Limit yourself and you will grow

Limit yourself and you will grow

 “What a stupid thing to do! I’ve left my wide-angle lens at home and there is a fantastic sunrise over the pier! I only have my 85mm f1.8!”

Unfortunately, this is all too common for the average photographer (even some established professionals!) However prepared we may be, situations arise that will test our patience and skills to the limit! We will never be prepared for what may crop up unexpectedly. What we CAN do is ready ourselves when the time comes, be mentally prepared and make the most of what we have at our disposal.

As a keen photographer you would think I would be prepared for all situations (especially when I know I’m going somewhere!) This is not the case…..There have been two prominent times where my lack of preparation and thought have put me in some very irritating situations.

The first was my trip to Japan in April 2017. I had planned to take the Canon 15-85mm f3.5-5.6. This would have been a fantastic all round lens for Tokyo and the surrounding temples. Guess what?! I forgot to hire it…..(Even though I work in a shop that hires them and I am standing behind them right now!) So, I had to make do with my old Sigma 105mm f2.8, and the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8. Although I am happy with both these lenses (they have served me well) I was kicking myself that I now had two lenses to carry and constantly had to keep changing them round! I had also lost that essential range between 16mm and 105mm making it very hard to take any standard walk around photos.

We don't stock the lenses listed above, (they're a bit too old!) Click on the photos below for some equivalents we have in store. 



Click here for our entire wide angle range!

Click here for our entire macro range!


My next foolish moment was almost on purpose. I had been asked to review one of our Tamron lenses. I chose the 85mm f1.8. No particular reason other than the f1.8 aperture and the possibility of taking some natural portrait shots. I had gone to Brighton to meet up with friends. I wasn’t planning on taking my camera as this was more a relaxed fun pub vibe trip, but I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try out the 85mm f1.8 with no pressure.
When I arrived, there was an absolutely beautiful sunset over the sea, while the starlings were murmuring over the ruins of Brighton pier. The 85mm f1.8 was NOT the lens I needed, so standing there looking at this beautiful scene where a wide-angle lens or even a standard 24-70mm would have been ideal, I had a lens that would only capture a fraction of the action! To say I was frustrated would be an understatement.

There is no use in crying over spilt milk! Or in this case, the perfect lens sitting comfortably at home. Shake it off and move on! While I was standing there mourning the absence of my range of lenses I realised that this would be a great opportunity to think outside the box. A well-known scene, like the temples in Japan or the starlings over the pier would have been shot to death with the same panoramic views. Limiting yourself with lenses that would not be the norm really pushes creative boundaries and drives you out of your comfort zone. Here are some examples of the varied shots I achieved.

(all photos were taken with the Canon 80D)


IMG_8761       IMG_6625

 Limit yourself to a section of the scene. This focuses in on the detail and creates an interesting dynamic.



japan   IMG_6846

I felt particularly frustrated at this particular situation. Both cherry blossom trees were absolutely beautiful and just screamed to be photographed as a whole. The two lenses I had didn't do it justice. One was a macro which focused in too close and the other was a wide-angle which didn't zoom in far enough! Instead, I shook off the disappointment I felt and decided to focus in on the people. I feel that both photos are quite successful as the subjects give the photos an extra boost and creates a different story as opposed to a single tree. (I would have liked to take a photo of the tree with the lens I forgot) but testing yourself in different situations and being prepared for the unexpected readies you for difficult events and teaches you to find detail. It also means I just have to go back to Japan again. (What a shame!)




I particularly like this shot which came from the Tamron 85mm f1.8. I did not have the option of zooming out to capture the full effect of the murmur, but what I did manage was a beautiful pattern against a stunning sky. I love the way you can pick out each individual bird and I never would have though about this type of shot, if I hadn't limited myself.



IMG_8832    IMG_8791


Because I had the one lens (generally a lens one would never take to a starling murmur over the sea!) I started looking around for a different view. Being limited gave me the opportunity to take interesting photos that wasn't the main attraction. Sometimes a scene is shot to death, so looking around at the not so obvious produces some great results. I particularly like the gentleman on his own staring up at the sky. He creates a sense of calm and stillness.



IMG_6860     IMG_6872

Finally, make the most of what you have. Originally I wasn't going to take a wide-angle lens to Japan, but (as you already know the story) I did and made the most of it, creating photos that I would never have achieved otherwise.

Although both my stories were by accident, I would advise anyone to limit themselves every once in a while. You learn, grow and your photography skills will develop.

Go on, be brave and LIMIT YOURSELF.

Posted by Alice Hewitt
18th February 2019

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