I tend to shoot most things in a vertical format. Because most of this is 8x10 I mount on a 16x20 board as a vertical...the 16" side across and the 20" side vertical. As for lenses that I use, the Fujinon 150 probably gets more use than any of the other. It really depends on the perspective I want to achieve. If I have room, a nice composition with a 305 G-Claron on a 4x5 back is a nice effect. On 8x10, that same 305 is a long as I can go. So, I tend to be a little wider on 8x10. It is a problem that is solved by limitations. The late John Hartford once said that Art is based on limitations and Music is based on repetitions. In art, that statement is you can do what you do because that is what you can do. If I look back on my images from when I first was in Art School, I can see that I still see about the same now as then. I am just better at it. Maybe I have muddied the waters some trying to clear it up.
Something else occured to me since my initial post.
As I study photographs of others and also those that I have taken, the one thing that has become apparent to me is that with the slight telephoto view that I am isolating componants of a scene.
That in a wide angle view that I am photographing more on a basis of componants relating to each other. It seems almost as if the wide angle view in photography is more about relationships then the telephoto view is. Does anyone else have thoughts on this?
Yes, as mentioned in one of my previous posts, I like to use the slightly long lens to isolate something. And I agree about the wide angle relating things to one another.
Isolating something seems to be a little easier for me (I get more comments on good composition from these kinds of pics than in wide angle shots).
Perhaps I tend to prefer the longer shots (in 4x5, at least) as kind of a reaction to the average Joe's point and shoot, digital or whatever wide angle shots.... the kind you see all the time from family vacations, where they simply zoom out to as wide as possible, and take the picture without thinking about anything else. These kinds of shots (mostly panoramas) simply bore me to death, with few exceptions. These are usually so common, there has to be interesting light or weather in order to make it stand out from the others.
On the other hand, when I look at a book or something from some famous photog who uses wide angle lenses a lot, the composition and relationships in the scene make them much superior to the previously mentioned "average Joe" photos taken from the scenic turnoff on the highway or at the edge of a cliff or mountain or something. To go back to example of Muench, I love some of his photos of southern Utah with all those weird rock formations; they seem to draw me in, and the objects lead my eyes in a way most panorama shots don't. I really respect what he and other good photographers can do with a wide angle lens.
Also, another thing I thought of is that some scenes seem (to me, anyways) like they need to be compressed or expanded a little bit, by using a longer or wider lens (just like a someone making portraits will use something a little longer). It all depends on what I'm looking at, and how I want to express it as a print.
One challenge of photography is that we are limited by what is there when we take the picture. If we want to change the scene we either have to go to digital editing or traditional methods. Which consume a large amount of time and energy. And some things just can't be done easily.
I say this with other art forms in mind. My grandfather is a painter. Quite good if I do say so myself. He has much more freedom to change a scene. Often he takes a picture of a scene and then ammends it as needed to create the final piece. This can be quite drastic in some cases. As in removing whole buildings or changing the expression of someone.
Photography does not lend itself to readily to this kind of major overhaul of an image. The painter has much more freedom in that respect than the photographer.
So in the end we must do what we can with our tools. And as we do this, I think we all tend to favor a certain method and a certain vision. LFGuy has his preference. What works for him doesn't work the same for say Muench. Both can produce great pictures, but each image will reflect an individual vision which has been influenced by their own individual use of the tools they have at hand.
Which is just amazing when you think about it.
I'm not sure about the part of me being able to make great prints (I'm not quitting my job!), but I do agree that everyone has their own vision of how something should be.
Next trip, though, I'm going to force myself to bring only a wide angle lens in 4x5 and a long lens in 8x10, and see what happens..... force myself out of my comfort zone, so to speak.
The criteria for a "Normal" lens is an arbitray value (equal to the diagonal of the format) chosen for the lens designers more than to duplicate the perception of vision.
Somewhere, early in my photography, I read a comprehensive article about a study of human perception, and the conclusion was that human visual perception was equivalent to a 90mm - 100mm lens in 35mm format. The classical choice for that focal length in portraiture is easily understood. That would be equal to - what - something like 150mm in 6cm x 6 cm.