PORTLAND, Maine — Once upon a time, most 35mm film cameras came with a standard-issue 50mm lens. It’s often said that it’s the focal length that most resembles the human field of vision. It’s not too wide and not too telephoto.
As a kid, when I first started to commandeer my father’s Canon AE-1, that’s the only lens I had. It took me through middle school snapshots of my buddies launching their dirtbikes off sandpit walls and three years on the high school yearbook staff. I didn’t acquire my first zoom lens till my mid-20s. I didn’t have a telephoto till a month into my first newspaper job.
My current cameras have sensors the same size as a 35mm film frame. But I now have an arsenal of five lenses to choose from, depending on what I’m shooting. Sometimes, I think I have a little too much choice and I wonder if it makes me a lazy photographer.
So, today, as a challenge to myself, I set out with one camera and one 50mm lens to see what I could find in Portland. I hope to make it a regular series and a regular challenge. I’m calling it 5@50 — that’s five pictures, no cropping allowed, with a 50mm lens.