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Know when enough is enough

Specialty lenses are just that – special. To be used on those rare, special occasions which demand a particular lens. They’re just another tool in the toolbox. Not a main tool (like a saw or hammer) but rather a tool used infrequently to accomplish a very specific task (like an edge chisel).

The challenge is to know when you’ve used that edge chisel enough and need to put it back in the tool box lest it get overused.

Each year there’s a balloon rally in nearby Prosser, Washington. It’s a very visual event – balloons launching at sunrise and drifting with the wind over the Yakima River and nearby vineyards.

At the suggestion of YH-R photographer Andy Sawyer I borrowed an 8-15 mm fisheye lens from Canon Professional Services. The extra-wide angle field of view would allow me to offer a new photographic perspective balloons.

My first photo of the day with the lens:

Hot-air balloons soar over Prosser, Wash. Sept. 28, 2012 during the 23rd annual Great Prosser Balloon Rally. About 20 ballons flew over the Prosser area Friday with 27 balloons scheduled to take part in the Sept. 28-30 event. (GORDON KING/Yakima Herald-Republc)

 

Notice the curved horizon? That’s what you get with a fisheye lens.

Another photo:

Hot-air balloons soar over Prosser, Wash. Sept. 28, 2012 during the 23rd annual Great Prosser Balloon Rally. About 20 ballons flew over the Prosser area Friday with 27 balloons scheduled to take part in the Sept. 28-30 event. (GORDON KING/Yakima Herald-Republic)

I really liked getting all the balloons into the photo, including the one in which I was riding, but the curved horizon is still there and getting a bit tiresome by this time (but that didn’t stop me from taking a bunch more photos with curved horizons to use in the online gallery).

By zooming the lens out to 15 mm  I was able to minimize the curved horizon effect and got this photo:

Hot-air balloons soar over Prosser, Wash. Sept. 28, 2012 during the 23rd annual Great Prosser Balloon Rally. About 20 ballons flew over the Prosser area Friday with 27 balloons scheduled to take part in the Sept. 28-30 event. (GORDON KING/Yakima Herald-Republic)

This was our lead photo in the next day’s paper.

So, early on I realized that one or two photos with the curved horizon/fisheye effect were enough for our print readers. But, just to justify the cost of FedExing the lens back to Canon Professional Services, I put a lot of super wide-angle, fisheye effect photos in the online gallery.

Just remember when to say when, when enough is enough and when to go back to using a standard tool.

–Gordon King

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