How To: Exaggerate Curves Using a Fisheye Lens

Fisheyes offer the perfect opportunity to get creative with your framing

Fish Tale
Fish Tale
In addition to a Sigma 15mm f/2.8 fisheye, Chin Boon used a Nikon D700 for this Singapore street scene, exposing for 1/200 sec at f/7.1, ISO 200.Chin Boon

The cityscapes in Chin Boon Leng's Flickr stream offer more than 100 colorful and evocative depictions of urban Southeast Asia. Among this Singapore native's most successful techniques: framing background subjects within the lines created by bridge trellises, columns, highway overpasses, and, as pictured here, monorail tracks.

His framing technique is made cool with lens selection—a Sigma 15mm f/2.8 fisheye. By placing slightly curved lines at the edges of his frames and then shooting with a fisheye, Chin emphatically bows out the lines, adding a dynamic energy and sweep. His framing elements do more than frame: They exaggerate linear movement, while embracing center-frame subjects in a visually dynamic bear-hug.

Moral? Add a fisheye lens to your optical arsenal. Sure, it can sometimes produce a corny, funhouse- mirror-like distortion. Used with sensitivity, though, the extra sweep that it brings to lines along an image’s edges can contribute more than distortion for distortion’s sake.

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We decided to spend a little more time with Canon's new zooming fisheye lens to show you how it fairs on both an APS-C camera and a full-framer. The first five images in the gallery were shot using a Canon 60D (the rest of the gallery was shot using a 5D Mark II). All of the photos were shot RAW, some slight exposure adjustments and white balance corrections were made in Adobe Lightroom 3, before the images were exported as full-res jpgs. No cropping has been done. Camera: Canon 60D
Focal Length: 9mm
Exposure Info: ISO 1000, f/4 at 1/25 sec (fired with two remote strobes, output not recorded)
Photo: Dan Bracaglia
Dan Bracaglia
b08.07canonfishb084.jpg
Camera: Canon 60D
Focal Length: 8mm
Exposure Info: ISO 2500, f/4 at 1/30 sec
Photo: Dan Bracaglia
Dan Bracaglia
b08.07canonfishb051.jpg
Camera: Canon 60D
Focal Length: 8mm
Exposure Info: ISO 1600, f/4 at 1/100 sec
Photo: Dan Bracaglia
Dan Bracaglia
b08.07canonfishb083.jpg
Camera: Canon 60D
Focal Length: 8mm
Exposure Info: ISO 2500, f/4 at 1/30 sec
Photo: Dan Bracaglia
Dan Bracaglia
b08.07canonfishb089.jpg
Camera: Canon 60D
Focal Length: 8mm
Exposure Info: ISO 2500, f/4 at 1/13 sec
Photo: Dan Bracaglia
Dan Bracaglia
_mg_7331.jpg
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Focal Length: 13mm
Exposure Info: ISO 2500, f/4 at 1/80 sec
Photo: Dan Bracaglia
Dan Bracaglia
_mg_7217.jpg
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Focal Length: 12mm
Exposure Info: ISO 2500, f/4 at 1/320 sec
Photo: Dan Bracaglia
Dan Bracaglia
_mg_7389.jpg
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Focal Length: 13mm
Exposure Info: ISO 2000, f/4 at 1/400 sec
Photo: Dan Bracaglia
Dan Bracaglia
img_7385.jpg
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Focal Length: 15mm
Exposure Info: ISO 1000, f/4 at 1/13 sec
Photo: Dan Bracaglia
Dan Bracaglia
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It's impressive to see just how close you can get to the front element while still being able to focus.
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Focal Length: 8mm
Exposure Info: ISO 2000, f/4 at 1/160 sec
Photo: John Mahoney
John Mahoney
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The Boss Man
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Focal Length: 8mm
Exposure Info: ISO 2000, f/4 at 1/100 sec, exposure compensation of
Photo: Dan Bracaglia
Dan Bracaglia
_mg_7139.jpg
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Focal Length: 14mm
Exposure Info: ISO 2000, f/4 at 1/125 sec
Photo: Dan Bracaglia
Dan Bracaglia
_mg_7190.jpg
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Focal Length: 8mm
Exposure Info: ISO 800, f/4 at 1/8 sec
Photo: Philp Ryan
Philip Ryan
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Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Focal Length: 14mm
Exposure Info: ISO 2000, f/4 at 1/1250 sec
Photo: Dan Bracaglia
Dan Bracaglia
_mg_7284.jpg
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Focal Length: 15mm
Exposure Info: ISO 2500, f/4 at 1/400 sec
Photo: Dan Bracaglia
Dan Bracaglia
_mg_7206.jpg
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Focal Length: 8mm
Exposure Info: ISO 2500, f/4 at 1/200 sec
Photo: Dan Bracaglia
Dan Bracaglia
_mg_7232.jpg
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Focal Length: 8mm
Exposure Info: ISO 2500, f/4 at 1/800 sec
Photo: Dan Bracaglia
Dan Bracaglia
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Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Focal Length: 13mm
Exposure Info: ISO 640, f/4 at 1/1600 sec
Photo: Dan Bracaglia
Dan Bracaglia
_mg_7420.jpg
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Focal Length: 13mm
Exposure Info: ISO 640, f/4 at 1/1250 sec
Photo: Dan Bracaglia
Dan Bracaglia
_mg_7154.jpg
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Focal Length: 15mm
Exposure Info: ISO 2000, f/4 at 1/250 sec
Photo: Dan Bracaglia
Dan Bracaglia
_mg_7155.jpg
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Focal Length: 14mm
Exposure Info: ISO 2000, f/4 at 1/250 sec
Photo: Dan Bracaglia
Dan Bracaglia
_mg_7156.jpg
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Focal Length: 12mm
Exposure Info: ISO 2000, f/4 at 1/320 sec
Photo: Dan Bracaglia
Dan Bracaglia
_mg_7157.jpg
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Focal Length: 10mm
Exposure Info: ISO 2000, f/4 at 1/400 sec
Photo: Dan Bracaglia
Dan Bracaglia
_mg_7158.jpg
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Focal Length: 8mm
Exposure Info: ISO 2000, f/4 at 1/640 sec
Photo: Dan Bracaglia
Dan Bracaglia
_mg_7427.jpg
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Focal Length: 13mm
Exposure Info: ISO 640, f/4 at 1/2000 sec
Photo: Dan Bracaglia
Dan Bracaglia
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