Mixed message



This is my fiftieth post since I embarked on the One Year One Camera One Lens program, and time to weigh up the benefits so far.

Firstly, the limitation I thought would irk most, using only a 35mm equivalent lens, has never bothered me. Yes, I’ve missed shots. But not many. Or so it seems; perhaps I just didn’t notice because I knew I couldn’t get them and filtered my perceptions accordingly. I have developed the beginnings of a sense of what the world looks like through that lens, and find it more liberation than constraint.

The benefit of setting  exposure manually has, I feel, run its course. In the first weeks I noticed that I could look at any scene through thumb and forefinger and make an increasingly accurate guess about shutter speed and aperture. That was gratifying. But not much use. Set to Program mode, the camera still makes the decision faster and more accurately than I can. To spurn such convenience seems foolish, given that the point of the exercise is to produce better photographs.

For the same reason, I use Auto focus rather than Manual, almost all the time. My eyes are not sharp enough, although there is also a technical reason: the focus ring on my copy of the x100s is often too stiff to be usable. I don’t know why I haven’t sent it back to be mended, unless it’s because the thought of being separated for a month is too ghastly to consider.

My self-imposed stricture on cropping has stopped one bad habit. I used to shoot without giving much thought to what was in the frame, thinking I’d fix things in the computer. Not anymore. Now I compose in the viewfinder. And this changes everything. It’s simply a matter of walking closer and looking.

Shooting for at least five minutes every day can be tough. Sometimes I just don’t want to do it.  The key is to look afresh at things around me. The switch on the desk lamp, a pen, moonrise over the mountain ridge I see from my window–all could make interesting photographs in the hands of a good photographer. My intention is to become that photographer: someone whose images are, for whatever reason, always worth looking at.



Vancouver skyline

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