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 Landscape photos or 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.
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.
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 colour, it does happen from time to time, but it was that colour 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)
Is It Ridiculous To Shoot 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.