Ultra-Wide angle lens and the 120-foot Tree of Hope  

I recently wrote, “I have never been comfortable with wide-angle photography and I am not convinced as of yet. However, I have this big lens so for the time being I intend to put it in my bag every time I go out.”

I kept that promise and on an early Saturday morning this past weekend and I tried to be creative using that 14-24mm lens to photograph the 120 foot tree of Hope in Kelowna British Columbia.

“For 17 years the Tree of Hope at Landmark Centre has been a bright symbol of inspiration and hope to our community. The Tree of Hope is over 120′ tall and has approximately 25,000 energy-efficient bulbs. From late November until January, the Tree of Hope is a visible reminder to the citizens and visitors of Kelowna that the Christmas season is a time of generosity and compassion, bringing joy to friends and family.”

I remember the first time I saw that bright tree of lights.

My wife Linda and I had concluded our business late and were leaving Kelowna one snowy evening. All I was thinking at the time was how horrible our two-hour drive along the dark, winding snow-covered road would be.

When I saw the tree I made a sharp turn on a side street, stopped, got out and walked back along the road just to check it out. Returning back to the car I told my wife that next year I wanted to stay overnight so I could photograph that tree in the morning light.

Linda was always very patient when I got excited about doing a photograph and I am sure was thinking, “oh, great now I get to listen to John talking for the next two hours about how he will take a picture of that Xmas tree.”

I wrote. “Wide-angle lenses are interesting and I try to fit the subject into a wide-angle scene. Normally I would select a lens to match the subject, but with the 14-24mm lens I was always looking for a subject that would match the wide lens.”   That tree, the nearby buildings and the metal bridge that crosses the road were perfect.

I like how the blue early morning light separates building and adds background colour to lights, especially Christmas lights.

My best pal and photo partner Jo McAvany and I left our hotel about 6AM. It was still dark and we could have had breakfast first, but we were to excited. As it was we had plenty of time, the morning was very overcast and we waited over an hour for the sun to work it’s way through the clouds. However, that gave me plenty of time to play with the unique perspective that lens gave me.

I will report that I was more than happy with that lens. It was an ideal tool to photograph that tree and the architectural features around it.

I read that when using an ultra-wide lens one should choose and interesting foreground, shoot low, use distortion, frame the subject in an interesting way and take advantage of the sky. Good advice.

I think my ultra-wide lens comfort level is getting better. There are certainly subjects deserve the creative perspective that 14-24mm offers. Hmmm, I don’t know if “deserves” is the right word, but I did have fun.




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