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Travelling with a long lens

After 18 months of travelling with nothing longer than 50mm on a 35mm camera or 80mm on Medium Format – I have become surprisingly constrained into seeing the world as if I have a short prime lens in front of me.

I didn’t realise how much this had happened until I took a 135mm prime on my Nikon FE to Sri Lanka and limited myself to using this set up for the week I was there.

First I found myself using it to take pictures of people who were so far away that with a 50mm lens they would be insignificant  and ended up with some images that were really not very good and would have benefited greatly from me just walking 100 meters to be closer to them – and then I changed how I was using it.

For me a 50mm lens has always been about capturing the whole of something. The whole person, the whole of a building, the enough of the whole of something to remove ambiguity.

If you go shorter to 35mm or even 15mm – then the whole of something becomes more obvious as you capture more of everything into your image.

And then you just to a long prime and the whole becomes less important that the part of something – the feeling that something gives to you, enough of something to allow you to pass on an idea – and this is where I found myself going with the lens.

I don’t think I have arrived at the place where I want to be yet – not by a long way – but I have started on the journey and know where I want to end up.

All I have to do now is get there.

Posted by simon on November 17, 2011

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