Monday, August 6, 2012

50mm as a nature lens

The other weekend, I took part in a challenge for a photo group (with Black Hawk Church) to limit ourselves to a 50mm lens and work on foreground elements.  The 50mm lens (by tradition) is the most standard lens on film cameras.  On some digital cameras, it turns into something similar to a 75mm and is therefore a great portraits lens (look up crop frame sensors if you are unfamiliar) so you may need a 35mm for the same field of view as I am talking about.  This is the lens (either a 35mm or a 50mm) I think everyone should get if they are thinking of upgrading their kit lens (the one that came with the camera) and is a great lens to learn about composition and how to move as a photographer.  Oh, and it is cheep as far as lenses go: $100-$200!

So, the point of this exercise was to limit ourselves, try and work on a foreground element, and have an excuse to get out.  So we met at a great State Park.

By the half way point I was wondering if the 50mm lens was really a nature lens for my taste at all.  I was constantly wanting more compression (like what I would get with a telephoto lens) or more near/far exaggeration (like with a wider angle.)

But like any time I limit myself with only one lens, I have to find what that lens can do well and use it to its strength.  I soon was seeing what this focal length would see, and pushing myself to make photos, instead of finding them.

I am realizing that I am not a nature photographer.  Well, I like nature, but I like human elements in my nature photos.  Like the nature is the scene that this person is enjoying...or like the person is the subject of my sentence, and the nature element is the adjective.  (But that is another subject entirely.)  So, I feel like the 50mm was able to perform for me in this respect.

I am not sure if I will do this 50mm only exercise again (by myself that is) but I do like the exercise and I really do like carrying only a small camera setup.  I was never weighed down, and felt like I was free to hike, and enjoy nature more.  I will have to try other focal lengths sometime too.

Now, if we are talking portraits, this lens goes up a little in my book.  In fact, one weekend I shot an entire (almost) portrait session with just a 50mm.  See that here.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Once again, great stuff Matt. -craig.