Brought to you by The Weekend, here are some snaps. Sometimes no talking, just sharing. Rare, but today it’s called for, I feel.
And from Saturday:
Enjoy your week!
“What lens should I buy?” is the most common question I hear from students. And no wonder: lenses cost a lot of money and there’s more than one to choose from. That said, surely choosing a lens for your camera cannot be that difficult? I mean, it’s not as though there’s a lot of them to choose from, is it?
OK then, so there’s a lot. But still.
Here, then, are my Top Ten Timeless Tips about lenses:
Full frame camera; 85mm f/1.2 lens at f/2.0—isn’t that nice, blurring out the noisy background? This way you can shoot nice family portraits anywhere, just about.
I love my 85mm prime lens for fashion or half-body portraits. On a crop camera, you might like to use a 50mm prime lens to get pretty much the same effect.
Full frame camera; 85mm f/1.2 lens set to f/8.0.
Let’s finish this note with an overview of my seven lenses. These are the typical photojournalist lenses, a list designed to meet pretty much any need quickly and efficiently:
Prime (fixed) lenses: for consistency, quality, and sometimes for special purposes such as macro/close up, here’s my favourite fixed lenses:
Zoom lenses: for convenience, these cover the gamut from very wide to kinda long:
Misc: this allows the 200mm lens to become a 400mm lens (at f/5.6), without the cost.
And those seven lenses allow me to cover what I need to shoot, whatever it may be.
Now it is time to get some sleep: tomorrow, I lead a Match.com workshop in Toronto.
Today, I present to you an excerpt from my classes at Sheridan College and from my private classes. The subject: “Should I habitually delete my bad pictures?”
And the answer, my photographing friends, is a strong “no”. Deleting, whether “from the camera”, “afterward”, or “instead of formatting”, is always unwise!
So why is that? Let’s look at all three in turn.
[A] Why not delete from your camera?
[B] OK. So why not delete afterward?
This too is simple once you think it over…
So you use 1TB of your 8TB drive for bad stuff. Who cares! Storage is cheap today.
[C] OK then. But why not “delete the card when importing”, or “delete after use”?
But remember, friends, do not format until you have made at least one backup of your images: one main copy, and one backup on other media. All hard drives fail—then question is when, not whether.
So my conclusion: there are lots of reasons to not delete your work. Leave all the bad images intact; format card after backup.
Trust me on this. You will be happy you listened, one day.
Oh and the President was born in Kenya. And don’t trust me on that!
…then use flash. And if you use flash, then use it off camera.
Flash is crisp and sharp. Or rather, using flash leads to crisp photos because:
Maybe better: close to the ground to get a ‘cat’s eye view’:
1/30 sec at f/11, 400 ISO. Meaning, the ambient light basically disappears. The photo is crisp because although the shutter is slow, ambient light does basically nothing and the flash speed (1/16,000 sec, because the flash is set to 1/16 power) is the effective shutter speed.
…all of which is made like this:
The flashes are on the right: three flashes fired by one pocket wizard. Note that in this last image, I used a very slow shutter speed (several seconds, if I recall correctly) in order to show some of the ambient scene.
Anyway: can you see how much more lively and “real” these images look than a simple “even lighting” image, such as a “natural light” image that some photographers proudly boast is their only source of light?
One more thing to note: I am using three flashes connected via a three-flash mount (see yesterday’s post). With no softening modifier such as an umbrella or a softbox. The take-away lesson from this: When using off-camera flash, a softening modifier is not always needed.
The things some people do in their bedrooms in private! In preparation for tomorrow’s hands-on flash course I outfitted some flashes with coloured gels tonight.
I used Honlphoto gels, seen bottom right here in a double wrap:
I had three flashes mounted on a stand that uses one radio trigger (like a Pocketwizard) to fire all three flashes (thus saving two radio triggers). I have discussed this three-way mount here before. I also used grids (also Honlphoto) to get three separate light circles.
As said, where all three flashes mix, you get white. After you get the ratios right, that is: the gels take light (also discussed here in a recent post) and you may need to turn one or two of them up to compensate.
Once you are done, you get white. You see it here in the centre:
TIP: To get the ratio right, you look at the RGB histogram. The peaks for red, blue and green need to be at the same distance from the edges.
Looking at the flashes you see the three colours I chose:
Red, Green and Blue. Surprise, surprise!
You see, when these colours mix, that once you get the ratios right, you get white overall. But when only two of them mix you get “in between” colours, which include cyan, yellow, and magenta:
So now you know why you see RGB and CYMK (where “K” means “Black”) as two alternate ways to mix several basic colours!
I also had unrelated flash fun, of course. f/32:
And my spinning top:
On a concave mirror, that is:
The moral of this post?
You should have fun with your photography, and explore, and try out different things. How many of you have gels, and how many of you have used these to mix light in different ways? That’s how you learn about light. So for those of you not coming to tomorrow’s course: go have fun, And sign up for the one after the next one: tomorrow and next week are full up, but 6 November still has a few spots open.
Any way you do it: learn about light, and have fun.
PS for Honl modifiers, which I strongly recommend, go to this link and use discount code “Willems” at checkout to get an additional 10% off.