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Archive for March, 2007

Try new things

Posted in misc on March 25th, 2007 by gregr


Back in August of last year, I was out on location doing a shoot. I had been shooting a lot with a 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom lens, and frankly, I was getting a bit lazy. I’d stand (more or less) in one place, and zoom in and out to vary my composition. Might as well have pulled up a chair and had a beer!

When I was getting ready to shoot this set, it was late afternoon one day, and I was truly reaching the height of laziness…I was thinking, “you know, that 70-200 sure is getting heavy.” Lol. So when we got to this spot, I put on a fixed 85mm f/1.4, and started shooting with it. The photo to the right shows what the location looked like; there was a small boat dock I was sitting on, and the lovely Amy was sitting on a rock in a little alcove.

At the time, if I put on the 70-200, I probably would have sat there on the dock, zooming in and out, changing composition, and making Amy move around a lot. And in doing so, I would have missed some of the best shots of the day.

See, what happened when I was using the fixed 85mm lens was, I had to get up off my butt. I had to walk around, find new angles, find new shots. Want a closer crop? I had to walk closer. Looser? Further away. And while I was doing all this walking around, I noticed things. New angles. New ideas. New shots. A new background didn’t necessarily mean changing locations – it just meant changing the way I was looking at the existing location. It meant opening my eyes.

There was also more energy on the set. I was jumping all around, finding new angles and new shots. Amy picked up on my obvious energy, and it really helped make a connection with her and draw her personality out – especially important, as we hadn’t met before this particular shoot.

I also shot these images at around f/2.2 – something that’s clearly not possible with a 70-200 f/2.8 :-). But as I was walking around, looking for new angles and new shots, I could stop looking at the “background” as it were, and start looking more at colors, tones, and shapes. What worked for the shot? What didn’t? I took a lot of shots that didn’t work well, believe me.

But by the end of the session, I knew I had the shot I wanted (on the left). And I can tell you, with some certainty, that if I hadn’t changed lenses, changed what I was doing, and stood in the water, I never would have gotten this shot.

So in the end, I learned an important lesson on a hot day one August. And that was, get up! Move around. Look for the hidden gem wherever you’re shooting, and don’t fall back on “old reliable” techniques. Change something – try something new – and you might come up with something you really like.