When you have mounted a lens like the Nikkor 14-24 f/2.8 on your camera, it’s inevitable that you will try some architecture shots. When walking in a small city, the wide angle will allow you to capture buildings easier than normal focal lengths, since usually there is not much space to take a few steps back.
Of course, the closer you are, the worse is the distortion. Using a wide angle requires much better technique than other lenses, since even a slight rotation horizontally or vertically will show up in the photo.
The Nikon D800E with the 14-24 lens, is a truly great setup for architecture shots. In addition to a Virtual Horizon tool in Live View mode, there is also a horizon feature inside the viewfinder. By just pressing the Fn button the virtual horizon is activated and it’s a wonderful tool when trying to balance the image both horizontally and vertically. Also the 36 megapixels really come in handy. In order to avoid distortion I shot the above image with plenty of foreground included in the frame. My shadow was also visible on the ground and the building looked distant. I cropped the foreground and the building immediately filled the whole image (also my shadow was disappeared). Despite the heavy crop, I was left with over 20 megapixels, which of course is more than enough for a large print.
Unfortunatelly, I didn’t have the time to setup my 6×17 panoramic camera on the scene. The wide building would make a prefect candidate for panoramic film photo, and the 90mm lens would sure capture even better the scene, with no distortion at all. It would also be a good comparison between the two systems, maybe next time I visit the specific location.
Shooting old buildings is also a way to make a snapshot of how a town looked like at a specific moment time. Unfortunately, I have seen many of them been demolished, so taking images of them is a great way to remember how a location was a few years ago. It’s both travel and documentary photography.
In many cases, in order to capture a less distorted image, a bench or a rail was very helpful in rising my position from the ground. It really make a great difference on the final image and that’s of course why there are shift lenses in the market.
I have used the shift function on my Gaoersi 617 panoramic camera, and it really amazes me a few mm of shift can make such a difference when shooting architecture. I am very tempted by a tilt/shift lens, but since I only occasionally shoot architecture, it’s a very expensive investment. Of course, there are more uses to a lens like this, for landscapes, panoramic stitching and control of depth of field in specific shots, but still, they are highly specialized lenses.
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