When you’re presented with an incredible landscape, as you are so often in the Nordic countries, which lens do you grab to best capture it? Should you really fork out on the cost of an extra wide angle lens for the sake of about 8mm?

Well, in the olden days of prime lenses the only way a person could “zoom” was with their legs, and in the immortal words of Ernst Haas – “Best wide-angle lens? Two steps backward. Look for the ‘ah-ha’.” So true in so many situations, but not great if you’re on the edge of a cliff, or balancing at the side of a waterfall (yes, we photographers do crazy things to get “that shot”!)

Take this waterfall for instance; a beautiful place, undiscovered by other tourists to Iceland – so much so that I had it entirely to myself – and so I wanted to immortalise it, to capture this memory, for only ten minutes before I took this photo, it was snowing a blizzard! Now, I’m standing on the bank of the waterfall, nothing is behind me but water, and the bank is a few feet steep. Do I want to get in? Not really! I stayed safe and as dry as possible after having just been covered in snow, and opted for my Nikon 10-20mm. Shooting nice and low it was possible to not only capture the waterfall itself, but the cliffs around it and the birds flying above that were all nesting in the cliff face (the noise was incredible!)

A direct comparison taken at Dyrhólaey shows the difference the extra mm make – 10mm on a wide angle lens, versus 18mm on a standard telephoto lens. More context is given to my landscape; you can see the uneven and craggy volcanic path I’m balancing my tripod on, as well as the incredible view in front of me and to my right. In my opinion, always break out the wide angle lens when your surroundings astound you so much that you intuitively go to shoot a seven shot panorama (I did this at Interlaken in Switzerland, and just wish I’d have had my 10-20mm lens then!)

ISO 125, f9, 1/250s at 10mm

ISO 125, f9, 1/320s at 18mm

I’m a Nikon girl so opted for a Nikon AF-P DX 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 G VR over other options available. It’s lightweight, fast, and you hardly notice it taking up any room in your kit bag. One of the more inexpensive lenses money can buy, if you’re serious about scenery, you need one of these in your life.