Recently, I have had a few people ask me about lens selection in regard to fishing photography. More precisely, "What is the best lens I can get for the majority of my fishing situations?" While I wish it were a simpler question to answer, the fact is, each lens type has its own pros and cons. Every individual lens captures emotions differently, almost as if they have their own unique "personality." Here's my rundown:
Wide-Angle - The Hank Patterson of Lenses
I think we all have that fishing buddy who always brings the party. They always bring the beer, and are fun as hell regardless of the fishing conditions. They often get worked up over every fish, and are relentless in hassling you after you farm a monster. Simply put, a wide-angle lens is more or less the "Hank Patterson" of camera gear.
I find that images taken with a wide-angle lens have their own special kind of excitement to them. This lens style has a tendency to separate a subject from its background by maximizing the foreground and minimizing the size of the background. This will in turn add a lot of depth to your imagery. I find I most commonly use my wide-angle lens for grip and grin, close up action, and just all around energetic fishing situations.
While this style lens has provided me with a lot of great images, it also comes with it's own set of disadvantages. Unless you are shooting landscape images, where you are trying to shoot an entire scene, capturing your subject full frame requires the camera to be tight to the subject. Mountain ranges, trees, and other parts of your background tend to shrink in comparison to your subject. So if you are looking at capturing the details of the background, you may need to go with a longer style lens. When used properly though, a wide-angle lens can be one of your favorites, and is a must have in any photographers arsenal.
My personal favorite is the Cannon 20mm F/2.8 Ultrawide. It provides crisp, energetic images with minimal distortion, and won't completely break your bank at about $539.