As I was preparing to onboard a fast 35mm to my lens array there were three primary uses driving my motivation:
- Tighter option for landscape shooting situations where the 14mm is too wide
- Sufficient prime lens solution to spend an entire day shooting with a single lens—think of it as a walkabout lens for Disney World
- Tack sharp rendering even wide open at f/1.4—allowing all sorts of shallow depth of field, selective focus, and bokehlicious opportunities
Yesterday’s shot above speaks to the latter, and if I get down to it, is the primary reason I long coveted this lens. As much as landscapes are my wheelhouse, this kind of dreamy, shallow depth of field shooting engages me the most. It’s back to the basics photography—walking around, camera in hand, single shot work up close and personal with the subject. Frankly shooting landscapes becomes a bit clinical at times; rote behavior stuck behind a tripod, never worrying about focus—thanks, hyperfocal!—and capturing brackets. But it’s not all a crying shame, being detached a bit from the process allows you to sit back and take in the great sunset you’re there to shoot.
Bringing it back around there’s just no substitute for pared-down handheld shooting. Walking about Stafford Forge yesterday I met with a surprised greeting the nascent remnants of a seasonal control burn. It must have taken place about 10ish days ago as green grasses were already breaking through, coloring up the landscape. Every year this happens, taking down human height grasses and brushes that will steadily accumulate over the spring, summer, and fall growing seasons. For yesterday it made for a chance meeting with this bit of grass here—anyone able to ID that thing? Like most plant life in the Pinelands heat from forest fire allows protective casings to open and seeds to drop. Think of pine cones. This makes the control burning a necessary and important task for healthy maintenance of a productive pine forest ecosystem.
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