Peer One Portraits

Stupid title, but it’s a play on Pier 1, which is where I got all these props. Moving on.

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My initial plan was to wear one of my silvery gray wigs in this getup, but it ended up getting tangled in the garland so I put a thick silver headband on my head, on top of my wig cap, and pinned the poinsettias to that instead. Ended up working out great; I forget how much more difficult long wigs make taking self-portraits. They’re a bit hot under the lights, they get in the way constantly (snagged up in the costume or in my eyes while I’m trying to see what I’m doing or set up a shot), plus they tangle a lot when I’m flinging them around. Believe it or not, having 4 poinsettias clipped to my head was actually easier than putting on one wig! And yes, the poinsettias came with clips attached – I’m sure they are meant to clip to Christmas tree limbs or something, but that’s why i snatched them up, because I knew they’d be super-easy to pin to my head. And they were, except on one of them the clip broke off after about 20 minutes – kinda chintzy for a $5 decoration if you asked me, but then again, I’ve always found Pier 1 to be overpriced. Moving on.

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I was on my way to the register with some other stuff when I spied this white, sparkly garland shoved into a basket and snagged it instead. It was really fun to work with and created some very cool looks – the downside was that it was terribly itchy (then again, it wasn’t created to be worn by a human, so there you go). I loved the shots I got with these props, so much so that I’ve already edited – including the pics I shared yesterday – ten shots! That’s way more than I usually process from a shoot where I didn’t change costumes all that much. But the garland really added interest to the photos, and I found myself struggling to decide which shots to process.

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Remember when I said yesterday how I changed the colors up in every shot? Here I went for an icy blue that’s probably more green than I inteded.

When deciding what shots to edit, I try to find pictures where either my pose or facial expression isn’t so typical, but I do just have one face, after all, and I do tend to make the same faces over and over (which I discussed in a previous post). I think this is where the props can help a lot; to add some visual interest to the photo besides my face. I had very similar expressions going on in all the shots I took with the garland (about 200, in case you wanted to know), but the garland created a lot of interesting shapes and was fairly easy to manipulate. In fact, I totally want to work with it again – it’s very sturdy, and the wires are thick and strong so I can move it into a shape and it will hold it for several poses before it starts to collapse. I could have done a lot more, but as I said, it was terribly itchy and my skin was starting to get irritated, so I had to stop playing around. Plus, there’s only so many shots I need of me in this particular look with the same garland no matter how much I can manipulate it, so I figured I’d stop while I was ahead and leave more to the imagination for a future shoot where I can look completely different.

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Another favorite

As far as the technical stuff, to change things up a bit I used my 70-200 telephoto lens that I normally reserve for plane shots in this shoot. There was no real reason for this other than wanting to try something different and see how the photos turned out; it was nice to have more room to work with while I posed since I could keep the tripod pulled quite far back instead of needing to keep it closer with my 50mm or 85mm prime lenses, but I didn’t get the lovely focus and camera blur those lenses would have provided. Still, it did a good job and for the most part  the auto-focus was dead-on – easier than either one of the prime lenses, in fact, but I guess that finicky focus is why they create such nice portraits in the first place. Another benefit I’d never considered was that I could stand much farther away from the black backdrop, so there was very little light from the flash reflected in it to alter the solid black effect – another thing I probably should have known by now but never did.

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Because I used my Flash Bender on my Speedlite for this shoot, I got a lot of sharp, strong shadows that created some nice black and white shots as well, so there’s quite a few I converted to B&W when processing. I also kept my cheap ring light handy (and managed to knock it over and break it as well, so it’s time to buy another one of those) and for the most part had it set up behind me on a tripod to give my head and shoulders a bit of an outline against the black backdrop; occasionally I also placed it right in front of me to get some catchlights in my eyes. Unfortunately, in some of the tighter close-up shots the ring light tends to create a lot of chromatic aberration that I forgot to edit out (you can see it in the close-up shot from yesterday and the one above), and my eyes came out looking a little pink. I may go back and edit that before uploading to Flickr, but for the blog, pink eyes it is. And by the way, super-easy Photoshop technique for fixing chromatic aberration is located here – a two-minute YouTube tutorial that is simple as pie to do. Has saved my butt on many occasions when working with bright lights and getting all those purple rings around high-contrast areas.

These next few are pretty experimental and I don’t care for them quite as much as the more straightforward shots, but there was so much I wanted to work with here and I started feeling the need to change things up a bit.

