Something Old, Something New

Sunrise behind the Tennessee Aquarium

Sunrise behind the Tennessee Aquarium

I decided to try shooting sunrise over the riverfront with a longer lens.  I was originally thinking the 100-400mm lens to really zoom in tight and pick up details that I normally don’t get shooting landscape.  But, as I selected the lens to put on my camera, I backed off on focal length, afraid I wouldn’t be able to get any of the sky in the frame.

The sky is among my favorite subjects and the thought of not being able to capture it if it did something really cool was unfathomable.

Had I been more awake, I might have put my long lens on my old 40D or on my husband’s Rebel–then I could have had both wide and tight views to choose from.  But, I was not that awake and not that ambitious.  Plus, sometimes I feel like it’s just a good exercise to see what you can get with what you’ve got instead of trying to have the perfect equipment on hand for every possible scenario.  Every once in a while, I get inspired and do something really creative.

However, instead of sticking with my original plan, I hedged my bet and put my 70-200mm lens on my camera instead.  I figured this would give me enough range to get some sky and still get details.  And, it is a better lens than the 100-400mm.

This was probably not wise.  I ended up shooting around 85mm and getting shots that look remarkably like the shots I get from the riverfront walkway in the park below with a wider lens.  Except these look flatter.

If you’re not into photography, perhaps I should explain that wide angle lenses distort a scene in such a way that it make things look further apart.  Conversely, long lenses make things look closer together.  So, the buildings, for example, look like they’re all on the same street even though I only shot at 85mm.  Had I been shooting at 16mm, the buildings would look further apart (and they would curve upwards at the outside of the frame due to the distortion created by shooting that wide).

In any case, my lens choice didn’t force me to do anything really interesting or creative.  I just ended up with less than exciting landscape shots.

Of course, there is a lesson in this.  I think it goes something like this:  when you want to try something new, sometimes you have to leave yourself no option but to do something new.  Otherwise, you might find that while you told yourself you were doing something new, you really just did the same thing you always do.

When I saw the clouds blowing over the 27 bridge, I immediately went into landscape mode.  I zoomed out to 70mm and tried to capture as much of the sky as I could.  Next time, I’m taking the 100-400mm.  I’m going to try to shoot at 300mm or higher and see what I get.

Clouds over the 27 bridge

Clouds over the 27 bridge

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