I always say, follow your impulses. Today I had the impulse to make images from a very low perspective. You know the drill: do what you normally don’t do and see what happens. It’s one of those exercises that are often done to stimulate creativity, and it’s one of the things that are really fun to do. I should really show at least two more images, but it’s late and they definitely need processing. Maybe another day, maybe next Sunday 🙂
Talking about creativity, one of the most frequently given advices is to use one lens on one camera for an extended period of time. Mike Johnston most radically recommended it, Paul Lester does it, and now Ken Rockwell has written an article about mostly the same topic. There was quite a discussion about it on Paul Lester’s blog, and the general consensus of the comments is, that it is a good idea to just use one fast prime.
Funny, I recently went the other route.
You know me, I have used different primes, not religiously, though at times almost exclusively, but my most recent acquisition, the Tamron 17-50/2.8 VC, is one incredibly useful zoom. Again, it’s not religiously, but it has been on my camera almost exclusively since I bought it on November 6. And for me the argument is just the same: Simplicity.
This lens covers a big enough range to be very useful, it is fast, at least compared to other consumer zooms, it is sharp, its other quality characteristics are very well “good enough”, and finally the stabilization boosts its usefulness in low light tremendously.
Where is the simplicity, you ask? In not having to change lenses and still being able to hold images that I could hardly hold with the fastest prime.
This does not take away from the beneficial effect that primes have on one’s creativity, but shooting with primes is always kind of a challenge. There is some tension. It’s always the question if you can turn what you see, into the image that you want, given the lens that you have. This tension can force you into unexplored territory, thus sparking off creativity, but taking away that tension does not automatically turn you uncreative. Thankfully it works mostly one way.
The one camera / one lens routine teaches you to think about your photography. It raises the level by making photography that little bit harder, but really, what you learn that way, is not automatically unlearned when you change to a zoom. Once you’ve acquired it, you keep it, regardless of lenses. Just something to think about.
The Song of the Day is “Nobody Knows You (When You’re Down And Out)” in one of the best versions that I know: Nina Simone on her classic 1965 album “Pastel Blues”. I have it in the collection “Four Women: Nina Simone Philips Recordings”. Hear it on YouTube.