Exercise 2.1: Zoom

‘…there is no approach, approach suggests moving nearer, getting closer, suggests that we are not already near or close enough’ – Stanley Cavell

For this exercise the objective is to explore the changes made to a scene by shooting multiple images from the same viewpoint but with different focal lengths. I shot this exercise with my 28-70mm 3.5-5.6 zoom lens. I took 4 images at the distances marked on the barrel of the lens, these being; 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 70mm.

Finally, the exercise calls for the creation of one image to represent the sequence reflecting the research that has been completed


I like the look of 35mm for this type of shot, mainly because of the nostalgic feeling it creates from decades of being a standard focal length for point and shoots and disposable cameras. I do use this focal length quite often, mainly when I want to shoot more of a landscape shot as I find the angle of view is much more suited to how I see the subject I want to capture.


This is my go to focal length for street photography. I find it the closest length to the image I have in my mind when deciding on a shot. Also I find it causes the image to direct the observer to the subject much cleaner than when using a much wider focal length. I also find that the lens seems to perform well at this length technically, for example when managing fringe, distortion and aberration.


I was actually surprised by how much I liked to 70mm capture in this series. As discovered in the series shooting with Jasmine my dog. Whilst I prefer the depth given by a shorter focal length, as the 70mm does ‘compress’ the distance between the trees which flattens the image, I do really like how the distractions to the edge of the image are completely missed out and the observer is more part of the whole. I think I will continue to use this focal length when shooting portraits with depth but fall back to to 50mm or 35mm when shooting just the environment.


At this focal length barrel distortion starts creeping into the image, this is easily remedied with post processing so doesn’t concern me when using this focal length o this particular lens. Personally I don’t find 28mm a very useful focal length as I don’t tend to desire so much of the world I frame. I prefer focal lengths which are closer to the in focus field of view of the eye. I do however find it useful when trying to capture something on the fly as it does offer much more room of error.

Cropped low quality

For this final image I choose the inspiration of the reference to Blade Runner, this is one of my all time favourite films and to reference that film would be too good an opportunity to miss. The reference to the zoom and enhance section of the film drew me to compare the results offered in the film to what we see in today’s world of digital image capture. In the film the zoom and enhance is used to identify a suspect, even going to the extent of using the mirror in the scene to project what is hidden around a corner. Extracted information that doesn’t even appear to be in the image. This is a future for us with the potential implementation of light field photography which captures all availed light including bounces and rays. Realistically the majority of images we see in general use are from mobile phones which use aggressive compression algorithms to maximise storage space and ensure efficient transfer speeds. Also, even with the advent of zoom lenses on phones there is a mix of foal zoom and ‘digital zoom’ which in effect is the act of cropping the image down to replicate the effect of zooming.

Using this idea I chose to use one of my images in the way used in Blade Runner but with the limitations on the mobile era. I chose to use the people in the image and crop extremely tightly to discover how much could be identified. Also I exported the image at the lowest quality settings available to replicate the pixelation present in digital zoom.

3 views0 comments

Harley Bainbridge Photography

Event and Portrait Photographer Manchester 



  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Podcast

10% of all sales and booking go to

Coffee4Craig a Manchester based homeless charity