An oak tree - as a fish sees it?

The return of the fisheye

Bending reality

It’s become a bit of a favourite lens just recently. There’s not a shoot I go out on that I don’t just pop the lens in my pocket – just in case. I’m always looking for different applications of it. Shots which you just couldn’t have got any other way, and ones that in some way could be described as artistic as well. In other words I want to get away from just the novelty effect to one where you can look at the processed image and say … well, that’s an interesting picture.

This pair, taken of the same tree but from different positions and viewpoints beside the lake, illustrate the point I’m making. The distortion in both images not only allows you to capture the whole tree, but also create a different kind of image which together tells a bit of a story. At least I hope it does!

An oak tree - as a fish sees it?

On the technical side, I’ve now found it best to shoot in Manual mode and Manual Exposure mode when using the Meike lens with the Sony A7r III. It’s also possible to choose to shoot in APS-C format on the Sony A7r which will maximise the use of the sensor as the lens is built for this format rather than Full Frame. I took quite a few shots of these trees, experimenting with different settings (which are not in any case recorded meaningfully in the EXIF data) and this was the conclusion I came to. The first was taken at ISO 1600, the second at ISO 400. Shutter speeds 1/60sec and 1/80sec respectively at f/8.0. I suggest using either Auto ISO, or select an appropriate ISO for the shot; select a medium f/stop, for instance f/8; setting the focus ring to 3 feet – the depth of field will then encompass all subjects from (about) two feet away to infinity. You can then change the shutter speed whilst watching the presentation of the image in the EVF (or LCD monitor) until it satisfies you. 

Here’s an article from Shutterbug that gives you some tips on how to shoot with a Fisheye Lens (this one in fact).


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