Limiting one's self with a prime - useful or BS?

Started Mar 7, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Bob Tullis
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Limiting one's self with a prime - useful or BS?
Mar 7, 2012

When it comes up, as it will from time to time, the notion that limiting yourself to a single focal length is often pooh-poohed as having any merit. As I review this image, it's NOT what I wanted, and the discussions about this posture come to mind.

This is a baked OOC JPG, so please ignore the NR on the underpass floor. This is about composition. (I guess I should find the RAW to process with LR4 now, but I think we can handle this [g])

When I decided to break out the table tripod, I wanted all that is seen, but wanted the background arches to be lower (centered in the f/g arches), which would also bring more symmetry with the underpass wall arches. And I also wanted to allow the tops of those pillars to be fully revealed. I find this architecture fascinating. Having the 12mm mounted, I wasn't thinking this one of those with hero image potential and figured I'd do a quick exercise rather than break out the 9-18 lens.

But then it became a study about compromise. I had to assess what was more important within the limitation, the overall impression or more precise symmetry. I could gain better symmetry if I moved down the stairs a few steps (but invariably moving closer), bringing the background perspective to be more centered with the f/g - but I'd lose the sense of confinement (or wariness of ambush, truth be told) that this FOV conveys in my mind. The portrait orientation didn't work to my liking, and in the end I think this turned out (as a composition) rather well despite it not being the original thought.

One evening when it's deserted and I'm passing through again I'll attempt it again, with the 9-18 this time. Just for curiosity's sake.

This reinforced the notion to take my time, and look closer. This in part is why a tripod's value for close examination of a study can matter, but it's about subtleties. The experience in seeing is not lost on more spontaneous opportunities either, IMO. At the time I couldn't identify that sense of confinement and wariness this particular perspective gives me, but I just knew there was something very compelling that didn't quite work the same in other positions considered.

And I believe it's practices like this that are of value for times when one is not fully prepared for what presents itself, which translates to more than just this particular type of study.

Here's where I ask, "No?"

What do you think about how I perceive this 'limiting one's self' thing? I supposes as there are different personality types there are different opinions that also might relate to different stages of advancement as well. So - just curious, is all.

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...Bob, NYC

"Well, sometimes the magic works. . . Sometimes, it doesn't." - Little Big Man

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