It's always nice to take a fixed focal length lens and shoot for the day without the benefit of the modern zoom lens or the control of a studio environment. It makes you think about composition and framing in a very different way. One of my favourite things is to take the 180mm macro lens and go to the local forest making landscapes practically impossible. I don't take a tripod as I don't like to be encumbered when I'm out for a fun day walking, the result is a hand held 180mm macro lens presenting more than a few challenges. Low light in the forest, very shallow depth of field and wind movement of the chosen subject are just a few of the hurdles made worse by the lack of a tripod.
Having said all of that, I really do love it, the macro makes me look at the smaller things, they are things I always notice but generally walk past without an image because of the limitations of other lenses in comparison. Nothing captures detail like a macro lens and today I made a lovely shot of some wild Virginia Bluebells on the forest floor (see below).
Sure, I had to wait for the wind to stop wobbling it all over the place, I had to lie down and form a 'two elbows and my face tripod', I had to shoot a higher ISO than I would have liked and a lower shutter speed, but so what. That formidable depth of field made by the lens and the distance between the topic and the background, the incredible detail in the 180mm macro and the grouping of the flowers on a shallow focal plane meant I came home with a really nice shot and best of all I enjoyed a wonderful forest walk while doing it. So, next time you want a challenge, grab a fixed focal length and get out there it will help develop (or maintain) your camera skills and bring you different rewards than the studio can provide.
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