Tuesday, January 27, 2009

depth of field

Have you ever driven a Moped on the Autobon? Neither have I, but that illustration shows how I felt about my camera lens, the 18-55mm that I use normally on my Canon. The lens is adequate for most images, but I was outgrowing it. I would read tutorials like this one and be frustrated I couldn't do the things the pros were doing. For instance, I couldn't get the depth of field created by a wide open aperture that makes the background fuzzy (bocha) in portraits. If you want a very shallow depth of field (background blurry), you’d choose a very large aperture opening, which would be a very low number, like f2.8. My other lens didn't go anywhere near that. Needless to say I was ready for a new lens and easy prey for the friendly salesman at Focal Point when he said, "Everyone needs a fixed 50mm for their camera." It was a good price, so I bought it.

The thing about the "fixed" lenses is that they don't zoom in or out at all -- the photographer does all the walking. That might seem like a huge downside, but the benefit is that you can get a VERY high quality lens for a lot less. I wasn't quite ready to spend $3,000 on a lens, so I bought a Canon 50mm f/1.8 II, if anyone cares. I wanted to try it out desperately, so I asked Emma to be my model. Lucky girl. It is such a hardship for her when I say, "Do you want to dress up like a princess and let me take pictures of you?"




Emma is always eager. She is also always silly and goofing off for the camera. My main goal was to use my new lens, not to capture Emma looking perfect.



As you can see, always the silly girl. I asked her how Cinderella looks and she calmed down a little. 
On the technical side of things, I am really happy with the lens. It is very crisp and clear, lets in a lot of light, focuses fast on auto and easily on manual.




She calmed down just a little....



Here's a good example of the wide aperature. See how her shoulder is out of focus, but her eyes and nose and sharp? I would never be able to achieve this look with my other lens.



And another example of shallow depth of field. Princess chapstick. An essential for every lady in waiting.



Here's a sweet one of Emma. I call her "Beauty" sometimes and she just loves that she is like Belle from Beauty and the Beast. She was showing me all her different princess faces for the pictures. I've never encouraged the princess thing, but Emma is quite taken with the lovely Disney princesses all on her own. Instead of discouraging it, I try and show her the characteristics that make someone beautiful like kindness and gentleness. A good punishment for her these days is having to take off her princess dress for bad behavior. I say, "That is not how a princess acts." I also try and make a coorilation with following Christ. I hope my method is working and I don't end up with a spoiled little girl who thinks she DESERVES the best because she is a princess! Heaven help me if my daughter is ever on "Sweet 16" that horrible MTV reality show where bratty kids have their dream birthday parties. Anyway, I regress. Back to pictures of my sweet 4 year old who will not get a new Mercedes for her 16th birthday.







Check out her crown. Grandma (my mom) gave her the headband and the dress for Christmas. We saw the dress second hand and it was a little much, $7 I think. Considering how much she wears it, it was a good deal.






She's sleeping beauty in case you couldn't tell. She has just a bit of a flare for the dramatic.

14 comments:

Grandma Sherri said...

$10 But definately worth it and the crown was free- someones sad loss, Emma's gain.
She is a beautiful princess and we pray she will be truly beautiful on the inside as well.

Anonymous said...

It seems like the lens did better on the close up shots. I don't think that digital has caught up on depth of focus-unless you pay a arm and a leg... But they are far more convenient than film and my old Nikon FG. Jenni Birch

Sara said...

Love it! I am nowhere near up on camera lingo and knowledge like you are, but I can appreciate good photography and I, too, have always wanted a lens that would take a shallow depth of field (as you called it =). Actually, we have a fancy, expensive Nikon that does just that, but I never use it because it's not digital (Kevin bought about 7 years ago) and it's too manual for me to figure out - I'm more of an automatic, simple camera gal that wants all the end results of a fancy, complicated camera. =)

Andee said...

blah blah blah princess. I'm glad you know what you're doing! Congratulations on your new addition. Does it go on a new camera too or did the old one get fixed?

Grace said...

Wow! You do really great work! I asked my husband about maybe getting pictures done in the spring so maybe I'll be talking to you before too long!

Marci said...

It doesn't matter how good the camera or lens if you don't have good subject matter, and you have both! Emma is a beautiful princess, and I too pray that she will grow into a young lady who is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside! Aunt Marci

Tawny said...

I swear that by some biological miracle, Emma is my child. She is very much like her cousin Tawny, Alysun. I'm so very sorry-- I'll try to tone it down so there's hope for her :)

Kellie said...

Glad you got it! I was going to bring my camera with the 50mm lens to MOPS yesterday to let you play with it before you bought it but totally forgot.

Love the princess photos. Grace is all about anything princess and we talk about what qualities make a good princess. Cinderella and Belle are my favorites since I can talk up their good attributes. Ariel gives me a little more trouble!

Ratzlaff Reflections said...

Okay, you and Kellie have convinced me. I need to get that lens!

Linds and Manda said...

The subject is beautiful as always and the pictures look great. I think I understand what you are talking about. It's a bit technical for my mind these days but I can see the outcome in the pictures. Always exciting to have something next to play with. Speaking of new...were you able to get rid of all your CM stuff? I think I'm going to try a 12 x 12 album for Libby. There's nothing around town here but I will find something in Saskatoon if need be.

Choco Girl said...

Those are great pics!!!

Cathy said...

Good explanation...good subject matter! And she's such a cute little princess too! Have fun with your new toy!

Anonymous said...

That lens is known as the plastic fantastic... great little lens for the cost. Almost unbeatable really. If you are looking for a good all arounder... I suggest with a 24-135IS or 28-75 Tamron. The Tamron lens is superb and is 2.8 which is awesome. Great pics!

Ratzlaff Reflections said...

I bought it. I'm such a follower. I am THRILLED with the results! I can't believe how much better my indoor pics are!! THANK YOU for giving me that push!