There aren’t many focal lengths that can claim to be as versatile as 50mm (except, of course, for 35mm, but that’s a story for another time).
On a nice November afternoon (last day at home before heading back to Ireland) I went for a 50mm walk (the lens, not the walk). Lucky for me, they had just finished working on the square in front of the Military Academy and I had the perfect chance to go check it out.
There used to be a car park in the square before, and now they completely opened it and forbidden the access to cars.
After spending a good hour and a half just shooting the square, I moved to other parts of the city centre. My 50mm remained solidly mounted on my camera. Even though my lens is old, and battered, and noisy, and the autofocus doesn’t work that well, and the focus ring seems to be held together by glue (seriously, you should try using it) I still love it. After a while you can frame your shots without even looking through the viewfinder. You set your aperture and you know exactly what is going to be in focus and what is going to be completely unrecognizable. Set the aperture wide open and you can shoot in almost complete darkness (and get a wonderful bokeh, while you’re at that).
In the past 6-8 months my fifty has been my main lens, and it was rarely changed on my camera. It was some kind of love: I shoot with other lenses, but I always come back to it…
Just before evening, I ended up in the main square, by the cathedral. I just spent the rest of my afternoon there.
Good day! I also managed to get a few lights and colours:
In conclusion, yeah, 50mm is a great focal length to photograph the streets and people. It allows you to be close, but not too close. It’s great if you, like me, are too shy to get very close to people you don’t know.
All things considered, it was a great day, and I found myself wondering whether my town would miss me when I’m gone…
That’s when I found this:
You shouldn’t forget, that even if a 50mm allows you to stand a little farther from your subject, you still have to be careful not to stand out too much…