40 something lenses - The places I photograph the most.

Sony NEX-5n Voigtlander 28mm f/2 Ultron
All pictures - Sony NEX-5n Voigtlander 28mm f/2 Ultron

I originally had the intention of making this post about using 40 something lenses, i.e. lenses that have the field of view that are equivalent to 40-45mm on 35mm / FF. However reading BB's flickr comment on the above picture, I thought I would expand it to write about my local environment, which is where the majority of the pictures posted on this blog are shot.

Sony NEX-5n Voigtlander 28mm f/2 Ultron

All of the images were taken with my Voigtlander 28mm on a Sony NEX-5n. This is roughly equivalent to 42mm on 35mm / FF. For some reason its a focal length, or field of view I like and one that seems to suit what I do. I often put this down to the Pentax Limited 43mm lens I used in my film days, and in particular the week I spent on the Cote d'Azur using this lens alone, since I had somewhat carelessly managed to render the rest of my equipment inoperative!

I still remember the pleasure I got from using that lens on a Pentax MZ-5. I was surprised at how just much I could get out of it, and I also remember the sense of liberation that I got from what seemed at first to be a restriction. Prior to that I had never done anything similar, always feeling that I had to take out a battery of lenses or a zoom to cover any eventually. It was during this week that I did finally realise that as a photographer I wasn't taking or capturing pictures but using what tools I had to create or make them. 

For some reason a 40 something lens works very well for me, and seems to fit very well with what I want to include in my "photographic frame" of what I see in front of me. I like it so much that I once photographed 95% of a wedding using a 28mm lens on a Canon 7D. I didn't intend to do that, and carried other lenses with me, but that 28mm just seemed to be the "right" lens for most situations.

This carried over into my landscape / location work and I have particularly enjoyed using the 20mm Panasonic pancake lens on my m4/3 cameras.

I'm still not really sure why I find it so appealing, but I guess we all have one focal length that seems to work best for us.

Sony NEX-5n Voigtlander 28mm f/2 Ultron

The images for this post, and indeed for the majority of this blog are taken in an area of the English Midlands. This is south of the city of Birmingham, and includes the counties of Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. Its an area of rolling countryside, heavily agricultural, criss-crossed by canals and full of small villages. It includes Stratford-upon-Avon and goes south to the Cotswolds. 

Its not an area of dramatic landscape, its generally quiet, pastoral and very green. There are lots of thatched cottage and half timbered buildings. Someone once commented that I make the pictures of the area look like some kind of "idealised" view of a "fantasy" picture postcard England, but to a large extent the pictures reflect what the area actually looks like. True, I'm selective about what I photograph, but my pictures are pretty much an accurate representation of what its like.

I was born and spent my early years here, and after spending many years living and working in London, I returned a few years ago. So its an area I know pretty well. It is I guess an environment I'm comfortable in. And while I love visiting and photographing more spectacular areas, and like many UK residents have a fascination for the coast and the sea, I couldn't imagine living in areas like that.

Sony NEX-5n Voigtlander 28mm f/2 Ultron

The area has served me well in terms of picture sales from stock photography, and I've always put that down to the fact that Stratford-upon-Avon and the Cotswolds are popular tourist areas, known across the world, and also the fact that the area is rich in locations that can be used for generic images to produce an attractive image of the English landscape. Since I've always sold lots of images to the travel industry, I assume thats where lots of my pictures end up.

Sony NEX-5n Voigtlander 28mm f/2 Ultron