Shooting tips > Shoot Cityscapes While Traveling

    Level: Beginner

    LESSON 11Shoot Cityscapes While Traveling

    Focal length: 85 mm / F-number: 8.0 / Shutter speed: 1/800 sec

    Cityscapes at travel destinations that are not seen in your daily life are typical scenes to photograph. This chapter provides some techniques to capture the atmosphere of such cityscapes in photographs.
    First, set the camera to the A-mode so that you can adjust the aperture, and shoot with a smaller aperture (around F8 if you are shooting in the daytime).

    Considering the composition and how to crop

    To capture the atmosphere of the city, take the composition into account first. In casual shooting while traveling, we often shoot on the wide-angle side (with shorter focal lengths), trying to include as many objects as possible in the frame. However, depending on the scenes, shooting on the telephoto side (with longer focal lengths) can be better to convey the atmosphere. Here are examples to explain this effect.

    [1] Focal length: 16 mm / F-number: 10 / Shutter speed: 1/100 sec [2] Focal length: 16 mm / F-number: 5.6 / Shutter speed: 1/160 sec

    These photographs were shot at 16 mm, on the wide-angle side of a normal zoom lens.
    The building is emphasized in photograph [1]. However, since one building occupies the largest area of the frame, the photograph does not properly convey the atmosphere you actually felt at the site. As in this example, if you shoot on the wide-angle side, objects in the foreground appear large, while objects in the background appear smaller than you actually see. This composition is fine if you want to highlight one building and make it look powerful. However, if you want to capture the entire atmosphere of the city and streets, try another composition.

    In photograph [2], also shot on the wide-angle side, the largest area is occupied by the building and ground. However, thanks to the "radial composition," with the end of the street in the center of the frame, it has more depth compared with photograph [1]. If you would like such a dynamic wide-angle photograph, take the direction of the streets into account when shooting.
    Now, let's see how the impression changes if you shoot on the telephoto side.

    Focal length: 50 mm / F-number: 8.0 / Shutter speed: 1/80 sec

    This photograph is shot at 50 mm of a zoom lens. To bring both the foreground and the background in focus, the aperture value was set to F8. Also, to prevent the buildings from appearing tilted and giving an unstable impression in the photograph, the camera was securely held in the vertical position.
    Shot on the telephoto side, the photograph successfully captures the characteristics of the city. Unlike in the photograph shot on the wide-angle side, the building on the near side does not occupy a large area. Also, the street fits within 1/4 of the entire frame. Such a composition gives a natural perspective to the photograph.

    Focal length: 50 mm / F-number: 6.3 / Shutter speed: 1/80 sec

    This photograph was also shot at 50 mm. Even in such a scene, in which the cloudy sky could occupy the most area if shot on the wide-angle side, the cityscape is captured in an angle of view close to human eyes by shooting on the telephoto side.

    Focal length: 30 mm / F-number: 7.1 / Shutter speed: 1/60 sec / ISO: 160

    This technique of cropping the part of the scene using the telephoto side is also effective for shooting from vantage points, as well as shooting streets.

    [1] Focal length: 28 mm / F-number: 8.0 / Shutter speed: 1/160 sec / ISO: 200 [2] Focal length: 135 mm / F-number: 8.0 / Shutter speed: 2.5 sec

    When viewing a vista from a vantage point, we often try to shoot the entire landscape on the wide-angle side. However, if you crop part of the landscape into the frame, you can take a photograph that captures the unique atmosphere of the city more effectively.
    Photograph [1] was shot at 28 mm, with the zoom position slightly moved to the telephoto side with a normal zoom lens. From the entire city spreading out of the frame, only the most impressive part is captured in this frame. In photograph [2], shot boldly at 135 mm, the entire frame is filled with houses.
    With each house rendered in the proper size, this is also an interesting photograph that conveys the atmosphere.

    In this way, cropping the distinctive part into the frame using the telephoto side is effective for conveying the atmosphere of the cityscape. Make full use of the zoom lens by trying various focal lengths.

    Trying high magnification zoom lenses

    Lenses categorized as "high magnification zoom lenses" are convenient for travel. Because a high magnification zoom lens covers from wide angle to telephoto by itself, it can take impressive shots of travel scenes with various expressions. Also, because you don’t need to change the lens for each scene, you are less likely to miss shooting opportunities, and you can focus on enjoying your trip.

    Focal length: 250 mm / F-number: 7.1 / Shutter speed: 1/640 sec

    SAL18250

    This is one of the most useful and versatile lenses for APS-C format cameras and an extremely wide range of subjects. It offers an 18 mm wide end for scenic shots and a lot more reach at 250 mm for distant subjects. Two ED glass elements and two aspherical elements minimize flare and greatly reduce chromatic aberration, giving you sharp, clear shots even at full telephoto extension. Additionally, the internal focusing system allows the lens to focus more quickly and smoothly.

    Focal length: 28 mm / F-number: 10 / Shutter speed: 20 sec

    SEL18200LE

    Significantly smaller and lighter than comparable lenses, this lens is perfect for a wide range of shooting situations. The broad focal length coverage of the lens, from 18 mm to 200 mm (27 mm to 300 mm in 35 mm equivalent), makes it an ideal high magnification "travel" lens. Optical SteadyShot technology cuts down on blur caused by camera shake when shooting in dark environments or at longer focal lengths.