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| p.1 #7 · Zion High Country - Red Rock and Trees |
The extreme wide approach has its value with certain subjects - we are all familiar with the venerable "near/far" compositions that became so iconic a few decades ago. These often featured a primary near subject (a plant, a rock, a pool of water, leaves, etc) that was set against a larger and more distant background subject (mountain, sky, forest, etc) that included a lot of area made smaller by the use of the wide angle lens. It is still a useful tool to keep in mind for certain types of subjects, and I certainly have a few of those in my catalog.
"Lupine, Upper Sabrina Basin"
While ultra-wide certainly can produce what you describe as "shock value" (that term makes sense) through rather extreme distortion of subject relationships, it can also be done in a way such that viewers may not even realize how it alters the world. (I'll be that most people who see my "lupine" photograph don't even particularly notice the literal impossibility of the scene since they aren't familiar with the actual location.)
On the other hand, I'm still mystified by the general acceptance of the idea that landscape photography means wide angle or ultra-wide angle focal lengths, often illustrated by recommendations that "landscape lenses are wide" and "you'll want wide for landscape." There is very little actual photography to support this odd notion, and there is a lot of photography supporting the idea that "landscape lenses" cover a wide focal length range. Even more so, if one talks to folks who do a lot of landscape work - and by "folks" I'm referring to those generally regarded as notable landscape photographers - it turns out that few rely primarily on wide to ultra wide lenses, quite a few rely a lot on telephoto lenses, the general tendency is to shoot in the more or less "normal to telephoto" range, and quite a few DSLR landscape photographers describe the 70-200mm zooms as their most favored lenses!
For my part, I often use even longer lenses for certain types of landscape photography, working at up to 400mm quite often - both for large landscapes and for "intimate landscape" work.
"Granite Creek Bridge, Morning Light and Mist"