My photo
... is a freelance photographer working in Middle Georgia

Thursday, December 29, 2011

An Overlooked Lens

Deborah and I kept Zoey this afternoon. She had on a shirt with the message "I Am Ready For My Closeup" so I had to do some new pictures. She was on the couch with Deborah, they were playing, having a big ole time so I grabbed the camera. I dug out my old 50f1.8 Nikkor lens last week and decided to shoot with it.

THis is the original Nikon kit lens. Back in the day, if you bought a Nikon body with a "normal" lens, this was it.  A really fast lens compared to today's kit lenses, Usually you get a short zoom that covers the 50mm lens, but it at least an f3.5. Can hurt if you want to shoot in low light.

These were shot in our living room, a pretty dark room. ISO 1600, at f2.8 and around 30th of a second.
On the digital camera the 50 is about a 70mm when you figure in the 1.5 magnification factor. Makes a handy piece of glass. Great for low light, great for blowing out the background.  If I had used the 28mm, I would have had close to the lens speed, but even wide open a lot more background. Plus with these the compression was kinda nice. 

I had forgotten about this old lens, it has spent most of its life unused sitting on a shelf. My friend and fellow Nikon shooter Erica Lewis had emailed me a while back looking for a 50F1.4. After talking with her I decided to find my 50 and give it a try. It is going in my bag.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Food With A 28mm

I usually use a longer lens for food photography. Like doing portraits, they are supposed to give a more pleasing image than a wide angle. Like anything else with a wide angle, you need to get in close, and watch the distortion. Backgrounds are more important due to the extra depth of field. Composition is composition, regardless of subject or lens choice.

The top photo needed the extra depth to make this image work. The chip poised halfway between savory sauce and anticipating palate. A longer lens would have thrown the bowl a bit more out of focus, plus I could not have held the chip and shot the picture this close with much of anything else. Wider than 28mm would have been too wide.

The bottom photo really illustrates my life-time love affair with a good wide angle.  You can get in close, use the exaggerated perspective to put emphasis on one part of the photo. In this case your eye goes to the taco ingredients while you still take in the overall textures, get a good look at the burrito and the rice.

Your focal point will almost always be an element that is nearest the camera, you have to slide around til you get it where you want it.  Shapes and lines in the image can help draw the viewers eye. I guess that years of telling a story with one photo for a newspaper have led me to see this way.  

And again I must say that a good 28mmf2.8 is a great addition to your gear. It is fast, focuses really close, and is very lightweight. A great one lens to have on when you want to travel light. Just remember, you have to get really tight most of the time. 

But what image can't be made better by just getting a little closer?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Check That Camera Strap-NOW

Most of us take pretty good care of our camera gear. Keep our lenses clean and secure, regularly clean our sensors, do all the regular maintenance. The one thing that we so often neglect is about the cheapest piece of gear we buy. But it is so important. And too often we don't realize how important it is until it fails us.
Check your camera straps, and often.

I have, or had two Nikon straps that had two swivels located near the camera body. Great idea, especially with a heavy camera and lens combo. Last night, my D200 with the 70-200f2.8 zoom fell to the ground. My strap failed me. Luckily no damage done. 

The strap has some age on it, and the whole where the tab on the swivel fits through had worn enough that it just pulled out. No breakage, just slipped out of the hole. This camera and lens does have some heft to them.
I regularly check ny straps and also the lugs on the camera. Straps really wear at this location. Never occurred to me that I should be checking those swivels.

Anyway, I was very fortunate not to be sending a camera and lens off for repair this morning. So, go check you camera straps.  Don't take any chances. Keep them clean, and untangled. 

Merry Christmas to you all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Try A Little Motion

A friend asked how I shot photos that show movement like the two images here. The secret is to use the combination of slow shutter speed to get movement and a flash to stop part of the action. Use your camera meter to find a workable shutter speed that will cause the subject to blur. The top photo was 1/13 second. I metered to see what lens aperture would be correct for the shutter speed in the room light. I used the appropriate aperture to get correct exposure for the flash, and the slow shutter speed for the movement.

In the bottom photo, I did the same thing with aperture and shutter but I also moved the camera at the same speed as the golf cart, getting a blur in the background.

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