Rather Not Be a Multidimensional, Bipolar Photographer


When it comes to photography, I am bipolar in several dimensions.  One dimension is focal length.  I prefer effective focal lengths in the range of 28mm to 50mm with prime lenses.  One reason for this is I don’t need to zoom.  With my better cameras, zooming requires a second hand which usually is holding a cane.  With small cameras, it takes a while for their power zoom lens to move when I use only my right-hand finger on the sliding switch.  But, due to my location, lack of travel, etc., most of my compositions require a long focal length shot at the maximum range, so I keep switching back and forth.  I go out with a long zoom lens, and then come back wishing I had been only carrying a lightweight, small prime lens.

Another aspect, but related to the above, is that from an engineering perspective I prefer cameras with good image qualities in a range-finder format or design with a physically short prime lens mounted on them.  They work best when I’m photographing around people in low light with the subjects moving around since they are faster, thus enabling me to use a higher shutter speed.  They also don’t get in the way in tight quarters and they are less likely to cause people to react negatively.  The shorter, lighter lenses also tend to give me fewer problems with my hands.

The above aspects of being bipolar have caused me to go back and forth trying different cameras and lenses as I try to find one set that covers all my needs.  I haven’t found that system yet so my next reaction is to give up long heavy zoom lenses and long shots and concentrate on compositions that work with wider prime lenses.  So far, even though I have made the change to wider prime lenses multiple times and sold my zoom lenses, it hasn’t worked since I don’t live where I can find enough suitable compositions to sustain my photography at the rate I prefer.

Currently, I am using three cameras as I try to decide whether to again attempt a shift in my photography.  I have been using my best, but heavier, X-Pro2 camera with prime and zoom lenses, my X-E2s with multiple lenses, and my HX80 pocket camera.  I’m leaning towards primarily using a Fuji camera with a prime lens and/or the 18-55mm zoom lens.  I am even considering, if such a system works, to get the Fuji X100F when it starts shipping, but it would have to replace some of my current gear.  Since the weight is a major factor I have checked the differences.  The X-Pro2 with the 23mm lens weighs 685g; the X100F with its 23mm lens weighs 469g; the X-E2s with the pancake 27mm lens weighs 435g; and the X-Pro2 with the 27mm lens weighs 570g.  From the perspective of form-factor, I prefer the 27mm pancake lens but it isn’t as nice a lens as the 23mm lens.

There is another bipolar factor that I’m wrestling with and that is my blogging.  I have been considering not writing as much and just mainly posting pictures.  I assume a few read what I write, but several of my viewers have told me they don’t read what I write.  They are only interested in seeing my pictures.  One aspect of this decision is that I like to write when I have something to say.

Another bipolar aspect to my photography is type of pictures.  I like to make pictures every day, but don’t go anywhere new and thus don’t see anything new to photograph.  This drives my personal photography in the direction of more abstract images or images of small details which usually require long focal lengths to make.  This complicates my camera-lens decision.  My photography for Homewood events, etc. often require low-light, faster shutter speeds, and 80mm or less effective focal lengths with zoom capability and cropping.

The easiest solution to the bipolar aspects of my photography and blogging is to just continue and not make any changes, but I would prefer to not be a multidimensional bipolar photographer.  I would rather simplify and concentrate on one type of photography.  When frustrated, I often just photograph the sky even though it no longer interests me.  I used the X-E2s with the 27mm pancake lens to make the above image this morning.

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