Years ago I got something called a “fisheye converter” for one if my lenses. It fit right onto the end of my kit lens and I really enjoyed using it. I would shoot lots of architecture and landscapes with horizon lines. It was limited by the mediocre speed of my kit lens – and as I acquired faster lenses it fell out of the rotation for me. I was just a cool novelty. A couple of years ago I passed it on to someone starting out with the same system. I forgot all about that lens and moved on to primes and lenses that had a wider use.
I hadn’t even considered wanting a fisheye again until I saw that Olympus had a sale on their 8mm f1.8 Pro late last year. I have been experimenting with night sky photography and thought that a fisheye might be a good addition to my kit.
What I hadn’t counted on where the many interesting things I could do with this lens. It has become a regular part of my kit. I take it everywhere. I shoot all kinds of things with it. It lets me change the way I see things.
Kairn – notice how the horizon bends to my will
Doors – I like how the fisheye makes these car feel monumental
Hildy – The pugs oversized features become the focus as the rest of her body is minimized by the distortion
Big bend – Believe it or not, this low water bridge is a straight line.
Ant’s eye view. Shooting low brings the foreground close and pushes everything else back.
Slurpee – shooting just above this pup shows off his face but exaggerates his thin physique
Ram – shooting close to this hood ornament at the same level reduces distortion.
Pig – shooting downward at an angle magnifies the feature closest to the lens – note how the patio lines curve
Old Truck – shooting at eye level with a distant horizon makes the truck monumental in this vast landscape
Beaver Dam – Shooting slightly downward lets the dam seem fairly undistorted but gives the horizon the feel of the edge of the world.
Suzy – shooting very close to this three pound pup makes her look like the queen of all she surveys
Desert Car Lot – shooting further back lets the landscape curve slightly but magnifies the space.
Ruthy – shooting directly down at Ruthy makes her a recognizable caricature of herself.
Old Town – the fisheye makes the car in the foreground the star in a vast wilderness
Blinker – focusing close on this blinker lets the rest of the car curve away as an onlooker bends to match the horizon
Oscar – Shooting below eye level makes the cat huge in the space. Everything else is decoration
Haven Pup – Focusing down on this pups sweet face conveys how friendly and approachable she is.
Tail Lamp- focusing on this bright red lens almost level lets it be framed by the exaggerated curves of the fenders
Shutterbug Notes: You can control the amount of curve in your images by shooting close for more curve and further for less curve. You also can exaggerate the direction of a curve by shooting above or below it, to the left or the right if it. Using a fisheye lets you tell the viewer what you want them to see by curving around it or curving the subject itself – like shooting shallow DOF it lets you choose what stops the viewers’ eye.