I have a friend whom has been asking me about using ultra wide angle lenses. The urge to ‘get it all in’ is important for landscapes and architecture – the problem is we often get too much! For a 35mm equivalent, ultra wide is really anything under 24mm. You can find great rectilinear lenses to 12 or 14mm, and fisheyes and 180 degree lenses wider than that.
The artistic look that distortion gives you can be a great advantage for those ‘wow’ shots. Try not to overuse it though. What ultra wides are really good for is emphasizing texture and foreground – without something to bring the viewer you stand to have them squinting at the far, far, far away mountains wondering what to look for. This shot is taken at 16mm on a full frame – you can see the emphasis on texture of the foreground and the incredible distance it brings to the rest of the image.