The Ricoh GRD’s 28mm: Prison or freedom?

Life is full or paradoxes, things that appear so counter intuitive that you would bet against them. One of them is limitation creativity, the idea that the more limited you are in your choices, the more creative you will be. Give your brain restraints and it will work it's way around it.
The best example of limitation creativity in art is Rembrandt who use only a limited palette of non primary colors to make his masterpieces. The best example in photography is the whole “One camera, one lens” thing. It works because instead of doing to straightforward thing (Stay where you are, zoom in or change lenses) it forces your brain to come up with a creative solution to the problem (how can I shoot a portrait at 28mm, without blurring the background?).
The GRD IV's 28mm cannot do the bokeh dance (except in macro), and you know what? I should have started with it in the first place instead of relying on shallow depth of field to get me out of every situation. The 28mm is a focal length close to the human field of view, and what I like with it (and the fact that you can't blur the background that much) is that it FORCES you to always be conscious of your background. That's where you have to come up with different perspectives, leading line and other to get you out of a situation.
Plus it forces you to get close. I've personally never found the 28mm limiting because it forces me to find a solution to a problem. I used to be a 50mm but it changed my way of seeing completely. It forced me not to take pictures of isolated subjects (“a tree”, “a leaf”, “a car”) but try to make the subject work with it's background.

I've grown exponentially when I stopped thinking “blurry background” and started thinking “how do I make this work”, something that the GRD excels at, well, because there are no alternatives: Can't zoom, can't blur. The straightforward solution being absent (1.8 and it's g8!) creativity starts flowing (lower angle to hide bushes? Make the road converge to her face? How to draw the eye?) It's freeing, believe it or not……if we could fly, nobody would have invented airplanes, no?

Making the most of your camera
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4 thoughts on “The Ricoh GRD’s 28mm: Prison or freedom?”

  1. Pingback: Confessions of an Ex Gear Addict

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