I work as a professional photographer, so it’s probably no surprise that when I have a camera in my hand, I’m most likely working for clients and delivering on their brief.
I love what I do as a people photographer, but I really relish the chance to simply shoot images for me. There’s something invigorating about shooting with no attachment to client brief, for no other purpose than to take photos for myself.
On Monday this week, I went on a day trip with my wife Belinda and my daughter Indrani to Manly. We skipped out on Rilien who was at day care, so we could share some quality daughter time, just the three of us. It hasn’t been this way for a couple of years now, and I know Bel & I enjoy our solo time with Indrani as much as she enjoys having us to herself.
For a change, I took my D800 camera with me, with a single, fixed lens – a 35mm f/2. I’ve had this lens for 10 years, and have used it on countless jobs. It travelled with me to Europe in 2003, and was part of the kit I had when I started this business.
Sadly, it’s broken, and will only shoot with the aperture stuck wide-open at f/2. This means I get a very shallow area of my images in focus (shallow depth of field), and the rest of the shot goes soft and blurry. It also means I have certain limitations on how I shoot with this lens in various kinds of brighter light. I can’t always get the results I would ideally want when using this lens.
The cool thing about this lens, though, is the look it gives my images, especially, ironically enough, when I shoot it at f/2. It’s almost like the camera gods decided that since I loved this lens at f/2 so much, it would interfere with the mechanics, make the lens break, and get it stuck at f/2. It gives a beautiful softness all over, but also gives a subtle vignette to the corners of the image. A vignette is a gentle darkening of the corners, most often caused by light fall-off in the lens. It is most often considered a camera flaw, but in this case is something I truly love.
Focussing with this lens is kinda dicey too – sometimes it works, sometimes not – and that is also one of the things I love about this lens. It has some idiosyncrasies, just like me. I guess in some ways the lens is like an old friend. We know each other really well, and I can rely on my trusty 35 to give me a certain flavour to my shots when I put the camera to my eye and press the shutter.
I also love love LOVE the angle of view that it provides. It’s a little wider than a standard 50mm lens, and means that I can get close to the subject and still get some background. It’s the one lens I wish I could rely on for client jobs – sadly the “quirks” of this lens have led to me missing the odd shot when I use it for clients, so it stays home most of the time.
Except for Monday.
I was determined to take it for a spin, while we took our daughter on a trip to Darling Harbour and Manly via ferry. I took my 35mm for a blast, and here are my favourite shots from the day.
I hope you enjoy them as much as me!