It’s a Matter of Inches
When you think about the story you want to tell with your photograph, how much weight do you give the background? It is actually something I think about all the time when I stop and put the camera up to my eye. No matter the subject, no matter its size in the frame, that background is everything. So much so that it directly influences the lens I’m going to shoot with every time I shoot. The subject size is often controlled my zooming with my feet, the background is controlled by the angle of view of the lens. Case in point.
Here’s a Pine Siskin, a small bird a tad smaller than your thumb. They’re waiting in line for the water feature we’ve created at The Ranch. They are so friendly, seriously, they land on me and my iPhone while I’m cleaning the water feature! So a long lens is not needed for image size, but it sure it for controlling the background. That’s why I went with the D6 / 800f5.6 w/TC-12.5. The branch you see it perched on is really long and they scoot up it as they wait their turn to get their drink. By simply moving the whole tripod just three inches, I can go from the dark background to the light one. That minimal movement won’t scare the critter but will permit you to be a better storyteller. A better photograph could be just a matter of inches away.