Thursday, March 24, 2011

At the Anvil


PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: (On Lens Choice, part 2) The size of ones toolkit is directly related to ones need for mobility. Consistent with my need to trek backcountry, I question every addition to my pack.

I bought my first 18-200mm zoom as a street lens, not my usual beat, but it's terrific having that much range and vibration reduction (VR) instantly available when shooting in a crowd of people or at an event. Shooting landscape one has more time for lens changes, and I had the 18-200mm range covered by an excellent 18-70mm VR zoom, and an 80-400mm VR zoom. However, it didn't take long before I was leaving the 18-70mm at home and carrying the 18-200mm over the hillsides. I no longer skipped shots that I deemed not worth a lens change.

I don't do a lot of selective focus photography; usually I want as much depth of field as I can get. One lens covering everything from mild wide angle to deep telephoto is almost an all-purpose lens. Almost! I've now owned three different 18-200mm zooms and each one has been a love-hate relationship. The three previous images were taken with my latest 18-200mm lens.

A super-wide 10-20mm zoom is my newest lens. Even when I shot film I never had a lens so wide. It's not a fish-eye but it has lots of tricks, pushes the walls away, bends the horizon, and sees around corners. However, when all you want is a bigger bite, that dizzying magic has to be tamed. I used the superwide zoom here only because I wanted the shop, floor to ceiling. Once I had it, however, I cropped it a bit. Wide angle lenses don't simply capture more, they see differently.

I still carry the big, heavy 80-400mm, and enjoy using it. I love standing back and zooming for compositions in the tangled planes of a cluster of buildings or the patterns on a hillside, or among blossoms rising from the mud of a pond bottom. The lens has withstood abuse and is clear and sharp, and I see nothing affordable to persuade me to switch.

I carry a 105mm macro lens for when I really want to get close or create a smooth bokeh. Having a good macro was essential for me. Many needs all pointed to 105mm rather than 85mm or 200mm. Cost was a big factor, but I also knew that a bit of telephoto would let me keep my distance when stalking insects and similar wildlife. As a lens for wildlife it complements the 80-400mm zoom.


to be continued...

5 comments:

Trotter said...

The guy is working hard...

Tim said...

Beautiful photo! And thanks for your commentary on lenses. Some day I want to get a macro lens. More modern zoom lenses are a long term goal, too. But time and budget will tell.

Ted Roth said...

Trotter - Yes, and making beautiful things.

Tim - I've seen your pictures and you do just fine with whatever you're using. New lenses are fun and increase the options, but it's the person behind the lens that makes the picture.

Dick said...

Beautiful picture, I think the same about the previous and the next one.

Ted Roth said...

Your visits are always welcome and your encouraging comments.