Despite a recent heat wave, I still find a way to work outside in the evenings.

My outdoor activities this week included walking my dogs, cutting the grass, picking peaches, and, of course, making pictures.

One thing I love to do is take lenses that I might overlook as second-rate, outdated, or even broken, and try to see what they can do for me that is in some way different or creative.

This week that involved making myself use a nice-looking but decidedly outdated Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 “pancake” lens someone gave me last year, and which has remained on a shelf gathering dust since then.

The 50mm focal length is one I have to kind of push to make work for me. As highly as I think of the 50mm - these lenses are usually sharp, lightweight, and cheap - they tend to give very “normal” looking results. That’s why they are sometimes labeled “normal” focal length lenses.

So the trick to getting them to perform is to move. Move in, move out, move up, move down. Zoom with your feet. Get down with your knees. Climb a ladder. I did all of these things to get the 50mm to make the images you see here. It is also probably not very secret that I shot these near sunset.

A couple of notes: be careful. Don’t climb on unsteady stuff. Don’t back off a ledge. And most of all, don’t stay in one place for very long near fields or wildflower - there are a lot of hungry ticks this year, and I picked two off of me as I was making a couple of these photos.

Beautiful images are out there waiting for us. I would invite you to find some new way to capture and express that beauty.

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