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When this shot was taken, the Speedlite failed to go off, so the resulting photo was really dark. This happens several times throughout any shoot, and sometimes I try to process one of the pics to see if anything interesting can come of it. Usually nothing does, and I don’t think this one is very successful either. I pulled it into Pixlr to try and generate some added interest, and honestly I can’t remember what all I did to it there, but in the end, I still don’t think I like it very much. But hey, I tried.

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Mostly I just liked the way the garland was framing my face here; this is another shot I Pixlr’ed like crazy, but I think it worked better here. I used some of their graduated color filters as well as a space filter to make the costume sparkle; I just discovered that Pixlr’s desktop app can utilize masks so I was able to apply the stars without having to add them to my face, which is cool. I love textures and filtered effects, but for the most part I don’t like them to muck up faces, and it’s nice to be able to erase that out now.

Well, that’s probably all I have from this shoot, although I have one or two more I’m still eyeing. But I pretty much marathon-edited this weekend, partly because I had the time, and partly because it’s been a long time since I just worked with portraits and had forgotten how much fun it is. Busy week coming up at work – the week before any vacation is always stressful, and this one is shaping up to be the same, so I may be MIA until the holiday starts next weekend. Happy Monday everyone!

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With a Little Help from My Lens…

…in this case, very little. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but I’m starting to wonder if I wasted my money on the lenses I bought to pair with my SL1. I still love the camera itself, and in no way think that was a waste of money, but the 40mm pancake lens isn’t turning out to serve much purpose other than being small, and the zoom lens may not be all that needed either, although I’m less disappointed with that one at the moment than I am with the 40mm. 

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The 40mm on my 7D

Part of the issue is that I’m still figuring out exactly how I’m going to use the Canon SL1. I like how easy it is to throw in my car and take with me just about anywhere – which I do, although so far I haven’t used it spontaneously very much  – but when the results of using it have really made me happy have been when I’ve paired it with my 50mm lens. There’s quite a bit running through my head at the moment about the whole thing, so I’ll try to sort it out as clearly as possible.

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A pic of my brother, taken with the SL1/40mm lens combo – he’s concerned you should probably bail on this post while you still can

I have tended to use the SL1 in more candid, walkabout situations such as this afternoon, when I went to a family barbecue to celebrate my two nieces graduating from high school. The last time I took pictures of a family gathering was Christmas Eve, and although the 7D took nice pictures, it did get quite heavy and cumbersome to use (I had the 17-40mm lens attached as well as a Speedlite). So I’ve known for awhile that this is the sort of situation where the smaller camera would be useful – not to mention the reduced need for studio-quality photos because the shots are more for family and memory’s sake than anything else. Unfortunately, these are generally low-light situations as well, and while the 40mm pancake lens is fast at f/2.8, I get another full stop out of the 50mm; add in that the two lenses are pretty close in weight, and there’s no real reason I need the 40mm at all.

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My sister’s dog; a nice enough shot, but as you can see it came out pretty dark

Except for the fact that it’s so tiny, and as far as that goes the jury is still out as to whether or not that is going to be useful for me. Certainly the reviews are impressed with the lens for more than it’s small size – it is crisp and sharp and the build quality is quite good for the price – but the unobtrusive nature of the lens is the most highly touted factor. People who love it mention being able to put it in a pants pocket because it’s so small, or being able to pack it easily when traveling, things like that, and I’m not sure that’s ever going to be a big need for me. And the fact that it makes a camera body less obvious to others is negated, in my opinion, by the fact that you have to get right up on your subject for it to have any interest. When reading up on the lens today I came across a review by B&H photo which described it as having “a focal length that places it squarely in that bland category known as Normal,”  and I can’t think of a better way to describe the results I’ve been getting with the lens – bland. Sure, it’s not far off in focal length from my 50mm, but as I already mentioned, with the 50 I get a wider aperture and better performance in low light that allows me to keep the ISO settings lower. Now granted, because I’m still so fixated on keeping the SL1 as light as possible, I’ve not been willing to put a Speedlite on it, which is something I’ve never hesitated to do with my already-heavy 7D, so I probably have to get over that and realize that even with an external flash attached I’m still benefiting from a much lighter camera – in that case, the 40mm would keep things a touch lighter than the 50mm, although not by much. I’ll give it some more time to see if it ever becomes handy, but it may end up that the 50mm still wins. Moving on.

