Only One Lens

After reading this article on Mastin Labs about reducing the gear to a minimum of one lens, specifically the so much loved 50 mm, I have to admit I reacted very unconvinced: I like to feel ‘covered’ for any photographic opportunity that might arise on my trips, and that is why I carry as much gear as my back can handle.

Just wanted to ‘breathe in’ the surroundings. I think that the lack of focus on the technical aspects of the photographic process (‘Oh, what lens should I use now? Wouldn’t it be better to change to wider one?” etc.) allowed me to resonate with the autumn landscape more, and to ‘play’ with the frames, almost childishly, rather than seriously and technically construct them. 

Just wanted to ‘breathe in’ the surroundings. I think that the lack of focus on the technical aspects of the photographic process (‘Oh, what lens should I use now? Wouldn’t it be better to change to wider one?” etc.) allowed me to resonate with the autumn landscape more, and to ‘play’ with the frames, almost childishly, rather than seriously and technically construct them. 

The author of the article praised the fact that the limitation to one lens is, after all, an invitation to creativity - and this is one idea that I had to agree with. As a result, I decided to put it to test on a very dull day in which I felt not very inspired and not very well physically but, somehow, I believed it all worked just fine.

I had a walk around the Wayoh Reservoir near Bolton. There is a good footpath around the water which makes use of the Witton Weavers Way on the eastern side. It was a lovely path with waterside and woodland sections to enjoy. There are also great views of the surrounding countryside and the impressive Entwistle viaduct.

Without any ‘obvious’ attractions and with many people around enjoying the beautiful day, the whole place had a different dynamics. On the quieter paths, it seemed to be different; I walked there engulfed in stillness and beauty.

A very short appearance of sun through the leaves and branches, projected on these lovely trees. I knew I had to frame vertically to emphasise the geometry of the path. The fact that it happened to have a human in the landscape never bothers me, on the contrary.

A very short appearance of sun through the leaves and branches, projected on these lovely trees. I knew I had to frame vertically to emphasise the geometry of the path. The fact that it happened to have a human in the landscape never bothers me, on the contrary.

The viaduct was waiting but I knew the image will not be very impressive without a bit of sun illuminating it. So I didn’t hurry, as it was a bit of a walk to reach it from the other side to take a frontal shot.

I wouldn’t normally take a picture with so many distracting elements in the foreground. But this is autumn, the branches are empty now, and it seemed natural to try this frame for the sake of the record. Or was it perhaps the magic 50mm inviting me to ‘risk it’? :) 

I wouldn’t normally take a picture with so many distracting elements in the foreground. But this is autumn, the branches are empty now, and it seemed natural to try this frame for the sake of the record. Or was it perhaps the magic 50mm inviting me to ‘risk it’? :) 

I think the 50mm somehow helps when the light is very dull because it inspires a particular ‘feel’ and adds interestingness.

I think the 50mm somehow helps when the light is very dull because it inspires a particular ‘feel’ and adds interestingness.

Would I give up all my other lenses and use only 50mm? No. Never.

I sometimes might find myself in a place where I have the intention to photograph the landscape (so I need a wider lens) but I also discover on the spot that I want to photograph a bird there. That is why I need a bit more coverage. 

I will continue to train in the gym to be able to carry heavy equipment on my back. As for missing moments, well, probably that’s valid for weddings and certain events: nature works with different rules, and invites to be discovered, researched, and befriended. No need to be quick or extremely efficient. Unless, of course, you’re climbing a mountain by rope or photographing birds in flight. 

Here are a few more pics from the day taken with 50mm: 

 

Entwistle viaduct, embraced by autumn colours. 

Entwistle viaduct, embraced by autumn colours.