Limiting Your Lens Choices Might Make You A Better Photographer

by Bret HoyLeave a Comment

I think you can tell a lot about a photographer by what lenses they choose to keep in their bag. Some photographers like to work with limitations on focal length and aperture.

This is to set themselves rules about look and tone. These types of photographers are USUALLY working in controlled environments where the image is fine-tuned and captured with several takes.

There is another breed of photographer though. The type that fills their bag based on a variety of needs for situations that present themselves in uncontrolled environments. These types of photographers USUALLY have a more journalistic focus. You must be prepared to capture anything.

What is described in Jonathan Tee’s piece for Petapixel, “A Tale Of 2 Lenses” is that of a photographer who is usually geared for anything forced to trim down to two lenses. And I find that the most valuable lesson that can be learned in this scenario is not what lenses work for me, but how each lens works and differs.

Separate from the needs of reach out of your lenses, it’s important to remember that each lens tells a story differently. For me, the most enlightening quote from the piece is, “while the XF100–400 allows you to isolate the subject and pull things closer to make a photograph of small or distant things worthwhile, the XF16 allows you to include the surroundings but doing so means you need to get creative with your angles.

At this point, this concept should be fairly obvious to you, but they don’t fall into sharp contrast unless you’re forced to decide between lenses instead of reaching for your focal lengths based on simply their length.

Limiting yourself gives you the opportunity to learn more than the abundance of options ever will.

A Tale of 2 Lenses: Bringing a Long and a Short Lens on a Safari

Via PetaPixel:

Photo_Fujifilm X-E2 XF16mm

Fujifilm X-E2 XF16mm

Every time I make a bush trip such as this one I am reminded of the fact that a lot of wildlife photography is luck, yes you have to be in the right place, preferably at the right time, and if everything finally comes together you also better be ready with the right gear with the right settings, and only then can you begin to think about making a half-decent image, the one you had imagined in your head. You know what, no matter what you do if any one of the above is missing, then you don’t have a photograph.

And that is how it was, in this place of lions, it was not to be. We heard them calling nearly every night while laying on the ground in my sleeping bag with only the thin material of the hiking tent between me and the dark African night. I even watched a lone female skirt the far edge of the pan, responding to the call of a distant male, too far for photography – all I could do was sit back observe and enjoy my early morning coffee whilst the first warmth of sunlight filtered through the bush and the distant calls echoed across the pan.

Fujifilm X-E2 XF100-400mm photo

Fujifilm X-E2 XF100-400mm

Photo_Fujifilm X-E2 XF100-400mm

Fujifilm X-E2 XF100-400mm

Due to the arid nature of the region wildlife is not as abundant as the more famous areas of Chobe or Moremi but there is life present you just have to be patient and prepared to work with what ever presents itself to you.

Read full article at PetaPixel “A Tale of 2 Lenses: Bringing a Long and a Short Lens on a Safari”

Note: it is our policy to give credit as well as deserved traffic to our news sources – so we don't repost the entire article – sorry, I know you want the juicy bits, but I feel it is only fair that their site get the traffic and besides, you just might make a new friend and find an advertiser that has something you've never seen before

(cover photo credit: snap from PetaPixel)

Bret Hoy

Bret Hoy

Bret Hoy is a filmmaker, photographer and writer based out of St. Louis, Missouri. Mainly focused on documentary and experimental film, he has produced, directed, shot and edited many short films and a few long form works.

He shoots a lot and often.
Bret Hoy

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