My obsession began a number of years ago when I started offering outdoor and location portrait shoots using natural lighting. I spent months searching for the ‘perfect’ lens to achieve the desirable shallow depth of field and beautiful bokeh effect ideal for portraits. Since many of my former portrait sessions included running here and there after busy little bees (!) I also hoped to have all of the above but with a decent enough zoom so I could capture those moments from afar. I soon came to realize that my budget did not stretch far enough for The One! So I settled. At least this is what I thought.
If you have ever used a prime lens, it can take a bit of getting used to when we’ve been spoiled with zoom lenses for so long. Of course zoom lenses have their advantages in certain fields of photography – weddings and sports in particular. Many photographers who have a prime lens and have spent time using it will most likely tell you the same thing and I am no different. You are forced to use your feet and walk around your subject to find different angles and views before you press the shutter. Images are no longer haphazard but you can achieve a beautifully composed picture even before editing. That makes for a better photographer. I love my 50mm f/1.4, even to the point that when I change lens I feel like I am lens-cheating :-)
Considering this is one of the most basic prime lens models offered from Canon, it has proved over and over for some great images. Of course, I do not doubt that a more professional body and lens would achieve even greater results, but as is the same with most equipment, (in any pursuit) I am a firm believer of getting to know the equipment you do have and using it to the max. As a runner, I have been known to be slightly frustrated (understatement of the year) with my basic GPS pace watch, always far off my fellow runner’s readings, wanting to trade it in for the best out there! I constantly blamed my watch for my erratic paces, until I realized, perhaps it’s not my watch’s fault and perhaps I should learn the art of running by feel and effort, using it only as a tool. (I should reiterate, learning still in progress!)
I’m currently enjoying creating abstract-esque photographs with my prime. The examples used above are concrete panels from the interior at The Lofts. How can concrete be interesting you may ask? (I actually also have a concrete obsession too, but this may be for another blog, it would be titled ‘My Epic House Improvement Failures!’) First of all, to get these angles, I was laid flat on my back with my head planted firmly against the wall pointing upwards! Despite the risk of looking slightly odd, it resulted in this beautiful contrast of a few crisp focal points mixed in amongst smooth, blurry areas. I really like the fact it is hard to tell what it is and that it could appear at first glance as a textured oil painting. This series has been printed on large smooth, aluminum panels that float away from the wall. I wanted to avoid the detail being lost by any additional texture that can sometimes occur when printing on canvas or brushed aluminum.
Borrow a prime and give it a go! ~Happy shooting!