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The collage I made out of the rest of today’s photos because they all came out BLAND – or grainy, if they were taken with the telephoto.

Since I was so bored by the focal length of the 40mm today, I quickly switched to my new EF 55-250mm to give that one a go, but at f/4 it was a bust. An f/4 aperture is at the edge of what’s considered fast, but I’ve never been able to get one to work in low light (my wide-angle 17-40 is a f/4 as well) without a Speedlite or a pretty high ISO setting. I liked the better framing I could get with the zoom lens since I could focus in tightly on people without being up in their faces (I tend to like portrait-length pictures even in crowds, rather than large group shots) but I had to push the ISO up to 3200 to allow enough light into the shot, and the results were way too grainy to make me happy. Perhaps the 7D would have done a better job at such a high ISO setting, but then I would have been lugging around the heavy camera again, so I still vote in favor of putting the 50mm (or even the 85mm, which is also very fast at f/1.8) on the SL1 and calling it a day. Either that, or get past my Speedlite aversion with the SL1 so we can all move on.

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Testing the 55-250mm out on the waterfall in my backyard with the 7D – shutter speed 1/1000 and ISO 3200. Pretty grainy but otherwise not bad.

I still think the 55-250 might be useful as a zoom lens on either camera, because it’s so much lighter than my 70-200 and works nicely on the SL1 in outdoor situations, if nowhere else. And as I mentioned above, I could use it with the Speedlite when needed – I do still have my old 430EX that’s a lot smaller than my newer external flash (the 600-EX-RT) and that whole combo on the SL1 would still weigh a lot less than my 7D with the L-Series telephoto. And when using the 70-200 as a walkabout while photographing planes or whatever, the 55-250 might be nice to have in a bag nearby to use with my 7D when my arm starts getting tired. So I’m going to hang on to that one for now. And I guess the 40mm could be useful if I ever take the SL1 somewhere that I think it might get knocked around, because in that situation the compactness of the lens would keep it from getting damaged. So perhaps this whole long ramble sums up by saying that I’m still learning how to use the new camera, which I think I said somewhere up there at the beginning of all this mess. I guess the bottom line is that yes, I got a nice, new, small, cute, fun, light camera, and that’s all well and good, but to make it perform the way I want I’m still going have to attach some bells and whistles that add some weight, and that once again I’m going through the learning curve anything new requires. Thanks blog, for helping me work through all of that. Moving on.

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Another weird waterfall shot – this time with the SL1 and the 55-250, same shutter speed and ISO as the 7D

Now, if you’ve actually waded through all this nattering, I applaud you. Or maybe I just console you. I have more macro shots to share tomorrow, I promise. I just keep getting derailed with shopping trips and failed lens experiments lately…

Office Shots

I took my new camera up to school today to take pictures of our head coach, who won an award as coach of the year in our division, but then the day got so crazy I didn’t get a chance to do it. Once things finally did die down, I remembered that I had the camera with me, so I attached my 50mm (which I’d also brought along) and wandered over to the office of a friend of mine, who is the admissions director for the school. She’s also an artist and art teacher, so she has loads of stuff all over her space that makes for interesting photographs.

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Believe it or not, this is a pen.

I keep waiting to be disappointed by this camera (and I know I’ve only had it two days), but so far I’m just not. With the basic stuff I did today it performed quite well.

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I was screwing around with ISO settings and other things right before taking these photos, and unfortunately I forgot to switch them back when I was done, so the pics are a little grainy but that’s user error (I had the ISO set to 1600 and should have had it much lower). Even at a high ISO though, they look pretty good. I still think the color comes out a bit dull but I can fix that in editing.

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I played around with the focus settings a bit and this time, with the 50mm the focus was fast and sharper than when I used it the night before. I’d tell you what I did but being me, I can’t remember and didn’t really understand what I was doing anyway.

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Kind of amazing all this stuff is in one office, isn’t it?

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I also found white balance to be tricky once again; I didn’t have enough light to get the ExpoDisc to work, and the AWB confuses me. When editing the RAW files they just didn’t function as I am used to, and I could never tell if I got the balance right. I messed with it in the first few shots, then said to hell with it and left the color as it was SOOC. Still gotta work on that.

