Posted by & filed under Travel Photography.

Last week, I went backpacking in a gorgeous spot just south-east of Portland. I’d seen photos of it online, and it looked amazing. But I didn’t want to add another six pounds of camera and lenses to my already-heavy backpack.

So I opted for one of my favorite lenses. Really, everyone should have one of these. It’s the 50mm 1.8 lens — and it’s tiny.

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So little on the front of my camera!

If you’ve never tried out a 50mm fixed-focal-length lens, you should. Lovingly known as the “nifty fifty,” it doesn’t zoom, so you have to use your feet if you want to get closer to or farther from your subject. But that often forces you to be creative and find interesting angles.

Here’s why I love this lens so much:

  • It’s great for portraits because it doesn’t distort faces like wider-angle or telephoto lenses do.
  • It has the ability to shoot “wide open,” meaning it lets in a lot of light — which helps in dark situations.
  • Shooting “wide open” also means you can easily blur the background.
  • Since it’s small, it’s less intimidating to photo subjects than a huge lens.
  • As lenses go, it’s pretty cheap — around $200 new, or $70 used from a place like B&H.

Here are a couple of photos I took with my “nifty fifty” to go with this month’s “Active Lifestyle” Challenge theme.

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