Professional photographer Andy Mumford has released a great video on reasons why you should haul that telephoto lens around with you when taking pictures of landscapes.  Using his own amazing photos, Andy breaks down how a telephoto lens can enhance your landscape photography. 

Throughout the video, Andy uses a wide-angle lens for comparison (the other popular lens for landscape), stating that wide angle lenses push everything away while giving the foreground a dominant aspect in the image.  A telephoto lens, on the other hand, brings the scene closer rather than pushing it away.  It creates a narrower field of view, resulting in a compressed perspective, causing the distance between subjects to become less distinguishable.  

“Particularly in an elevated location, somewhere with a lot of hills or mountains, telephoto lens will just give you a whole new perspective it opens a whole new ways of shooting and that’s why for me a telephoto lens is an absolutely essential piece of kit for landscape photography.”

If you don’t have time for the twenty minutes video, then here is a recap of the six reasons you should have a telephoto lens:

1. It Compresses The Perspective

The telephoto lens brings background and foreground together and emphasizes certain elements. You can fit much more in the frame, which will work better for particular scenes.

2. In Case of Backlit Mist

A telephoto lens works better when atmospheric conditions like mist or fog or haze separates the different parts of the scene (for example, mist on the valley floor between mountains).  It reenforces the perception of layers in the landscape.

3. For Minimal and Abstract Compositions

Less is more.  Create “minimal, abstract, simple compositions.”  The telephoto lens forces you to focus on the most important element in the shot instead of trying to get everything into the frame.  You are able to compose a scene with simplicity in mind, reducing the scene to its most basic form, and creating the cleanest landscapes. 

4. It Has a Single Point of interest

A telephoto lens allows you to find a single point of interest in the photo.  Something for the eye to focus on that interrupts the pattern in the landscape. (His example included a caravan of camel’s in the far distance in a vast desert landscape.)

5. It Can Exclude The Foreground

At times, the foreground may be unappealing, an element that may not add anything to the photo (and might even take away from it).  A telephoto lens can look past the uninteresting foreground and focus on the interesting parts in the distance.

6. It Can Exclude The sky

Sometimes the sky in your shot will be uninteresting, providing nothing but empty space, or perhaps it may even be too bright, reducing the impact of the image.  The telephoto lens allows you to cut out the sky when it is unneeded.

If you liked the video, you should go to Andy Mumford’s youtube channel here.  He has a ton of awesome videos.

Cover Photo by Redd Angelo

Landscape Photo 1 by Jakub Kriz

Landscape Photo 2 by Daniel Frank