Sunday, August 25, 2013

My 15mm fisheye in downtown Chicago

The train going to Chicago.
Since I got my Canon 15mm fisheye I've been wanting to try it out where I can use its full potential. When I first got it we basically just went around our favorite botanic gardens and I tried the lens in there. Nothing really special about using a fisheye in a garden. Most of the time I ended up using my macro lens when we were there and my photos with the fisheye never really wowed me while I was checking them out on my lcd screen.

Nice reflections on the buildings.
One of my friends showed me some photos he took while he was in Chicago with his fisheye lens. I was pretty impressed. I then had the urge to go there and see for myself how the fisheye works in a scenery like downtown Chicago.

The bean at Millennium Park.
We went out the train station and all I saw was this concrete jungle. Structure after structure, the buildings were over towering everything. I decided to mount my 15mm fisheye to my Canon 6D. I took a peek in the viewfinder and I was wowed with what I saw.

Taken on a bridge.
This is where the 15mm fisheye shines. Pretty much most of the shots taken with it in an ordinary place were kinda a place like downtown Chicago, the 15mm fisheye is like gods gift to photographers.

The 15mm gives you unbelievable point of views.
Fisheyes are excellent in places where everything is big and sitting close to each other. It gives you a point of view where everything is just overpowering everything. Since it gives you a view 180 degrees from side to side, sometimes less, the glass is formed with a rounded surface which gives it that distorted, ultra wide look. Hence, this lens is for specific use only. Although I see a lot of photographers use it all the time.

At Michigan avenue.
I set my camera to manual mode this time. Since a big area is covered by my frame using a fisheye lens I kinda wanted to figure out the exposure of the image by myself, especially when there are a lot of variances between light and shadow in the frame. Going through tall buildings in the afternoon when the sun is kinda high, the difference between sunlight and the shaded areas can be great.

The Chicago theater.
By going with a manual setting, I closed my lens a bit to get the maximum depth of field. This is important when using a fisheye or an ultra wide angle lens. Since everything is pretty much in focus with a lens like this, you have to make sure that the sides of your frame are sharp. Setting up a narrow aperture is the way to do it. I then adjusted my speed accordingly to the light meter in my camera. Since  it was a pretty sunny day, I was able to get speeds up to 100/sec with no problems.

Rental bikes.
By walking from the train station to the magnificent mile, I was able to get a lot of shots of the magnificent landmarks in Chicago. the Bean at Millennium park, the Art Institute, the Michigan avenue bridge, etc. On our way back we changed our path a little bit and we were able to see the Chicago Theater, and we were able to see ABC station while they were having a news broadcast. It was a pretty neat walk.

On our way back to the train station.
Downtown Chicago is one of the many neat places to go to shoot wide angle or fisheye. We will come back here during the winter and check the place out when there is snow on the ground.

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