I know a few things. Along the road of life, I’ve done a bit of reading and studying. Like many writers, I’m a generalist. I know about this, that, and the other thing. A good deal about some stuff, a little something about lots of stuff. Which makes me highly competitive at Trivial Pursuits. All that random knowledge ought to be good for something.

Heritage Lights 13

I’m an expert at just one thing: me. I know my body. The strange way it works. I know what I like. I’m good at knowing what I would like, given an opportunity.

To illustrate my point, this is the story of a lens I bought — and why I’m passing it to another photographer who hopefully will get more use of it than I have. Call this: Photographer, Know Thyself.

In November 2013, I bought the Panasonic Lumix G H-H020 20mm f/1.7 Aspherical Pancake Lens for Micro Four Thirds. I used it once, to shoot a “lighting” at a museum the next month of December.

Heritage Lights 30

That set of photographs are among the best night shots I’ve ever taken. The Panny 20, as it is fondly called, is a sharp, fast prime lens. Slightly wide-angle. Perfect for people who like to do street scenes, especially at night. It was the first lens recommended to me after I got my Olympus PEN E-PL1, I think (not sure) in 2011. Close enough. 

The Panny was already available. Everyone who used a 4/3 format camera said I should buy it. It was then (still) quite expensive (it’s not cheap now). Especially for me. I was even more broke five years ago than I am today, which is saying something.

Its praises were sung. I resisted. There were fewer lenses available in 4/3 format back then; this one had a great reputation. Except — I didn’t think I’d use it. At 20mm (effective 40mm), it’s not a perspective of which I’m fond. It’s not flattering as a portrait lens. Not unflattering, but not the lens you’d grab to take some fun candid snaps of your friends or dogs.

Dancing in the dark heritage museum

I don’t do much street shooting. Mostly, I shoot landscapes and casual portraits. I didn’t feel this lens would be the one I’d reach for as I headed out the door. I like longer lenses for portraits and wider ones for landscapes.

Eventually, I gave in. I bought it. Used it once. Since then, it has lived in a padded pouch, ready to go. Always the lens I think I might use, but never do. For “normal,” I use my Olympus f1.8 25mm. If I’m going out and don’t know what I’m going to shoot, I take a camera with a long zoom so I’m ready for whatever pops up. At home, my favorite lenses are the Olympus 12-50mm (macro), the f1.8 45mm, and the f2.8 60mm macro.

What I learned? If I think something won’t suit me, it won’t. No matter what anyone else thinks. I’ve lived long enough to be know what I suits me. I’m not a newbie testing the waters. As a photographer for almost 50 years, I know the types of pictures I take.  I’m not particularly thrilled by “normal” lenses in the 40 to 55mm range. I never was, even back in the dark ages when I was a newbie photographer.

Heritage lights 58

Unless you’re just starting out in whatever, trust your instincts. Save your money for things you will love. Whether photography equipment, computers, food, clothing, or a vacation … go with your gut. Leroy Jethro Gibbs always does … and we know he is always right.

Where you are concerned, there is no better expert than yourself.


Categories: Cameras, night, Optics, Photography

Tags: , , , , , ,

22 replies

  1. Haven’t used micro third yet. Not available commercially here


    • The micro 4/3 format is a smaller form, mirrorless camera produced by Olympus and Panasonic, both of which market heavily in Asia. These are the most popular cameras in Japan and at this point, possibly the world. I doubt there’s anyplace where it isn’t available if cameras are sold there. Anyway, itt’s not a micro third. It’s called a mirrorless 4/3 format and it hasn’t been a new format for a long time. There are many mirrorless cameras, and not all are 4/3 format … but all the mirrorless cameras are of similar size and weight and every single camera manufacturer makes at least a few of them, so I’m sure you can find them. Including used.

      Liked by 1 person

      • In India it’s only Sony who’s selling mirror-less. players like Fuji, Olympus are hardly present or available -never seen in any store and no advertisement either in India. The market is dominated by Nikon and Canon DSLR at the moment!


        • Both Canon and Nikon have a version of a mirrorless camera, but neither is well-regarded or popular. Sony’s however has an excellent reputation and I think they use Zeiss lenses — which are top notch. I know that India is huge, but if you travel much and you ever get to Hong Kong, that would be THE place to shop. I’m surprised to hear this. The market has changed a lot elsewhere and Canon and Nikon are no longer the dominant companies they were in years past. It will get to you too, eventually, but it must be frustrating. See if you like the Sony.


  2. Such wonderful night photos. I like your take on this prompt too- it’s good to know ones self!


  3. Great photos but I do understand about knowing what you will and won’t use. 🙂 Now for the big question, who is going to assist Leroy Jethro Gibbs in the new season? 🙂


  4. Your photos are fantastic. A lesson learnt for all of us. I loved Trivial Pursuit. When I was on night shift as a nurse we always played it – I always won. Then they wouldn’t play with me. Then I played with my uncle who always won too. He worked in the local newspaper and was so up with all the news and stats. I won. It wasn’t a pretty sight to see a grown man act like a baby on not getting his own way. Needless to say I was never allowed to play with him again.


    • Some people are just bad losers. Usually, though, they are VERY good winners.

      Thank you 🙂

      If I had taken my own advice, I would have saved many thousands of dollars over the years. All the shoes, dresses, gadgets, lenses, appliances I bought on the advice of others — and against my own better advice. That’s probably one of the few really good parts of being older: you learn to say “no” and make it stick!

      Those of us who collect information make great Trivial Pursuit players. Then, just as we hit our stride, those sore losers refuse to play. But WE know we are the real winners 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Those photos are fantastic, the lights pop at you. I am afraid I am a learning by doing type, and at the moment am doing too much too often. Wish my hands would not shake so much when I am taking my photos, but I am not putting up the tripod for every little shot I want.


    • Thank you!

      I never took a lesson in photography or writing either. I learn by doing, but even more, by copying. I see what others do and then try to figure out how they did that. And then, I copy it.

      I have a great tripod which I never use. Too slow. I don’t have the patience, but a lot of pictures don’t come out because I’m not able to hold the camera steady. I think we all shake as we get older. I’m amazed at how steady I was when I was young. Where did that girl go?


  6. Nobody will play Trivial Pursuit with me. I don’t know why.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We could make a team. With me for miscellaneous and Garry for sports (I think he memorized all the stats for all teams since the beginning of professional sports) and his encyclopedic knowledge of movie. No one will play with us, either. I have NO idea why 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great night photos, Marilyn and very good advice, thanks.


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