Photographic Laziness

by James V February. 20, 2021 110 views

It's been a while since my last post. Inspiration has been flowing at low tide and today I forced myself to get out of the house and take photos in desperation. No, it isn't a good way to enjoy a hobby or take a good picture, and frankly, a blog post beginning with an apology isn't exactly the formula for success.

I went out with a kit of primes and one zoom for wide angle ability (12-40). Only one lens remained on the camera for the two hours I explored: the 35mm 1.2 Pergear lens of which I wrote a couple of months ago.

Before leaving the house I had all the intentions of using my kit of primes (19,25,35,40,85) for the purpose of selecting the best lens for my photo's intent. Instead, as I stood in the snow at the water's edge or in a slush pile at the side of the road, I quickly came to the realization that I would be allowing the lens on the camera to influence my intent. Therefore, I didn't change any lenses today and let the lens dictate my position rather than let my position dictate the focal length selection of the lens. Even in less than ideal circumstances, I shot with the Pergear lens. To be honest, this is a form of laziness. I am, at heart, a half-lazy, half-excuses type of photographer. I feel that as a hobby, I am permitted to think this way about photography. I realize, that is wrong. That my intention of becoming a better photographer means I must overcome certain tendencies, and only take photos with strong intent, from specific vantage points and with particular lenses, that best achieve my desired result.

But I didn't, not today. Instead I slipped into my usual obsessive questions/excuses about the process and gear rather than the picture I am trying to take:

"Where can I find a semi-clean flat surface to use in case I need to put down lens caps, covers, etc.?"

"Is there a location with some protection from the breezes or wind to prevent dust from being blown onto the sensor?"

"Should I take my gloves off to perform this operation for speed or will I regret having numb hands for the next 10 minutes?"

"Should I return to the car to perform this operation or is it too far and unproductive?"

"Will I miss the lighting, will someone cross into the shot, mar the pristine snow, tell me to leave, ask me what I am doing, request they see some of my pictures... in the time it takes me to change the lens?"

"If I choose a particular lens for the upcoming shot, will I use it for future shots or will I want to change it again and spend the next half of my day changing lenses rather than taking photos?"

"I would love to use that 85 here, except it has a lot of chromatic aberration looking towards the sun and is really soft stopped down."

"I would love to use the 25 here, for its handling of red tones, but its focus can be a little wonky and the 35 is almost the same focal length, already on the camera and manual focus. I'll just stitch two photos together."

"I would love to get a wide angle shot, near here, but it requires I start hiking around for a position and the landscape isn't interesting enough for the wide angle. I'll be disappointed with the result anyway. I think the 35 could work here. I'll stitch two photos together."

"I never really liked many of the photos I took with the 19 except for those pictures I took in the city. This ain't no city."

Or the psychology of the lens change: "I really would like to avoid a slow lens change with these people around. It brings curiosity, questions, drains my focus and energy, leaves me feeling self-conscience and vulnerable."

You get the idea. Low key, low confrontation, low effort, poor excuses.

It's a wonder I am able to take a picture at all.

As a result of my shortcomings I took the risk of shooting with the same lens on my camera again. For a set such as this one, the risk of using only one prime lens is that the sense of perspective can become monotonous.

Therefore, I tried to change some perspective using distance or stitching of photos together. The first and last photos are stitched together and the photos in this post a warning to other photographers not to be lazy or make excuses like me when shooting.

Join the conversation
Be the first one to comment on this post!