by Patrick Flanagan


Thats the angle of view of a 50mm standard lens on a full frame camera. Same as 35 mm film cameras used to be. That number is not by accident. It’s the same angle of view that the naked eye will see.

When I first started photography I fell in love. I used to drool at the Olympus OM1 with a 50 mm lens in the display windows of Etkinds, a main street retail vendor back in the day. I finally got it together and bought one of those jewel like little cameras complete with the 50mm lens.

Imagine my disapointment when I found the 50 was not gong to cut it when it came to surf photography. I need to buy a telephoto. 

That’s when all the trouble started.

Just recently I snared my first full frame camera. A classic ‘vintage’ Canon 5D mark one. The original. 

Big, heavy and slow to muster when it comes to auto focus and motor. But, it has a magnificent sensor that emulates the last generation of film cameras and one that immediately comes to mind, the Nikon F5. It’s totally changed my thinking. First thing I did was buy the Canon 50 f1.8 and its a marriage made in heaven, especially for portraiture. 

So lately, especially on a Saturday mornings, I’ve taken the big fella (with only the 50mm) and headed for the beach to shoot a few interesting faces and even some landscapes along the way.

Using the 50mm is like a discipline. Composing takes longer, but its so much fun. No zoom, so you have to move around a bit to get it right. No weird effects to rely on like you would using an ultra wide angle lens or the deep perspective and bokeh you get from a telephoto. 

Its never going to cut it if your shooting fast action surf, although if you do have it all lined up the results are amazing. I’m sure the later versions of this exceptional camera are even better, but that sensor just does it for me. I’m in love again. 

Mark Lannings portraits inspired me. With his cell phone and in-phone editing software he is able to shoot masterful photographs that capture the essence of the subject.

Click here to check Mark’s work on Beach Culture.