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I love this last one; it came out super-sharp:

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So, yeah. I’ll try not to turn this blog into the I Love My Canon SL1! show, but I am getting the telephoto lens in soon, so I’ll have to share the results of that at least. Who knows – maybe that’s where something here will finally go amiss. I could sure see it happening. But in the end, the lenses I already own are going to work out fine.

Happy Spending

I noticed as I was wandering around the past few days with my new telephoto lens that I was taking a lot of macro shots, or at least attempting them, which got me thinking: perhaps a macro lens is another purchase I need to make. Need might not be the best word to use, but I’m going to go with it for now, because obviously it’s a type of photography I’m interested in as I was so drawn to taking those photos with my new lens, and hey, I’ve come this far, so why not keep throwing my money down the photography hobby-drain?

I could keep attempting to take macros with the telephoto, or give my 50mm a go now and again, but they are not ideal for such photography and are incredibly persnickety to use. Plus, I can’t get too close to a subject with them because they simply cannot focus, so I lose a lot of shots I’d like to take and have to settle for less than stellar results. Believe it or not, there’s a LOT closer I could be getting to some of these subjects if I had a lens that could focus at such a close distance – the ones I have simply turn to mush and can’t find anything to latch onto until I back up or get incredibly lucky. So today I hopped on the information superhighway and researched what might be a good macro lens for me to try out.

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Pixlr’ed to disguise poor focus and lighting. Also I love it that my blog readers know what it means to be “Pixlr’ed.”

Now, I could go with something low-end like one of Canon’s S-series lenses that doesn’t work on a full-frame body, but my level of satisfaction with a cheaper build-quality lens isn’t going to take me very far. And with the few shots I’ve managed to pull off using the lenses I have, I can tell I’d get a lot of use out of a higher-quality version, so I’d at least like a mid-level range macro lens to start if I’m not willing to shell out for L-series glass right off the bat (which, of course, starts around a grand as usual). After all, neither my 50mm nor my 85mm are L-series but I am happy with them for now, and when I exchanged my S-series 50mm for the mid-range version I definitely saw improvement.

So, what to buy: I’ve landed on the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens for now. There’s a pricier L-series version, but as you can see there’s a big jump in cost, and I can get the mid-level model for about $450 off eBay if I play my cards right. Obviously I am not making this purchase right away, as I just spent a lot on the telephoto lens, but this one is definitely on my radar now, and I bet I get my hands on one sooner rather than later. I may suck it up and sell some stuff on eBay to help pay for it, when I get some time to do that.

Lord knows what I’ll decide I need next. I’m usually happy plodding along with what I have, but I guess adding to my boredom with taking self-portraits and jump shots comes the desire for more gear as I take different types of pictures. I’m happy to purchase higher-quality stuff at this point too, that can add to my growing collection of gear. I’m getting quite a nice little arsenal built up, so overall I don’t mind having a few less pair of Uggs as a tradeoff (plus it’s warming up here, so I’m not wearing my Uggs as much now).

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What will I decide I need next? Probably a new camera body! The idea of buying a Mark III hasn’t left my head, and sometime soon Canon should be introducing a IV or some other upgrade that drops the price lower on the III (and by “lower,” I  mean, still quite high) and makes it the right time to buy. Going from a cropped sensor to a full-frame would involve a learning curve, for sure, but it’s my next logical step and I’m sure I’d love the results (don’t ask me for specifics on what exactly a ‘full-frame’ camera is vs. a ‘cropped’ one, because aside from cost I barely know myself. Except that math in involved). Plus, all the lenses I currently own will work with full-frame cameras, so yay to paying a little more for quality – buying a new camera body won’t suddenly deplete my gear collection! Hear me justifying the purchase already? But seriously, it’s not gonna happen soon. I’ve got a lot to learn with all the new equipment I’ve acquired, and I really do want to wait until a newer version comes out and the price goes down. $3400 for a camera is a huge chunk of change, and I’m not up for it right now – but it does make $450 for a new lens look downright reasonable in comparison. 🙂

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This is a wall. You’re welcome.

Objects of My Reflection

After getting my nails done and picking up lunch, I decided to play outside with my new light reflector for a little while to see how it could help me in natural light:

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The hardest part of using this thing is getting it back into its bag.

