Exposed! :: Photography Hell in Heaven ::
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Imagine visiting photography heaven on earth and only being allowed to shoot with a single focal-length lens! It was a potential photography hell in heaven. It became a brilliant exercise in creative power.
My wife and I were recently on vacation in Iceland (blog posts 104-110) and the trip was divided into two distinct portions. The holiday part of the trip was spent exploring the country. The work part of my trip started after my wife returned to Canada. To ensure it was a holiday for me, I limited myself to a single camera and lens. The result opened a whole new creative world.
For work I brought three camera bodies, five lenses, a laptop and accessories that would primarily shoot stock for my agencies.
I prefer to shoot with prime lenses - lenses with a single focal length - because they are small, inexpensive, and have greater creative control due to the much larger apertures available.
My lenses for the trip included:
My wife and I were in Iceland together for 10 days. The camera equipment for the work portion of the trip weighed as much as my wifeís entire luggage! For the vacation I wanted to be mobile, lightweight and on vacation. That meant choosing one compact body and one small lens that could be put in a small day pack, handle bumps and weather, need no power, while giving me some fun shots from the trip.
I brought my fully mechanical film camera (see box below right) powered by two watch batteries. Itís tough, small, rugged and takes a licking. It needs no battery recharging -- perfect for an outdoors based vacation in Iceland!
The hard part was choosing the lens. The zoom was off the list - itís an enormous, large aperture lens. That left a range of 4 lenses from 14mm to 85mm. I chose one of my favourites - the 24mm. It has versatility, depth of field possibilities and huge options for photography.
Using only one lens on my vacation limited possibilities but opened doors to discovery! By having only one focal length to work with I was forced to squeeze more creativity through the lens. ďYou canít shoot that with a 24!Ē I had to find a way!
I often work long hours. My mind is always working - if itís not thinking about photos itís thinking about running the business. I can get drained. A vacation is a good thing for me. It took three days for my brain to let go of work in Canada... I could feel my batteries recharge.
Taking on this photo challenge (shooting only with a 24mm) was good:
Allowing mistakes to happen and eliminating the demands of performance is healthy and important to creativity.
Guess what?! Of course!
Your homework is to spend a whole day (or holiday) shooting with one camera body and one focal length lens - if you have a zoom you must limit it to a single focal length - a piece of tape on the zoom barrel will help you stay honest!
For advanced photographers you must choose the focal length you use the least. Many people use a powerful zoom as their principle lens - ie 100-200mm. If this is you, you MUST use your widest lens.
ďThatís preposterous!Ē you say.
How are you going to make the shot work?
Iceland was terrific.
Check our Icelandic photo adventures in blog posts 104-110.