I have been a photographer for many years. It all started with an Instamatic, progressing to a 35 mm SLR, a point-and-shoot digital camera, and now to a digital SLR. I think I had my first camera when I was 9 or 10 years old. Having a camera in my hands is a natural feeling for me.
Photography was almost my chosen profession. It was that or physical therapy. Yes, a strange dichotomy and a very intriguing story to go along with it. I'll share that tale at another time, but suffice it to say we all know which pathway I took.
I appreciate the challenge in taking the best photo possible. It is all about being in the right place, at the right time. Part of it is the creative aspect of putting colors and tones and lines in an image artistically. But part of it is a technical process. You have to select the right lens for the task at hand.
A photo can live or die by the lens. If you use the right one, you have the potential to then capture all of the creative elements you dare to imagine. But if not, you may be left with an image that is blurred, or distant, or distorted. The lens we look through makes a huge difference.
We have many lenses in our lives, ones that may change and evolve over time. How we view the world, and what takes place within it, is highly dependent upon the lens through which we view it.
It is handy to have a wide range of lenses. Let's face it, a 55 mm lens will perform adequately for most things but not necessarily exceptionally at any one thing. Life is the same. Seeing everything through the same lens is self-limiting. Life experiences give us a broad range of lenses. Learning gives us a broad range of lenses. Or not. We don't have to buy those lenses, but they are readily available to us should we so desire.
We also develop the ability to choose our lens, much as the way we would in order to take the best photo. We can select the lens and how we care to see the world, see our problems or our successes, and then create something positive or beautiful from there.
But if we choose the wrong lens, or just take whichever lens happens to be there at the time, we are left with distorted images, blurred images, distant images. We are at the mercy of the lens, and our world is only as good as the lens through which we view it.
Fortunately, we can change lenses as we go. We can learn and adjust. Sometimes, we have to be brutally honest with those choices. Yes, that photo might stink because of lousy composition, but it might also stink because I didn't use the right lens. So if you are fortunate enough to have another opportunity to capture it again, you choose another lens.
It's a choice. Once we make that choice, we are left to create beautiful images. Life is no different.
Photo credits: Adam Hinett