Landscape photography is perhaps the easiest style of photography to get into. All you need is a camera body and a wide-angle lens. That's it. With those two pieces of gear you can start photographing urban, rural and wilderness landscapes. When I was twelve years old, that's what I started with. Of course, you will eventually want to build up your list of equipment to include a tripod, filters, a telephoto lens and a few other items. The one thing that you might overlook however, is the fisheye lens. And that would be a mistake.
Fisheye lenses get a bad rap. "They are a specialty lens." "They distort everything." "They're not a serious landscape lens". Well, let's get the elephant out of the room. I don't really disagree with any of those criticisms. Fisheye lenses can certainly be considered a specialty lens, they can create very dramatic distortions and they are not my primary landscape lens. All that said, they can be the perfect option for some situations. With a 180º field of view, those situations are likely only to occur when a regular wide-angle lens just doesn't cut it. Let's look at some situations where it's been my lens of choice.
The cold Canadian winter is filled with many outdoor pursuits beyond shovelling snow. There is ice hockey, skiing, snowshoeing, and of course, ice fishing. Drill a hole in the ice, drop your baited hook, and wait. Pull up a chair, a thermos of coffee (or perhaps something stronger) and it can be a very relaxing way to pass a winter's day on a frozen lake. Throw in some big prize money however, and you have the makings of a competitive fishing derby.
The Wikwemikong First Nation, located on Manitoulin Island hosts one of the largest fishing derbies in the region. Manitoulin is the largest fresh water island in the world and is located at the top of Lake Huron. This year, Wikwemikong hosted its ninth annual derby on January 11, 2017 and had 440 participants from all over the province of Ontario, and beyond, all vying for over $30 000 in cash and prizes.
Instead of a fishing rod, I grabbed my camera gear and photographed the event.
Peter Baumgarten is a professional photographer and educator. He is also an Olympus Visionary and NiSi Official Photographer.