BY BERT STEPHANI
A 35mm lens on my Fujis (or a 50mm on a full frame camera) has about the same angle as what we see with the naked eye. I call the 35mm my “life” lens because it captures life like I see it, without the heroic distortion of the wide angle, nor the flattering compression of a long lens. Years ago, I did a project called 50/50, I shot my 50mm lens (back than I was shooting full frame Canon cameras) for 50 days in a row. That experiment changed my photography completely and was the beginning of the quest towards shooting with less gear. The 50/50 project taught me that I can shoot pretty much anything with just this standard fixed focal length. Sometimes I have to work hard and be creative to find the shot but in the end I’ve always been rewarded for that effort. I’ve used a lot of different lenses since then, and my glassware collection is bigger than my gear philosophy allows. But the one lens that I always return to is the 35mm. Shooting with that lens is always like coming home.
The one subject that I have a hard time shooting with the 35mm is nature. It’s usually too long to capture the mind blowing vastness of a landscape and the only wildlife that I’ve managed to capture with it, had recently got a too close to a shotgun or a rifle. But I’m always up to challenge myself, so when we started discussing the theme for this issue, I decided to try to shoot in nature.
I’ve always loved being outside in nature in the evening, at night and early in the morning. A lot of people associate the night with danger, but for me it’s the opposite, it’s the peace and calm that attracts me. The night has always been a safe blanket under which I can be myself. As a six year old boy I slept all alone in my tent in the backyard and loved coming out of it under the light of the moon. Now, 35 years later, a lot has changed but not my love for the night. That moment when the end of the dayshift in nature converges with the start of the nightshift brings those moments of magic that I live for. I call them split seconds of pure happiness.