After shooting the Great Reno Balloon Race this past week, I wondered what goes into ones decision when making your choice of a particular lens you may want to use. We have such a wide variety of lenses to choose from and having some idea can help make your life a little easier.

Whether it’s an ultra-wide lens for the vast expansion, or the compression of a telephoto lens; we have to make a conscious decision on what we want to put in our bags when we go out shooting.  Of course, the subject area in which you’re shooting, time of day or night is such an important part we have to consider as well.

There is no bad answer to lens selection, but we can determine what our images can convey by picking a particular focal length.

The Reno Balloon Race was held at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park. The park’s large meadow and rolling hills gave us the opportunity to walk among the balloons. This was an ideal situation for my ultra-wide lens. I pulled out my Fujifilm 10-24mm 4.0 lens. This gave me the ability to move in close, as the wide angle has a 110 degree angle of view.

As the balloons started to ascend, I then brought out a mid-range telephoto lens. This brought a compressed feel in the images. I used my Fujifilm 56mm 1.2 lens which allowed me to bring objects closer together.

Each lens selection you make is part of a continuous evaluation of your environment, so try and compose as you scan the environment.

As the balloons started to ascend, I kept my two lenses close by and switched them often. The balloons varied in positions, and I would try to keep in mind that the subject’s size will vary. They were continuously on the move, which made it fun to rapidly move among the giant balloons.

Finally, don’t be afraid to bring a few lenses when shooting. You never know what you might come across, and don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone when shooting.

XF 10-24 4.0 R OIS  1/50 f/4.0 ISO3200 @ 10mm


XF 10-24mm 4.0 R OIS  1/60 f/8 ISO 400 @ 21mm
XF 56mm F1.2 R  1/60 f/1.2 ISO 1600
XF 56mm F1.2 R  1/60 f/7 ISO3200
XF 10-24mm 4.0 F4 R OIS   1/250 f/9 ISO 200 @ 16mm
XF 10-24mm F 4 R OIS  1/250 f/5.6 ISO400 @ 10mm
XF 56mm F1.2 R  1/500 f/16 ISO200