I don’t remember when I first fell in love with my 20mm F/2.8 lens. I’m sure it had to do with the fact that I was shooting Kodachrome 25 (the ISO), and when I wanted a high speed film, I switched to Kodachrome 64. That was in the film days and that was the film of choice. Being that slow made me use a tripod, and it was the best thing I ever did, because now I’m as fast with it as most people are when thy hand hold.
The 20mm lens became my all purpose lens and I shot everything with it from portraits to landscapes. Because it was so fast, I didn’t have to stop down very much to usually get what I wanted in focus. I could also get my subjects “up close and personal” and if I kept them in the middle, or if I kept my camera level when I did put them close to the edge they wouldn’t be distorted. That also included not having their arms and legs too close to the lens or they would be weird and too large for the rest of their body.
I loved to put my subjects what I always referred to as “front and center”. In my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I’m constantly getting my fellow photographers to get “up close and personal” to their subject. For one thing it generates Visual Tension and interest. For another, It anchors them in the foreground and creates layers of interest and depth. Since the camera just has one eye (the lens) it can only see in two dimensions…height and width. You can trick the camera into creating the third dimension…depth by placing your subject front and center.
Btw, I also like to put them smack dab in the middle and to hell with that silly “Rule of Thirds” thing that everyone thinks you have to follow to create good photos.
So try it next time and see if you like it. Put your subject front and center and close to the lens. Once you see how it works and you get over the hump in giving it a try, you’ll see that it’s not such a bad idea after all.
Here’s some examples, and all of them were shot with a 20mm lens. Some were shot during the film days and some in the more recent digital age:
Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2016 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. come shoot with me sometime. In conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be leading a group to Cuba for the third time next March. Come join me in what I’ll guarantee you to be an amazing experience, and you’ll return home with memorable photos from a wonderful country.
Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll send you a video critique.