I bought a new fish-eye lens for my camera mid-day this Sunday. It was just one of those fancy body caps made by Olympus that double as manual lenses. It’s got glass in the middle, yeah, but it’s got no auto-focus and not even aperture control, so it’s perpetually stuck at f8.0. But before you say bummer, let me say that it only set me back 75 quid. How else can I mount a fish-eye in a system camera for 75 quid? I’ll let go of autofocus anytime, for 75 quid. This is back to basics photography, only with an unusual perspective.
So with fingers itching and eager to play with the new “toy”, I decided to take it for a field test. And the target? Cambridge. Just 1 hour away from London, it was within easy reach. It was a perfect day for taking some snaps too. The sky was blue – a rarity in England – and so I didn’t let the chance pass. And so I bought myself a round trip ticket for 16 quid, and hopped on the next train from Kings Cross. Neat.
Cambridge, so called as it sits on the banks of the river cam, is known the world over as the A-list university town. It houses some of the world’s best schools, and any CV indicating one is a graduate from any of the universities here would make that piece of paper heavier than the paperweight sitting on top of it.
Yet Cambridge has more to offer, than just the weight of the diplomas that come from it. It looks very pretty, a postcard perfect sample of an old English town. Old buildings line the streets in the town center, blending in perfectly with the impressive architecture of the schools around it. And then there’s the river Cam, meandering calmly at the backs of the universities. One of the highlights for visitors in Cambridge is “punting” – rafting along the river Cam with a boatman, much like the Venetian gondolas, but the boatmen here don’t sing.
And how about the field test? The cheap little lens did not disappoint…in fact it was very, very far from any possibility of disappointing me. I had so much fun with it, in fact I don’t recall having this much fun taking pictures before. It’s my first fish-eye lens, and the ability to use the fish-eye perspective thrilled me to the core. Add to that the weather that stayed cooperative throughout, and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
* Photos taken February 2016