I at one time was a victim of a terrible affliction which many photographers get when they buy a new high speed lens. Fast glass is what so many of us aspire to. We spend months leading up to the purchase explaining to our significant others why spending thousands of dollars on a proper lens is necessary. Well I don’t have to because my lady is pretty cool, but the point is it’s a huge financial investment. It is arguably the most valuable investment in your camera bag.
So we save up and open up that beautiful golden box. It shines like a diamond ring, for which I would have no experience looking at. We get lost in those beautiful numbers… 1.4, 2.8. It’s a beautiful thing. What do we do for the next few months? Shoot everything as low aperture as possible. Why not? We want that beautifully blurred background and razor sharp subject. What’s the point of owning a Ferrari if you don’t drive it to the max right? Well like a Ferrari an aperture should not be driven at the fastest speed at all times.
I made this mistake for a while. I got a great lens and immediately shot everything at 1.4 or 1.8. It worked amazingly well for some photos, but I got caught up in it and some photos suffered. In some cases I would have blurry subjects because the intense depth of field focused on the closer subject. I quickly learned that is a power to be harnessed carefully, and not whenever possible. It should be used selectively to creative a very specific vision.
It’s one of those mistakes you look back on and cringe wishing you could tell your past self “don’t do it!” But like photographs, we develop from our negatives. Long exposure short (my attempt at being clever with wordplay) enjoy that new lens, but don’t get overexcited by how low it can go.