flickr tells me that it’s been almost exactly six months since we were last at the Birch Aquarium (June 2008) and prior to that, eight months (October 2007), which implies that a yearly membership may not be financially justified (especially if they keep up these secret deals — first Sunday of the month free to Bank of America customers?). Regardless of visit frequency, it’s less about the undersea wonders that await (I suspect that their old octopus must have gone to see the Great Cephalapod of the Sky, as the current resident of that tank is significantly smaller) than it is about photographic philosophy.
You see, when I took pictures six months ago, figgy was interested but not fascinated by the sea’s residents and animals in general, and the pictures bear it out — I’ve got photographs of fish and atmospheric lobster shots (okay, shot) but relatively few pictures of figgy, who spent most of the day in a stroller or strapped to my chest like some sort of two-headed beast out of Total Recall. This time, there are fewer fish shots — and virtually no shots sans people, in general. I chalk part of it up to not knowing where we would end up prior to setting off, and thus neglecting to bring along a fast lens, but I ended up being glad I hadn’t — I’ll see the fish at other times, and they’ll still be fascinating. But watching a twenty-month-old figgy laughing at how that silvery river swirls — that’s something that happens, well, once.
So the lens, for all the lenses I have access to (on the Nikon adapter, 15, 24, 35, 50, 55, 85, 105, 180, 300, 400, 600, 80~200, and 100~300mm; on the Leica R adapter, 35, 50, and 60 — it was no joke when I said most of my grad school stipend went up in glass costs), the lens that lives most often on the camera and the lens that consequently has borne the brunt of my photographic ambitions for the past sixty days or so, is an autofocus zoom lens, with no distinguishing characteristic (e.g. marketing-speak for special glass, motors, coatings, heritage, etc.) aside from a few aspherical surfaces: the Zuiko Digital 11~22mm f/2.8~3.5, which roughly corresponds to being a 22~44mm angle of view on a regular 35mm film camera. It’s what I had today; I found myself increasingly drawn to watching figgy’s reactions to the fish, rather than the fish themselves, and a (relatively) fast wide-angle proved perfect for that. I still wish I had a bit more speed, but anything wider wouldn’t have the same spread in focal length, and thus wouldn’t be quite as useful for me. And with that said, I find myself rarely venturing much wider than equivalent f=28mm, so … stay tuned.