Apparently I mostly shoot wide

Heard about Jeffrey Friedl’s lens focal length plot plugin for Lightroom and decided to check it out.  Here’s what it produced from my entire library.

Apparently I mostly shoot wide
Apparently I mostly shoot wide

Nearly 60% of my photos are in the wide to short telephoto range and nearly 40% is exclusively wide.  Now, I do have SOME photos from others in my Lightroom catalog, but not enough to skew the results.  I would say the reason for the huge concentration of photos in the 33-82mm range comes from the kit lens and its equivalent focal length USM version that I shoot a lot of photos with.  The large concentration around the 308-330mm range comes from the 1.6x crop factor of my XT and XTi on the Tamron 55-200mm I use for wildlife photography.

I’m shocked that I have so many photos at the wide end in the sense that I wouldn’t have guessed that if you’d asked me.  But, at the same time, I’m not surprised in that it was the only range I had for a while, a lot of indoor photography needs to be on the wide side, and now I’m also experimenting with wide angle shots.

I am very surprised that a full 10% of the photos were taken with a prime lens.  It was a while before I got my 50mm macro lens and I only got my 50mm f/1.8 this summer.  But I guess, like everyone else, I really like the properties of the 50mm lenses (even if they have more of a field of view of 80mm on my XT and XTi).

Unsurprisingly, I spend nearly 50% of the time either on the most wide or most telephoto end of my lens.  This makes sense because of the way I do photography – I tend to either want to be really close up or really far away.  So I either want to be as wide or telephoto as possible.  This is one of the reasons so many people end up recommending primes.  Not only do they (on average) have better optical qualities than a zoom lens, but most people spend most of their time at one focal length of their zoom anyway.  So why not just go for a prime and get the best out of it?

If you have Lightroom, you should definitely install this plugin and see what it tells you about your photographic style.

Blog Review: Jeffrey Friedl’s Blog

Jeffrey Friedl and I share a few similarities: we both are computer programmers, love photography, and enjoy blogging. Unlike me, however, Jeff is an expat living in Japan. Also unlike me, he has a great photo blog. Jeff documents his travels throughout the islands of Japan as well as his daily life in his blog.  Ocassionally, he also blogs about technical issues or new tech toys he bought or new Adobe Lightroom Plugins he has developed.

Jeff begins nearly every post with a photo that captures the essence of his topic. Just as important as choosing a captivating starting sentence for a text essay, this first photo in the photo essay sets the mood for the following photos and text. Depending upon the subjet matter, Friedl sometimes has more prose than photography or the opposite.  Sometimes the posts are long and you could imagine them taking up a few pages in Time Magazine. Other times they’re just the tiniest snippet to let you know what’s going with his life. No matter how long it is, I’m always left longing for more.

As Jeff explained in his post about writing the blog, he often spends hours on a post including doing some research on the area. This effort is not in vain as it truly comes out in the quality of the writing. You often end up learning a lot of little details about the areas Jeff is visiting.  Jeff’s writing style is extremely accessible. It’s about halfway between a casual blog post and an officially written travel book. There’s also a documentary feel to the blog – as if you’re reading a documentary put together by PBS or the BBC about an American living in Japan. (Like a really classy reality TV show (do those exist?)) As you read more and more, you start to feel as though you know Jeff and his family and would be comfortable inviting them over for dinner.

What attracted me to Jeff’s blog in the first place was a bit of research I was doing on geo-tagging my photos. (You can see the results of my first geo-tagging outing here) Jeff geo-tags nearly every photo he places on the site. This is one of the great ways that technology is changing the way things are done. In the distant past you might read a travelogue by some famous photographer in a book. Closer in the past you might read someone’s blog with pictures. Both give you a sense of traveling together with the author, but with geo-tagging you truly get a sense of where the author is in space. It was one thing, for example, for Jeff to say in this post that he was just off the coast of Taiwan. It’s another thing to see this map of where he took the photo and then zoom out and see just how close Taiwan was (294 km!) – AND just how far the main islands of Japan were!

So, should you read Jeff’s blog and add it to your RSS aggregator? Just ask yourself these simple questions – 1) Does Japan and Japanese culture interest you? 2) Do you like travel books/travel blogs? 3) Do you enjoy great photography?  If you answered ‘yes’ to those questions, definitely check out Jeff’s blog. Personally, I think with just a tiny bit of cleanup for the change of format, Jeff could republish the blog in book form and probably do well via word of mouth. So go read it for free and enjoy it!