|Red-eyed Tree Frog, Costa Rica|
The truth is, however, that not having the "right" lens can force you to get pictures you might not otherwise have seen. Consider, for example, my red-eyed tree frog (taken, by the way, on Kodachrome - more than 25 years ago). When I found this frog, sitting on a palm frond, I didn't have any of my macro gear with me. In fact, all I had a was a telephoto lens, without any macro capability. Although I wanted to a close-up, the lens simply did not focus any closer....and the picture above is the result. Instead of an in-your-face portrait (of which I have hundreds already) I was forced by my equipment to create a composition with what I had on hand.
I liked the design, of course; the balance between the off-center frog and the black areas on the left. It worked for me, despite the fact that it was not the picture I wanted to take at the time. But less than a year later, it was published as a wrap-around cover on Audubon Magazine - a picture I only took because my equipment forced me to look beyond my initial instincts.
The lesson? No, it's probably not a good idea to intentionally leave a useful lens behind as a way to force you to see differently. But it is worth trying a different lens that you might not use normally, one that changes your perspective and allows you to see a picture you might not see otherwise.
Then there is our obsession with big glass. In the Arctic this summer, I shot polar bears next to a guy who had a 600mm lens on his Canon - all the time. By contrast, I went back and forth between my 300mm 2.8 and a 70-200mm, occasionbally throwing on a TC1.4 when needed. Did I lose some great close-ups when the bear was a long way away? You bet I did. But the shorter lenses forced me to get something BESIDES a close-up - like this environmental shot of a bear on a vast sheet of drifting ice. Like the frog picture, the "wrong" lens gave me access to a picture I would never have taken if I'd been using a mega-telephoto.
|Polar Bear on Pack Ice, Svalbard|
Nikon D300, 300mm f2.8 lens