Photographing the Toronto Skyline With a Nikon 300mm 2.8

Written by Robert Lowdon

Robert Lowdon is an internationally published commercial photographer based out of Toronto, Canada. He spends his time photographing architecture and industrial projects for the most part.

Published May 23, 2019

Using a telephoto lens we can isolate specific areas of the sky. © Robert Lowdon

I want to start off by saying the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II is a heck of lens. It’s sharp as a tack, looks fantastic and weigh, well a whole bunch.

Now shooting Ontario landscape photos or Toronto skylines with this perfect giant lens might seem a little bit ridiculous. Unless you are after two things: 1) Compression and 2) Isolation. I’ll explain further below.

The density of toronto’s skyline. © robert lowdon

The density of the toronto skyline. © robert lowdon

1) Compression. Sometimes we want to compress the subject of the image. I, the photographer, want to make the image look busier more dense think congestion. We use this technique in Architectural Photography all the time.

Have you ever been to concert that seems like no one is there, then you see a crowd photo of it and it looks packed. Often it is because the photographer is using compression from a longer lens.

Compression makes buildings look huge. When we shoot buildings with a wide angle or ultra wide angle lens, the effect all too often makes the buildings look a lot smaller then they are in real life.

We loose a little bit of the awe factor in the image. There are ways to counter-act this, but that sounds like another topic for another day.

Condo buildings in downtown toronto. © robert lowdon

Condo buildings in the Downtown Toronto skyline. © Robert Lowdon

Twilight reaches the buildings of toronto. © robert lowdon

Twilight reaches the buildings of the Toronto Canada skyline. © Robert Lowdon

2) Isolation. We use isolation to simply cut out all the stuff we don’t want to see and bring focus to the subject of our image. If I was to shoot these buildings with a wide angle from this distance they would look like sticks.

Going further into isolation by using specific parts of the sky we want to focus on in our images. For instance, consider the image with the pink sky above. The entire sky was not that color, it does happen from time to time, but it was that color right within the frame of the image. I would have lost a lot of that effect with a wide angle. (Here is an example of an image where the whole sky turned red)

Nice straight buildings with no distortion. © robert lowdon

Nice straight buildings with no distortion. © Robert Lowdon

The main buildings of the toronto financial district. © robert lowdon

The Main Buildings of the Toronto Financial District. © Robert Lowdon

Is It Ridiculous To Shoot Toronto Skylines With a 300mm Lens?

Why yes it is. But, I am going to counter that photography is a ridiculous thing in general. Without ridiculousness there is only mediocrity, and that is only because I said so. So try using a longer lens and see how it works out for you. You can rent one of these giant nikon lenses here.

As a comparison between below is an example of a Toronto skyline image taken with a wide angle lens. The difference is quite substantial if you know what to look for.

First off their is a much wider field of view in the photo of Toronto.

Second you will notice that the buildings themselves look smaller.

Third is that the image just generally has a different look or vibe to it, the wide angle feels further away more removed. Comparatively the 300mm Nikon lens give an image that sort of puts you right in it.

Downtown toronto skyline with tall building at early dawn night

So if you like what you see or have a question please leave a comment below. If you are in need of a professional photographer to help with your next great project we would be happy to help you on your journey.

Feel free to contact us here and we will be sure to get right back to you. I think our response times are legendary, but admittedly I am a bit biased.

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