Garrett (garote) wrote,

Light gathering

If something looks odd about this picture, it's because it was taken at 3:00 in the morning.


Oh okay I suppose that's believable, right? Long exposure times make strange shadows. I took this one around the same time:


It's all on account of Kerry's camera having a 1.4-aperture lens. I've been obsessing about lenses lately - again - and I decided to walk around and use her camera to help figure out what I wanted.


Of course the exercise is academic, because I'm saving money for a new roof. But in a way, that doesn't matter. It turns out that I get a fair amount of enjoyment and satisfaction from the big purchases I make during the time before I make them, when I'm considering the options. I love to consider options.


So how many options is TOO many options, and how much time can I spend obsessing before it becomes a problem?

Well, usually the most intense thinking happens when I've narrowed the list down to less than five things.

The same thing happened when I was shopping for sunglasses recently. I opened fifty browser tabs, one after the other, just clicking on anything that looked semi-acceptable. Then I cut the fifty tabs down to less than five. All of that took about twenty minutes. Choosing among the remaining four took another half-hour and I had to come back to it a few times between other tasks. It was like, leaving the decision almost-made, then not making it for a while, was a fundamental part of my whole decision-making process.

How hard can it be to pick among four things that are all pretty good anyway? Not hard. But I found a bit of pleasure in lingering. Part of me enjoyed the delay, savored it even, after all the clearly bad options were eliminated.

I don't know if this is a good way to behave in general. It's probably meaningless to say so, either way, because it's a behavior that's useful sometimes and aggravating at other times.


And that's the way it is right now, with camera lenses. I'm down to three options, after exhaustive research.

Do I go for the 70-200mm 2.8-aperture lens that would be versatile, but heavy?

Do I go for the 28-300mm lens that would let me frame almost any kind of shot, anywhere I go, but has poor low-light performance?

Or do I go for the 1.2-aperture 85mm lens, like the one I'm walking around with on Kerry's camera right now? An ultra-narrow depth of field like 1.2, with no zoom, is very difficult and restrictive to work with. But the way it separates the foreground from the background, and the absurd amount of light it collects, can get me some shots that look absolutely unreal.

This one, for example, was taken in an almost totally dark room, without a tripod:


If I was just talking about night photography, there'd be no debate.

But if I'm going to be traveling, wouldn't a zoom lens be the only way to get all the shots I want?

Or maybe, if I want to go wide-angle, I can just take pictures with my phone instead. Decent wide-angle shots combined with the spellbinding medium shots of the 1.2 lens would be an adequate substitute for a real zoom lens, right?


I don't know. Do I come back from a trip with 250 good-looking shots, or 15 amazing shots that could serve as movie posters for Lord Of The Rings? I like night and macro photography and I'm pretty good at both, but I also just love taking pictures of everything everywhere and telling stories about it.


FIRST WORLD ... FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS ... *duh nuh nuh nuh duh nuh nuh nuh*

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