So, my photography has nearly dried up completely. On the way to the airport, at the end of my vacation in Colorado last summer, my camera fell out of its bag, landed on its lens and took some damage. Whenever I felt the need to take a picture over the past few months, I have typically turned to my iPhone, which is a terribly addicting habit I plan to break.
I’ve gotten a new lens for my camera body, which survived the fall, and I hope to get back to taking pictures. Image making is such a stress relief for me. It doesn’t carry any of the burden or stresses of writing, and typically I feel much more satisfied with the results. Don’t take this to mean I think my photography is anything special. I just enjoy making it and looking back at it more than I do my writing.
My new lens is a Canon 50mm f/1.4 prime. It’s my only focusable lens, so it is the one I will be using for the foreseeable future. I haven’t used a camera without a zoom lens since I got my Polaroid Captiva for Christmas in fourth grade. I have heard photo-type people say over the years that using prime lenses is one way to become a better photographer, helping you focus more on the subject of the picture rather than worrying so much about the cropping. It also helps you appreciate a good point-of-view more, because you have to move your body to get it right. I don’t know if this will turn out to be helpful or not, but I do know that if you’re looking for high-quality optics, prime lenses are a heck of a lot cheaper than zooms. That was my primary motivation. I wanted to get a lens with crisp optics, a sharp focus and a wide aperture, and the only way I could afford one that fit the bill was to give up something — so no more zoom for me.
So far the lens has been great. It’s my first experience getting to use a very wide aperture, which opens up a whole knew world of possibilities for image making. Now I can take pictures in very low light, outdoors at night or inside with little artificial light, and avoid having to use the flash, preserving more of the natural colors of the image, not to mention the mood created by varied lighting.
One example of this is my night-time shots taken a few days ago in the snow. I got these pictures in my front yard, hours after sunset, using only my porch light for illumination. The pictures may not be spectacular, but doing shots like this without cranking out the ISO to an unnatural level would have been completely impossible with my old setup.
I hope to take some photo trips to downtown Raleigh, Durham or a nearby park soon, but I haven’t found much time for getting away this close to midterms. For now I’m just cruising the block trying to look at things from new perspectives. Here’s a few of my recent favorites.