The Big Picture, A Mediocre Bench Photo and Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Fun City small

The above picture was taken with my 35mm lens – it’s a panorama of about 3 or 4 separate shots stitched together in Photoshop.  It is how I saw the scene.  I was just unable to capture and present what I wanted to show with just one picture.

Not with that lens, anyway.

I’ve been using the 35mm for only a month or so, but already I’m just about at my wits end with it.

It’s plenty sharp, but as I’ve said before – I like a wide field of view.

I like to take pictures of buildings, and urban landscape shots.  Big spaces.  You could say that’s my style.  I prefer to think that that’s how I see the world.  I’ve lived my life with a 360 degree view, I want to encompass as much of that into my photography.  The Big Picture, if you will.

The reality is that lenses are just tools.  Tools to help the photographer create.  Some might argue that the lens is, in fact, the most important tool.  I’ve heard that saying, “It’s all about the glass” quite often.  But, what people don’t realize is that, if you are going to take on any project, you will need a lot of tools.  You can’t build a house with just a hammer.  you can’t change the water pump in a car with just one 9/16 socket wrench.  And you’ll never get the Big Picture with just one 35mm lens.

A 35mm isn’t a great Big Picture lens.  However, it is a great “Let’s See The Details Other People Miss” lens.

Bench blog

Example.  I would have never taken that picture if I had one of my wider angle lenses.  Never.  But, because I didn’t have that option, I was forced into trying to see what I would normally ignore.

Now, obviously, this isn’t the greatest picture.  But, for me, it’s interesting.  Mostly because it doesn’t have straight horizontal lines.  I’ve been noticing a lot of straight horizontal lines in my work lately.  A lot.  I’m thinking I want to break myself before I get too deep into that rut. So, I forced myself to take that picture.  Of diagonal lines. On review, I could have framed it better, or cropped it better, but it became what it is.  And I like it for what it is.

We are all faced with this question: Do you stay with what you know, and what you are comfortable with in order to keep going, confident that you will make something good?  Or do you keep forcing yourself out of your comfort zone, pretty sure that you won’t make anything that good for now, but also knowing that you will be venturing into uncharted waters, untraveled paths, and possibly going to places more wonderful that anywhere you know you have previously been?  Even though it’s going to be a long journey?

The other thing about capturing The Big Picture is that, most of the time, you can click the shutter from a safe distance.  The thing about capturing the details, is that you are forced to get in there, to place yourself into the fray, close to the subject, to get the shot.  The potential is there to go from casual bystander to part of the action.  That, too, is exciting.

So, I guess I talked myself into keeping this lens on the camera.  At least, for a while longer.  Let’s see where it takes me.  Let’s see if I can start seeing the details.

That is, until I can afford to get myself that Samyang 14mm Ultra Wide-Angle f/2.8 lens.


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