Walk Around Lens for New York City

Posted by on Apr 4, 2013 in Cameras and Lenses, Places

New York is so nice they had to name it twice (so says Nina Hagen). I love walking around in New York City. Everywhere you go there's something interesting to see. And photograph. For a trip to Manhattan last month, I took just one walk around lens. The large image below and the other interior shots are of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). I like to imagine that the women with red hair is Scarlet Johansson, waiting for me to take her to lunch. The last image is the base of one of the twin towers -- now a beautiful water sculpture -- at the 911 Memorial. That's me in central park shooting with the gear described below. Almost looks like a point-and-shoot camera, doesn't it? I actually missed my train and ended up staying an extra night and day. Had to go to my cousin's house north of the city and come back into the city the following day. But that's why I got to go to MoMA and Central Park. While walking around I saw a sign on the door that said Jay Maisel. There was a young man with a camera locking up for the night. I asked him if this was the Jay Maisel and he said yes.

My New Favorite Walk Around Lens

When photographers talk about their favorite "walk around lens" they are referring to a good general purpose lens they use for, well, walking around. Often it's a zoom with a lot of range, or it's a particularly light weight lens for comfort. For me, my favorite walk around lens depends on where I am, what kinds of pictures I want to take, and some practical considerations. For walking in New York City on this trip, I brought just one camera (my trusty old Canon 5D MK2) and one lens (the new Canon 40mm f/2.8 pancake). I limited myself to this combination for practical reasons (lighter weight and less conspicuous than the ton of gear I usually haul around), but shooting all day using just one fixed focal length lens (as opposed to a zoom) is a great way to spark creativity. When I can't zoom, I "see" differently. I look for scenes that best suits my lens and think about interesting ways to capture them. This self-imposed restriction helps hone my vision and frees me from feeling like I need to photograph everything in sight. Give it a try. Have fun!

Picture of a woman with red hair at MoMA taken with a walk around lens

Click an image above to see a larger picture