Noticing – August 18, 2012

Ah, the cool weather. I feel myself coming back to life. We spent a bit of the day outside today, so I’ve got a few images to share.

The feature image is a little portrait play with Chloe. I’m not much of a prime lens user, I want my equipment choices to be driven by the images I want to make, and find that prime lenses are often too limiting. They’re not quite wide or long enough to match the subject with some element in the background. With a zoom lens I can step back and zoom in to make a background element smaller relative to a subject (or just have less background altogether), or step in and zoom out to make it larger. I love being able to quickly grab three or four different shots of something I find interesting, not just with the framing but with perspective.

But one thing I can’t get with wide zoom lenses (even a professional 2.8 breed) is a really shallow depth of field. (Shallow depth of field comes naturally with long lenses, so I haven’t felt the need for an 85mm prime.) Enter Nikon’s 35mm 1.4 prime; it’s a beautiful lens. Considering the price, I really wavered before making the purchase, but I’m now glad I’ve got it in my kit. I really like the 35mm focal length, on a full-frame body it’s a bit wider than normal, but not so wide it can’t be used for a 3/4 location portrait (with a beautifully shallow depth of field).

The lighting for this is an Elinchrom Ranger into a 53″ octabox. I used PocketWizard Flex triggers to get 1/1250 at 1.4.

Here’s another of Chloe:

And Chloe with a Cicada she found. With the focus point so close and the lens at 1.4 the depth of field gets very shallow. Maybe too shallow.

And one last image from earlier in the morning, taken with a 24-70 2.8: