What I learnt (about lenses) from going to protests

I mean, photographically. Both the country I live in (US), and the country I was born in (Romania) are going through tension and difficult times, so you can imagine there is already too much politics in my life. This blog belongs to my photographic journey alone, and I wanted to share my experience as a photographer at the Women’s March in Dallas.

I left with by Fujifilm X-T1 and two lenses: xf35mm 1.4 (50mm in full frame) and xf14mm 2.8. (21mm in full frame), plus my Fujifilm x100S (23mm 1.8, which is 35mm in full frame). Changing lenses for me is a pain, because I tend to be sloppy with technology, but I can’t work with zoom lenses. That being said, I started with the 35mm (50mm) attached, because it is a new lens and I was quite excited to try it out at an event. I didn’t feel I could capture the energy of the protest with that lens. I changed to the wide angle and took some captures before the group started marching. These are some of my favorite images.

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When we started marching, I changed back to the 35mm (50mm), with the thought I’ll try to make some portraits. I ended up with some good captures, but I don’t feel about these images as strong as I feel about the wide angle ones.

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The lesson I learnt from this experience is that for me, a wide angle is the perfect lens for situations with large groups of people, where I need to convey tension, energy, action. Maybe 14mm is too wide, and I guess the xf16mm would had been the perfect lens here (this will probably be my next purchase). For documentary purposes, the 35mm (50mm) served me well, but I find the images flat and boring.

X100s (23/35mm) was ok, but still not wide enough. Better than the 35/50mm, but I didn’t get to use it that much.

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What do you think? Which set do you prefer from above, and what do you use for similar situations?

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