Monday, 10 May 2010



I decided to do another practical photo experiment related to Antonio Espejo’s picture and Joan Miró’s statue Dona I Ocell (Woman and Bird). It is an exercise sometimes my pupils do to understand what happens working with different lenses with different focal length. Focal length is the distance between the optical center, inside the lens, and the plane where the image appears, focal plane (where is the film or the sensor in digital cameras). The focal length and angle covered are in an inverse relationship: the longest the focal length the lesser the cover angle and vice versa.

I have photographed the Miró’s statue in several occasions, of course. The best known this 1991 image of two different captures in the same shot (There wasn’t Photoshop yet), the sculpture and the full moon. This photo ran full page in a Paris Match about Barcelona and the 1992 Olympic Games. I’ll explain better this technique in a coming post.

The practical exercise consists in taking a particular object as a reference, in this case la Dona i Ocell (Woman and Bird), and while changing the lenses focal length keeping it always in the same size. The difference with the first exercise with Espejo’s picture that consisted also in using different lenses but always from THE SAME PLACE, in this case you HAVE TO MOVE.

NIKKOR 300 mm
NIKKOR 180 mm
NIKKOR 70 mm
NIKKOR 50 mm
NIKKOR 18 mm

It is very convenient start with the longest focal length and continue forward. If we do it the opposite way we ran the risk to find and obstacle to our back and to have the experiment stopped there.
In my classes we chose simpler exercises: a reference object not too big on a clear environment. In this case the statue is 22 meters high, there were obstacles all around and the point of depart was half a kilometre away. But all this made the experiment far more interesting. The lenses I used were a 300, 180, 70, 50 and 27 mm on a digital Nikon factor 1,5 , so the real focal lengths were 450, 270, 105, 75 and 27 mm. In the second photo the sculpture is nearly hidden by the white offices of the Bullfight Arena works, very close to Joan Miró’s park. The interesting part of the exercise is to observe how the planes in front and behind the statue change with the different lenses used.

Map showing where the photos were taken.

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