't cooperate with your plans for the grandeur, wide-sweeping views that many of us landscape photographers love?

Allow yourself the opportunity to move outside of your comfort zone and see a landscape scene differently. You'll undoubtedly find something beautiful.

There are many different ways to see a landscape scene from a different viewpoint. One way is through the use of a telephoto.

Capturing a landscape scene with a telephoto offers the opportunity to fill a frame with intimacy and details that are often otherwise quieted within the wider shot frame. Stormy telephoto scenes are often full of mood and drama during poor weather situations, making the use of a telephoto ideal. 

When using a telephoto, look for layers in a scene. Layers help infuse depth and a true-to-life touchable feeling. In the image below, I saw the perfect opportunity to capture a layer-filled telephoto image. The cloud wrapped around the mountain so beautifully, not only creating drama but also infusing depth and texture. The telephoto range highlights the many layers within the mountain peak as it fades off into the thick storm clouds.

ISO 1250, 70,, f5, 1/250 SS

Telephoto lenses are heavy and don't always make the best companions but offer the landscape photographer the opportunity to capture a landscape with intimacy. These lenses also highlight details that can sometimes become lost within a wider frame perspective. A telephoto perspective can also enhance emotion and mood in a photograph. 

Next time you are faced with uncooperative weather, consider pulling out that telephoto lens, especially if it typically stays nested inside your backpack, like mine. Step out of your comfort zone and try landscape photography from a different perspective.