I’ve been thinking alot lately about tools for the job. I always love the night before a large shoot, or even a little one. I feel like that scene in Rambo first blood, where he gets all his gear together and preps. That’s my calm before the storm. Taking out the gear, cleaning it, setting all my camera settings back to my default settings. (IS0 100, manual, evaluative metering). Depending on what I’m shooting the next day, I make my lens selections. There is only a limited space in the bag, so what almost always gets picked? The 24-70L. I hate that lens.
I feel as if it’s my crutch. It’s not the best lens on earth in my opinion.
It has enough reach to make it a decent portrait lens, and on a full frame body, it’s wide enough to technically be considered a wide angle. I trust it at 2.8 (as a matter of fact, unless it’s a group photo, I keep that lens at 2.8). But I have a love hate relationship with this lens. It’s for all intents and purposes, a general, safe, boring lens that IMO sucks the life out of creativity. What I see in my head, and what actual comes out on print can generally be accomplished with this lens. But I’m not convinced that’s a good thing. Because it’s like the faithful dog that’s always by your side. “Oh yeah, no worries, I’ll get that shot. I have the 24-70 on, he’ll never let me down. There’s less creativity going for it. The shots at this point in my career are almost automated. I’ll see what I want, analyze the situation/scene, and shoot it.
For gigs where it’s not paid, there are no expectations. Usually for pro bono work, I almost always leave my 24-70 at home. I bring my 35L, or my 85L, I bring my Carl Zeiss 28, or even 135. It almost feels liberating. I’m forced to think! Normally if I wanted a shot, I’d just use the 24-70 and snap. But wait, I don’t have that with me. How can I achieve the same shot that I envisioned in my head? Or heck, since I can’t be lazy and just zoom in and out, what other permutation/ can I do given my current vantage point to try to get something cool? So you’ll almost always see me with a 35, 50, or an 85 in a social event, or if I’m shooting for fun.
One day, I’ll have the guts to just go into an engagement with just 1 body, and cannon’s dubbed ‘holy trinity;. 35L, 85L, and 135L. All primes. Who knows, maybe when I book my first $10k wedding, I will be sooo good, that all need to kick butt is me with my primes. =)
In all seriousness, for those of you who wish to tinker with taking photographs, I highly recommend just picking up an inexpensive prime lens. Or go out and shoot for fun, but force yourself to stay at single focal length for the duration of the day.