Escaping the Comfort Zone

I feel like a slightly schizophrenic photographer. I seek consistency, yet wonder how wise this is. Each weekend I hunt the streets equipped with a Nikon D7100 and 35mm lens, or my trusty Ricoh Gr; I know my way around these cameras. Returning home my shots are loaded into Lightroom and the same process is followed: dump the rubbish, apply lens correction, desaturate my shots (just a little) and add a little ‘S’ curve. BOOM – consistency.

Recently I was challenged to go out and shoot street with the widest lens I own, a 10-20mm (DX crop). This was clearly a stupid task as nobody shoots street with a lens this wide. My camera was heavy and candid shots near impossible. Who is going to ignore a lens that large?

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Despite it’s size I still managed some candid shots.

I stuck with my WA lens for a week, roaming the streets and cursing my Arcanum photography Master for creating such a stupid challenge. However, on uploading my shots something strange had happened. My keep rate had increased. The second ‘surprise’ was the variety of shots I captured. While I had aimed at shooting street and succeeding in capturing some candid portraits, I also had some alternative shots. Shanghai has both ancient and modern architecture which I have ignored for too long in my quest for ‘people shots.’

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Not street, but with my WA lens I grabbed a shot that I am proud of.

So why was this successful? I was forced to think outside the box. To find workarounds and to explore a different style of photography. Will I stick to such a wide lens for Street Photography? Hell no, the weight alone puts me off that idea. I will, however, start using it more for architecture and travel photography. There is a huge push for simplifying your gear down to one camera and one focal length. But let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water. We are creatives and there are some excellent tools for making great images. Let’s see what these tools can do for us!

Without further ado – here are some pics from my Wide Angle Challenge. Enjoy.

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Keep clicking, Chris

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