The Random Game

Fess up, you have a dozen lenses in your gear closet. You don't know why. 

If so, then I have the game for you: random lens choice.

  1. Plan some photo sessions for the future. The number of photo sessions should equal the number of lenses you own. Moreover, the sessions should be specific as to where/what you'll be photographing. Write each session down on a calendar.
  2. Go through your gear closet and write down each lens you own on a separate 3x5 (index) card. One lens per card.
  3. Put all the cards in an opaque bag or bowl and shuffle them up.
  4. Pull out a card.
  5. For your next photo session, only use that lens. No cheating: you can't change your session to reflect what lens you picked in the previous step. If your next photo experience was going to be a day at the zoo and you picked the 26mm f/2.8 out of the bag, you're going to discover why you have that lens (hint: it won't be about animal closeups). 
  6. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 until you've finished all your planned photo sessions.

This game is good for two reasons.

First, I made you schedule a bunch of photo sessions ;~). There's nothing like actually doing it. Just owning gear that sits in a closet doesn't make you a photographer. You know what does? Taking photos! Santa Claus tells me that some of you are getting lazy in this regard and that I should scheduling you for a lump of coal in the future. Or was it the Easter Bunny? I getting old and senile so I can't keep the creatures of my imagination straight all the time. 

Regardless, you get better at things by practicing. At least if you're paying attention. And I'm pretty sure Step 6 will make you pay some attention.

Second, since you had to pay attention, after each photo session you're going to have a lot more appreciation for what each lens you own can and can't do. What worked and what didn't. How the lens made you think about your subjects and your relationship to them. 

Also posted in Technique/Improving the photographer

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