One Camera, One Lens, Many Punks

It was another Punk Night at Black Sparrow Music Parlor in Taylor, TX. Of course I’m gonna be there with camera in hand. Those nasty boys in Worm Suicide were the feature act, with several new-to-me bands sharing the bill. There was oddly a bit of acoustic stuff that was really great. I had a blast enjoying the music and snapping a few photos, even while getting knocked around a bit in a mosh pit.

I’ve been photographing at the Sparrow for quite a while now. I even published a magazine of my work there - hopefully the first of many. This time I decided to do something a little different photographically. I was recently talking with my friend Andy about concert photography since he was making a trip to the Sparrow to photograph some friends in a band. He asked about focal length and after thinking about it, I reckoned I mostly use a 50mm equivalent lens along with a bit of 28mm equivalent. Keep in mind that my camera is a Fujifilm X100F with a fixed 35mm equivalent lens. I’m getting the other focal lengths with adapter lenses screwed onto the filter threads.

It seems odd, even to me, that I rarely use the native focal length of my fixed lens camera for live music. I explained to Andy that a 35mm focal length isn’t tight enough to get close, intimate shots and not really wide enough to grab much of the environment or add interesting distortion. That said, it is kind of a Goldilox focal length - that’s why Fujifilm went with it. With a little work compositionally, it is very versatile. If I could have only one lens for the rest of my life that might well be what I’d choose. Yet, here I am using adapters to get other focal lengths. While 35mm may be “just right”, it often seems so boring.

So, this time out at the Sparrow I challenged myself. There would be no adapting. One camera, one lens - the native non-removable lens on my X100F. I had to see if I could capture some magic with only that. Did it work? Hell yeah it did. I had to change the way I composed shots and where I put myself. My feet were the zoom function. By adjusting my position and distance, I could make that highly versatile focal length look wide or tight. I found a sense of freedom from fretting over whether I should have had the 50mm or 28mm equivalent mounted for that last shot. With gear choices removed, there was only my creativity to guide my compositions. Liberating. Absolutely liberating. The X100F is also so small without the adapter lenses that it practically disappears. Bonus - there is really no need for a camera bag.

I’ve already downsized to my diminutive X100F and conversion lenses from the embarrassing amount of gear I used to own. Will I take it down even further and ditch the conversion lenses? I don’t know - maybe. I know that while choices encourage creativity in some people, it can have the opposite effect on me. Less is more. For now, I think I’ll leave the conversion lenses at home and see how things go. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of being a one camera, one lens kind of guy. The question is whether the X100F really sports the Goldilox lens for me for the long haul.

Some favorites from the night are below. Click ‘em for large views (why wouldn’t you?). Want to see more? Go to my gallery site here.