Ten days or so ago I posted on Facebook that it was going to be an f/2.8 day (using large apertures) and a strange thing happened — it was quite unexpected actually. What happened was that I found myself handcuffed — unable to shoot. This seemed strange to me because I’ve put restrictions on myself for fun a few times in the past but never an aperture restriction. In the past it was shooting with a specific focal length or deliberately using an extra-high ISO or shooting with a specific theme in mind.
But this aperture restriction was different for me and in retrospect I can see why. It depends on what playground you hang out in. If you are mainly a portrait person, you shoot creative portraits wide open; that’s cool and fun…but it’s easier because there is already some guidance with regard to subject matter. But when you go out ‘just to shoot’ and you’ll shoot just about anything that’s visually interesting, then it gets harder.
For some crazy reason I found myself searching for scenes that I felt were worthy of what f/2.8 can do bokeh wise. I was placing this single aspect of the lens above all else and it was tainting my experience of looking for scenes to shoot. It was slowing me down and sucking from the joy of photography for pure pleasure.
So for this reason — I didn’t like this particular aperture restriction exercise even though I DO like the concept of restriction exercises in general. Maybe it’s also because I feel like I should have been able to overcome the restriction more easily. Truth is, I really didn’t feel like I had anything of value on day 1. Then life gets busy and so I took a few days and waited more patiently for scenes where a large aperture seemed more appropriate. Here are a few that I liked. These were all taken near f/2.8 (I say near because I used a couple of different lenses whose largest apertures were near f/2.8).