Setting out to visit the Murphy Auto Museum in Oxnard, CA, I thought I would shoot exclusively with the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens, but at the last minute I decided to throw the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 into my jacket pocket, and I’m glad I did. For one thing, I’ve never gotten the hang of working with wide-angle lenses. For another, the museum is a labor of love, devoted to the cars, not necessarily to their display. It’s a warehouse space, jammed full with beautiful old cars, tons of period bric-a-brac, explanatory placards, and all contained within half-painted walls. And all of it lit with huge banks of fluorescent tubes.
Processing the images at home, I saw that 90% of my favorites were shot with the 50. As a teenage photographer, I often had only the 50mm lens that came with my camera, and longed to own super-wide and telephoto lenses. Well, now I own all sorts of lenses, but it’s crazy how often the inexpensive, light-weight 50 is just right for the task at hand. My tip to you: get one and keep it near.