Tuesday, February 19, 2013

To see more . . .

by Kim



. . . we need to see less.

No, today is not opposite day, and yes that sounds a bit confusing, I admit. I mean, how is that possible to see more if we are seeing less?

A couple of posts ago I talked about perspective and how it has an effect on how I see things in my photography {and life} and that in both if I stand where I've always stood nothing will ever look different.

And, in my last post I talked about how expectations can cause me to lose my ability to be open to the moment at hand, and in my photography those expectations translate to pre-visualization. And that simply doesn't allow me to see things freshly unless I dismiss what I think I already know or expect.

So, in getting back to seeing more, I have a challenge  . . . let's change our lens. Now what does this have to do with seeing more you ask?

Well, sometimes we limit ourselves by the lenses we use, both on our cameras and in our minds and in the process we can limit our view {both on film and in life}. Now, I wonder if you have ever noticed as I have, that when using a lens that zooms, that because it zooms you may automatically expect to see more around you. It does make sense after all, right? But with a zoom lens we don't really have to move much, and just a flick of the wrist and we are instantly closer. But that can tend to make us a little lazy and I think we actually end up seeing less. The expectation that our lens will show us the way will often disappoint us in our final outcome because it tends to keep us from taking the opportunity to move around more and to find a different point of view.

I am in no way saying we should get rid of or not use our zoom lenses, no way, no how! After all with a zoom lens you can achieve more compositions (from one spot) relative to your subject. But what I am challenging you to is to change your lens before you go out one day to a fixed focal length lens, a "prime" lens, and let that be your only lens for the day (or week) and see what happens.

I find myself changing more and more to one of my three prime lenses ( 40mm macro, 50mm 1.8, and 85mm 1.8). Primes are better for shallow depth of field, they have better light gathering ability, they're faster, are lighter in weight, and a little easier on the pocketbook.

Using a fixed lens forces me to be more aware of my surroundings and less lazy as I have to think more about my composition and find different points of view. When I can't zoom it makes me stand where I might not have and not only do I see more because of it,  but the things I do see do look differently!

{You can see more in the little green tree frog series here, on my blog}

11 comments:

Carol said...

Oh wow - you can't possibly know how much I need this push! I bought my big girl camera just over a year ago now and I couldn't afford any lenses, so I bought a large zoom by a different manufacturer and a 50 mm 2.8 prime. I keep seeing you all using this lens and I NEVER do. I had a selection with my old camera and I used them all the time. This is a great challenge for me it's just the kick in the patootie I needed ! Ill take it!
And btw -the frog shot in just stunning and your writing is too. Thank you for giving me something to think about this week.

Jeanne said...

Great shot of this little tree frog. Definitely love how changing your lens gives you such and amazingly different perspective, and I am in on the challenge! Great post Kim!

AFishGirl said...

I love how the primes make one move the body. Not only is there the moving closer, backing up, really "seeing" the composition change, but I also find all the moving around encourages me to move up and down as well and try new angles that way. If I won the lottery, I'd have a big bag of just primes. Wait! If I kiss that little frog, do you think...

Kim Stevens said...

Hehe Pam, I have kissed this frog a few times myself, and wait....nope nothing happened! lol But it was fun trying!!

Sherri B. said...

The camera tech talk goes right over my head, but the way your words apply to real life resonates! I'm hoping that as I slowly learn how to use a manual camera, things like prime lenses and "mm" will make sense. I finally learned what "f stop" meant recently...baby steps! lol. :)

Your frog photo is fantastic!

Dotti said...

I have always loved your "critter" shots, Kim. All of your photography is great but there is something about your critters ... Yes, back to the subject ... You're right, if we're not careful we get into ruts be it in our lives or our photography/craft. Good push in the right direction ... thank you!

terriporter said...

Oh, my gosh, Kim! I need to come to the nursery with you! All I found at mine were flowers. Would love the chance to shoot a little tree frog! Years ago I used to shoot with nothing but zoom lenses. When I got my 50mm 1.4, I found it difficult to transition to having to walk to my subject rather than zooming, but it changed my photography for all the reasons you mentioned. I love the "up close and personal" look at things and rarely put a zoom on my camera these days. If your shot above doesn't get people wanting to try primes, nothing will!

Janet Bocciardi said...

You know I've learned more about photography from you than anyone else. It's interesting too how there's always a life lesson in there, too. : )

I'm headed over the hill tomorrow for a museum visit and hope to also buy my camera on the way home. Thank you

heyjudephotography said...

I agree Kim, it's good to change it up once in awhile. I wrote about this on my blog last year - I "forced" myself to use a wide angle lens for a month. I learned a lot from it - one thing being that I prefer to use my "other" lenses! HA, but I also got some great shots that I wouldn't have gotten with a different lens. I am up for your challenge Kim... now to figure out which lens to use..

stephmull said...

What a great post! I actually don't own any zooms. all my lenses are primes and love them! I just got a new one for my birthday....85mm 1.8. I'm excited to see what new perspective this one brings!!

CarolHart said...

This is a great post! Like Stephanie, all my lenses are prime. They are 35mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.4, a macro 105mm f/2.8, and of course my iPhone which is a 28mm f/2.4. Love your little tree frog!

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