The Walk-Around Lens

Photography forums often include weekly posts on favorite “walk-around” lenses. My favorite walk-around lens is whatever lens hasn’t been getting much love lately. If I’m going out to shoot with no subject in mind, why should it matter what lens I carry? I’d rather use the unstructured time to practice with a lens that I need practice with. Please do not chastise me for ending that sentence with a preposition.

Today the in-favor out-of-favor lens was my 85mm f/1.8.  I’m on the verge of spending too much money and connubial capital for an 85mm f/1.4, so I’m trying to remind myself that the 1.8 is quite nice for my purposes. Here are some shots from today’s walk to the Ojai Beverage Company and back.

Just down the street, a slick sales pitch with an oddly placed comma.

At my destination, a bit of refreshment. That's a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA next to my Stetson Open Road. I had to lean very far back to get this, because the minimum focusing distance is .85 meters. Frankly, I like a lens that makes me move around to get the right framing and perspective.

It's Labor Day here in the US, so I walked past several barbecues on my way home. My wife prepared a vegetarian dinner, but I have to confess that the curry was delicious. Seemed a bit unpatriotic, though, so I only had three bowls. Note the shallow depth of field.

After dinner, Ms. Meemo joined us on the deck, and I think this really shows what I like about the 85mm f/1.8. Her eyes are sharp, but focus falls off slowly in front of her and quickly behind. It's one of the great looks in photography. Of course, the 85mm f/1.4 does it even better...

I like the 85 as a walk-around lens because its long focal length and wide aperture create excellent subject isolation. But of course, that was today’s walk. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll take a macro lens or a super wide angle. The truth is that the best walk-around lens is the one you feel like playing with. Ooh, another sentence-ending preposition. I suppose that is something up with which you cannot put.

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Filed under Camera Gear, Low Light

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