Lens Fatigue

I’m sure this just applies to me… I can be a terribly impatient photographer!   Always in a hurry, for God knows what reason. How many times have I gotten home and kicked myself for not switching to another lens.  Often it’s just laziness or what I’m starting to call lens fatigue!

The lens collection, check the ratings & buy the best glass you can afford.

Sometimes there is some rationality behind being anxious. The light fading or increasing, a cloud passes creating some great shadow, the tide’s or inclement weather.    Here are some of the reasons I hear clanging around in my head!

  • Changing lenses in challenging weather.  Wind blowing water and sand.  Not good especially with a mirrorless camera…
  • Tired of taking off backpack again…
  • No place to set the backpack down…
  • I can edit it in Lightroom…
  • I’ll adjust my vantage point to use the lens I have on…
  • I feel like an idiot when I change my lens in front of other people…

As experience is gained I become more aware of what lens initially to walk into a scene with. Due to a myriad of issues, that plan has to be altered to capture the object.  Why do I resist this?

Garden of Eden-1258 fb
Shot with 15mm Zeiss Distagon and cropped. Better choice would have been 55mm or larger.

Some of the explanation can be found in familiarity.  I’ve had success with the 100mm and 15mm. I know what they do and image quality is crazy good.  Why change right?

Water and wind can be a real hazard.  I’ve missed some great shots only because I didn’t wipe the lens off enough.  The same shoot this Garden of Eden picture is from, another image I must of removed 20-30 water spots from.   Fortunately it was salvageable.   Still better to make sure I’m in a protected place, make the switch and get the shot properly.

No confidence or unfamiliar with a lens can be a fatigue issue.  I have to shoot a lens a bunch before I know it’s strengths and effective range.    Eddie Soloway suggested in his Natural Eye Seminar, to go out and just shoot one lens all day, no matter what, to learn it.  Pretty good advice that I need to take every time I get a new lens.  I think he also said, or I read it somewhere, to develop patience in your shooting, and increase your awareness in a scene, try taking one picture a  hour!  That’s extremely difficult!  I want to approach a shot as a film photographer does, precise and well thought out(I have a long way to go here).

Ultimately taking less pictures with the right focal length is the answer.  Taking my relative time (in the middle of a thunder storm hurry your ass up!)  in shot composition, saves a bunch of post processing time.  I’ve gotten down to around 100 pictures a day doing variable locations and even less if no moving water is involved.  That’s a tremendous leap from the 300-400 I used to snap!   Four or five in a individual scene, a lens switch and another couple, move on,  is the goal.

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2 thoughts on “Lens Fatigue

  1. Well Eric you are not the only person that just goes ahead and snaps away. Just check out all the holiday makers you see. They rush up to a vantage point and start clicking away. Yet if they first took in the scene and maybe waited a few minutes for lets say the tour bus to move out the way, they would have got an awesome photo. I find the only time I do take a lot of pictures is when I have to do a sport shoot. Then I want all the action I can get and shoot away just to get that “right” shot. Yet when I go out and do wildlife, I could end up with only 20 or so shots for the entire day. Using only one lens for a day is OK but then I will use a 75-300 which covers a lot of ground when needed. My 50mm is the one lens I seem to take most often when sightseeing it just means I need to get closer more often than not. But I still bring home great pictures with it.

  2. Eric, you have encouraged me greatly.

    I’ve been kicking myself pretty hard lately over this very issue, and I was thinking that I must be the only photographer around that is wearing out only three lenses out of a possible six or seven.

    Now that I know I’m not the only one, I’ll make more of an effort and work on getting past all the same reasons you are giving for not doing it! Thank you!

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