The first time I took it out of its carrying case Friday night, it uncoiled and popped me in the face. It was not an auspicious beginning. However, upon taking it outside and playing around with the different surfaces, I discovered it was pretty easy to use. The reflector has five different colors – black to block harsh light, white to lightly reflect it onto the subject, silver for stronger cool light, gold for warm light, and translucent to soften it; the reflector itself is translucent, and there is a reversible cover that zips over it, with two colors per side. The only downsides to this one are that it’s difficult to maneuver without assistance, and the gold surface is on the same side as the white one. I’d much rather have the silver and white on the same side as those are the two I will use most frequently; as it is I have to unzip the cover and flip it over every time I want to switch from silver to white. Since this one was only $17, I may just buy another one that only has white and silver to make that easier. Can’t hurt to have two anyway.

Instead of going into the backyard and shooting in front of the same old plant, I took the camera (with my new 50mm lens attached) into our atrium and shot against the brick wall there. I know, I really jazzed things up this time, didn’t I? And true to my resolution in yesterday’s post, I didn’t get all dolled up for reflector testing; I just went outside in my plain old clothes with my plain old face and my plain old hair. For most of the shots I didn’t even remove my glasses. It felt weird, but it sure was easy.

In this first collage, I took a portrait with no reflectors for the left panel. Then on the ride side, I am holding the translucent surface over my head, to soften and direct the sunlight. The atrium is pretty shaded and although it was blue and sunny outside there were a lot of clouds passing over, so I wasn’t in constant direct sunlight, and there were a lot of shadows:

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I am incapable of taking the same pose twice, so there are always variations in how I’m standing, which ruins the comparison a bit. But you get the idea.

Also true to form for me, I was switching around what surface I used to reflect light, and then occasionally taking pictures without a reflector for comparison, but since I didn’t keep track of when I used what I couldn’t remember what I was using in the shots when I processed them later. So I’m basically guessing. You know me, always a stickler for details! Anyway, I made my best guesses for this next collage:

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You’ve probably noticed that’s the same “no reflector” shot from the previous collage. Yep.

I’d read that most photographers don’t care for the uber-warmth of a gold reflector and don’t use it often, if at all, which is why I wish mine wasn’t attached to the white surface. But I can see where it could come in handy. Also, in these shots, I was holding the reflector a little too close to my face which made the light a little too bright – especially noticeable in the gold one. Oh, and I processed these shots using as little editing as possible; they are practically SOOC (Straight Out of the Camera), which is NOT likely to happen again anytime soon, so drink it in people.

My last collage was using the white reflector, which is my favorite as the light is softer than the silver, and I held it at different angles just for the hell of it:

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Man, without all my usual makeup and hair on, I gotta say, I am really looking my age. It’s not a bad thing to look 45, it’s just…different. I still don’t look in the mirror and think hey, that right there is a 45-year-old woman, but I’m getting there (I’m also not a 45-year-old woman, I’m 44,  but I always tell myself and other people that I’m a year older – that way when I really am a year older and tempted to feel depressed about it, I can remind myself that I’m just now the age I’ve been telling everyone I was all year. Trust me, in my mind this makes perfect sense). And dammit my hair is flat. Wait – isn’t this post supposed to be about reflectors? Let’s get back to it then:

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This photo is not SOOC. Deal with it.

I think in that one I’m using the white reflector, but it could have been the silver; unfortunately I can’t remember. Mostly I liked how my hair looked, so vanity compelled me to process the shot. I also liked my hair in the next one, which was one of the photos taken with no reflector, so I converted it to black and white to make up for it.

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So basically this photo has nothing to do with reflectors, except that I took it at the same time I took all the other pictures shared here that used reflectors. Moving on.

Shooting in the atrium also provided me a nice green leafy background to test out bokeh on the 50mm when I turned the camera in the other direction, which went swimmingly when combined with whatever reflector I was using in this pic (white? silver? who can say.):

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I posted this picture on Facebook and everyone went bonkers, mostly because they’ve never seen a truly normal photo of me. Very few people had the slightest idea what my new, longer hair even looked like. Turns out that after so long of constantly presenting one’s self in bizarre makeup and wigs, the most radical thing you can do is show up somewhere looking normal – a lesson Lady Gaga seems to have kinda learned lately, but without taking the arrogance and self-importance down a notch or two to complete the transformation. And no, that shot is so not SOOC either. Thanks Photoshop for ridding me of my under-eye wrinkles.

And as always, I’ve got to share a Pixlr-ed shot.

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Fifty/50

That title makes no sense, really, but I got my  new Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 yesterday and managed to test it out just a bit before bed last night, so I’ll share some of those pics real quick.

