OK - I'll gladly admit that I am a frantic lens collector.
Currently there are 10 lenses in my bag, covering a range from 14mm to 896mm in focal length. Most of those are either Canon L lenses or precious Zeiss optics.
Having all those lenses in the bag and at hand is both comforting and satisfying. I know that I've got a lens for every purpose and every task that I might have to deal with.
Yet - there is a problem.
Each lens has it's own character, strength and weaknesses - and each lens is built for a specific purpose, less suited for tasks not related to that purpose.
Having all those lenses means that I have to know the character, the strength, sweet spots and weakness of every single lens in order to get the most out of my investment.
In time, most of us tend to pick few favorites, one or two lenses, which cover the most part of our shooting. In most cases those favorites are general purpose, walk around zoom lenses that more or less cover 80 - 90% of our photographic activities. We know all there is to know about these workhorses and exploiding them to their limits.
The other ones, not falling in the the group of "workhorses" tend to spend most of their time in the dark corners of the camera bag or as mantel pieces, only rarely given the opportunity to show their merits.
The problem is that when we suddenly find the urge to take those lenses out to the light, we may not be familiar with their real merits, their strengths and weaknesses, and thus not able to use them to their utmost capabilities. The result can easily be a bit of a dissatisfaction and a tour to the dark corners of the camera bag.
Fortunately - there is a solution to the problem.
I even got a name for this solution:
"Walking the lens"
Being well aware of that problem, I have found my personal solution, a simple and effective one.
I try to use Saturday or Sunday mornings ( or weekdays afternoons ) for a healthy stroll in my neighborhood. While doing that, I take along my camera with one lens - and one lens only. The lens of choice each time will be the one that I am least familiar with and may have spent the longest time in the dark corner of my camera bag. The purpose is not bringing home my masterpiece, but to force myself to work with that particular lens, trying my skills in shooting different subjects with that lens, and gradually finding out where it shines, and where it can not do me any good.
By doing that, I not only learn a lot about the technical aspects of each lens - it gives my a great opportunity to look at familiar objects in a new and different way which I might not have done if my "workhorses" had been brought along.
And finally, by this way I know a lot more about those "idle glasses" when they are really needed in the struggle to bring home the "masterpiece.
Walking the EF 135mm f/2 L USM: