Some days ago, adoramatv posted a video on youtube rediscovering an article, Steve Huff wrote back in June 2011 about how shooting with a single focal length over a period of half a year can benefit your creativity. The guy in the video made a challenge out of it, where he asked his colleague to go out with just one lens for one day and see what it does to their photography. I knew that article by Steve Huff already and thought to myself that one day might be a little too short. Everyone has gone with just one focal length for a day sometime and it didn't make their creativity explode. Half a year though is a pretty long time, so as it was exactly one month till my little toddler goes to KiTa (which is like pre-Kindergarten in Germany), I decided do this one month long: One month, One lens!
I chose my 28mm f1.8 Canon lens as it is the most flawed lens in my current line-up. It is however the lens with the most character to put it positively and the normal choices around that focal length would naturally be either 24mm or 35mm. On the other hand the Leica Q makes do with an 28mm f1.8 as the only option.
It has only been five days now but I don't want to post a review just after that month. I want to let you guys be part of the experience while it lasts. My first day with the 28mm alone on the streets made me realize how wide 28mm are after all. Then today showed me how narrow 28mm is, when you're out, shooting architecture. I'm starting to figure out the focal length in my head slowly and steadily and it is an interesting progress for oneself.
In the coming weeks, I will try to use the 28mm as versatile as possible. I will keep you posted!
It has been another week with the 28mm f1.8 glued to my 5D. Recently I've figured out more and more what the field of view of that 28mm is like. I played around a lot with trying to look in 28mm as well. It is as if the field of view of the lens ends just shortly outside the borders of my sharp sight.
To concentrate myself more on the compositional capabilities of 28mm, I shot in an "f8 and be there" mode. The lens was set to hyperfocal most of the time, which gives roughly 2m to infinity of depth at f8. I noticed that I tried to anticipate shots a lot more and planed them ahead of shooting. Somehow you calm down when you don't have to think about depth of field and focus and just concentrate on composition. Like Vincent Laforet in his "pro photographer, cheap camera" - challenge, I sometimes stood there waiting for the human element to arrive to the shot, I had envisioned.
So far I'm really happy with my experiment and I have to say that I wish, I had thought about this ahead of selecting all my lenses for the 5D.
It's already been a month, I think to myself today, 11.10.2015 as I write this article. I wouldn't have though that time went by so fast and maybe it wouldn't, if there hadn't been a toddler around in my life.
I thought about it the other day; would I have made bigger steps if I had been out there photographing as much as I did prior to becoming the happiest dad in the world? I don't think so! My kid doesn't allow me to shoot as much as I did last year but that was beneficial to the project in my opinion. I tried to imagine framing, metering and subjects much more due to the fact that the camera wasn't there at all times. Or there was something else more important than pulling up the camera, or somebody tiny did pull the camera down in the decisive moment...
I did really enjoy the experiment. Firstly it made me realize how the 28mm focal length can be used and how to let opportunities pass without sorrow. On the other hand, it also made me realize, what I could do with my other lenses. Also I learned in which situations it would have been nice to be able to get in closer by using a longer focal length.
What's most important to me in the situations where I missed another lens, was that within a few seconds my brain started to figure out ways around the problem. May it be another composition if I could not get close enough or just turning around to look if there is something more interesting behind me. Restricting myself to one lens and one focal length made me compose my images more carefully, it made me think about subjects more intensely and it made me run after people to get closer.
I really enjoyed the experience and am already thinking about the second lens to stay on my camera for a month. For the thesis stated by Steve Huff, I don't know if the month made me a better photographer. It made me at least a more conscious photographer after all.