"Where Beauty Grows"
There are some things you'll always love no matter who you are or how you change. Some of my favorite things without question, that I have always loved are old Danny Kaye movies, Anne of Green Gables, the color green, Scrabble, Cortland apples, Patti Lupone, pizza, fresh bread, Spike Jones, the smell of anything drenched in Sweet Pea....and Peonies. Hence today's image, taken over at the Sam Lawrence Park perennial rock gardens.
In regards to photography I have a list of favorite things too. I love towering architecture. I love old architecture. I love sunset light, unique perspective, negative space, the challenge of composing around chaos, and B&W processing. I love Nikons, prime lenses, soft depth of field, lines, contrast, tripods, remote shutter releases and... my 18-55mm kit lens. Hence today's image taken with the most moderate wide angle lens Nikon ever created to accompany a DSLR. But it will always be at the top of my list of favorite gear. Why? Cause it allows me to get photographs like the one above.
Normally I would use a telephoto for a near macro-ish close-up like this, but it doesn't allow me to get the breadth of the massive blossoms while getting up close. Maxed out at 18mm's means I got close and inclusive, the barrel distortion you get slightly at 18mm's means an added depth to this deeply petaled beauty. Every petal stays fairly sharp, this lens doesn't make me struggle with what DOF I can get away with depending on the rest of my exposure like the finicky tele or 50mm fixed lens. And I can handhold this lens in a wide variety of lighting conditions and subjects no problem. That allowed me to get right up next to each peony I photographed and to move around freely, composing on a whim if desired as I framed flowers up in the camera. Tripods are also on my list of favorite things, but sometimes you just don't feel like being held up as your creative flow kicks into gear.
As new and marvelous lenses emerge on the market, don't forget your foundational gear. It's where you are most skilled, where you naturally respond the fastest when shooting, and where your comfort level and creativity feed off each other for consistent results. When it comes down to it... every piece should feel like the equivalent of wearing your favorite pair of jeans, that's when you know each photograph was about what you saw, and not about what gear you used first.
That's why I'll always love my kit lens. It does exactly that every time it's in my hands. What will you always love about your gear? Think about it, and how it adds your photographic process. And have a good one folks! Thanks for the ramble!