So far I’m excited about this lens – it truly is fast and focuses like lightning. For several pictures, I barely had to touch the shutter release before the thing focused and popped off a shot. Like this one – you can’t really tell, but Simon was actually trotting after me here and I was trying to move away from him to get him in the frame, and BAM, the lens just focused and fired without me hardly trying. At a maximum aperture of 1.4, this is the fastest lens I’ve ever owned (the 85mm is 1.8) and man, this thing is fast:

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Yes, I know our carpet is a mess, but give me a break – we’re getting new carpet installed next month. We just never replace anything until it’s absolutely necessary.

Unlike my 85mm, I can set the camera’s focus to Zone Auto and can actually get good shots out of it that way, so it’s much easier to use on moving targets or on self-portraits than the 85 (which tends to work best with Single Point focus). As an example, I popped off a quick selfie using my remote and the Zone Auto Focus and it provided a decent shot, whereas with the 85mm it would have been very obvious if the zone found, say, my nose instead of my eyes:

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I made a goofy face on purpose, and no I don’t have makeup on. It was bedtime, so sue me.

Being able to use the zone AF also makes setting up a self-portrait shot easier, since I don’t necessarily have to find something other than my face to pinpoint my focus; I can get a general focus from the camera, and then when hitting the remote, the lens can find me, so bonus points there. And, the bokeh is still lovely, adding a full stop to the 1.8 of my 85mm lens. Take this collage, for example, where I snapped a pic of the same subject three times using different aperture settings:

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In case you’re wondering what that is, it’s a plastic replica of Gypsy, one of the robots on my all-time favorite show Mystery Science Theater 3000.

With the aperture fully open at 1.4, the bokeh (or blurring of the background) is downright delicious; as a comparison I also upped it to 2.8 in the middle shot and all the way up to 4.0 in the last one – which is the maximum aperture on my trusty old 17-40mm lens. So you can see the benefit to using the 50mm over that zoom lens for portraits as I’ll get a much prettier background blur without losing a lot of clarity in the subject. This 50mm does take crisp shots as well (white balance is bad here and it’s not a great shot for some other reasons I won’t get into):

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Should have turned off that lamp behind me. Oh well.

I used Zone AF again and as you can see, even though there was a lot going on here with both Sprocket and Simon in the frame, the camera found me fine, and I still got some nice blurring, especially of Simon in the foreground. And on a side note, my hair has gotten long enough for me to wear it natural and get a decent wave pattern out of it! You’re welcome.

Now if I want a real precise focus I can use the single point AF and get an effect that’s pretty close to what I’d get with the 85mm, which is what I did here to focus on Sprocket’s nose:

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As I mentioned before, I did notice white balance is trickier here, but I was playing around with Manual mode and other things more than I usually do so that could have been part of the problem. II am still learning how to use the camera really, so there’s a lot that works together in ways I don’t fully understand. But between playing around with new (as well as old and forgotten) lenses and reading about how to shoot outdoors, I am definitely learning many new things about the technical aspects of digital photography that I used to read about and not follow at all.

Overall I’m excited about this new lens and the potential it has to help me improve my shots. Learning more about aperture settings and working in Manual mode is helpful as well, even when using my zoom lens, so I can get a final product with which I’m satisfied. Obviously the downside of using a lens like this is that zooming in and out requires me to move around rather than being able to do it through the lens, but even a good zoom lens sacrifices a bit of quality in order to have the zoom capability, so it is definitely worth it to play around with and own prime lenses with a set focal length also. The 85mm and the 50mm are two of the most-mentioned focal lengths in relation to prime portrait lenses, so that’s why I’ve started with those. Now, there is an L-series 50mm and an 85mm one that are faster even than this one – the L-series 50mm and the 85mm both have a max aperture of 1.2, which is crazy fast, but you’re going to spend about $1500 more for that extra stop (ack!). I just can’t justify that cost yet, so for now, the two lenses I have at that focal length are fine.

Oh and if you are curious about trying out a 50mm lens, Canon does make a cheaper version which I used to own and sold recently; the max aperture on that one is f/1.8, and you can get one for about $100. It is an absolute steal at that price and a really great starter lens for working with this focal length. It’s plastic and feels cheap as well as being noisy, and it’s trickier to work with, I think, than the one I now own, but if you’re curious at all about prime lenses it’s a great place to start.