On one drizzly evening, I decided to go on a photo walk on the beach and only shoot square format photographs with my 50mm prime lens set to f/1.8 and my camera set to the “Camera Graphite” profile, a high contrast b&w profile. This way I forced myself to do the following things:
- constantly mind the shallow DoF
- accept the fact that I would almost always blow out the whites or crush the blacks due to the high contrast nature of the profile.
- get used to the fact that in monochrome photography, it is no problem if larger areas of the photograph don’t hold any detail at all.
- look for subjects that work in a 50mm field of view in square format.
- use the consequences of the above notions to my advantage by composing accordingly.
Limitation is liberation
Even though this sounds like a quite thoughtful way of shooting, it really was not. On the contrary, what can be perceived as limitations that make the process harder, is on the other hand reduction of countless more options which would have made the process more complicated. In short, I had a blast shooting in a surprisingly spontaneous and playful way.
The camera can make a difference
I will, however, not deny the fact that this playfulness was greatly facilitated by my camera, the Nikon Z6. Being a mirrorless system, it allowed me to see the outcome before pressing the shutter. The Nikon Z systems also allow me to configure exposure compensation to a ring on the lens which made adjusting the exposure incredibly intuitive. No fumbling around with buttons, just turning the ring – a fantastic way of working which quickly becomes second nature.
So, without further ado, here are my results. Of course, they don’t redefine photography. But they surely are a document of the fun I had and of the benefits of limitations in photography.