Sunday, December 15, 2013

Perfect Gift for a Photographer - a "Nifty Fifty" - a 50mm f/1.8 or 50mm f/1.4 lens

"Russian Blue at Christmas" Looking for a gift for a photographer?! Consider a 'nifty fifty' - a 50mm Lens that has a f1/8 or f/1.4 aperture. There are four great things about these f/1.8 and f/1.4 lenses 1) They let LOTS more light in allowing you to take pictures indoors without a flash. Kit lenses are usually f/3.5 to f/5.6!!! The f/1.8 lens lets in considerably more light allowing pictures to be captured indoors without a flash. 2) If you are using a kit lens, you have quickly figured out your pictures still may not have that soft blur, or bokeh, in the background like the attached image. The face of the cat is nice and sharp and the lights from the Christmas tree are all blurry. You will get this with a 50mm f/1.8 lens. - One note - this is called a shallow depth of field and shooting at f/1.8 can cause subjects eyes to be in focus but their ears and everything else are out of focus! Experiment and understand what these can do before you are shooting those once in a lifetime images! 3) These lenses can be very inexpensive. The f/1.8 can be found for ~$100 new or used. The f/1.4 runs from $250 to 400. You can find them here: f/1.8 (Nikon) (Canon) or f/1.4 (Nikon) or (Canon). You can also pick them up used on Craigslist quote often. 4) The last benefit of these lenses is they are super sharp! - especially for the $$. You will really be amazed what you can do with one of these lenses! One other option is to get a 35mm lens. With the crop factor on the sensors - the 'zoom factor' of 1.4x or 1.5x may bring you closer than you want. Nikon has this great 35mm f/1.8 lens that is very reasonably priced! (Nikon) or for the Canon 35mm f/2 lens. Give them a try and consider it a great holiday present for yourself, a budding photographer or person with only the kit lens for their DSLR. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Fall Colors and Leaves from the SF Bay Area!

Fall Colors! While there is snow and ice in many places in the country, we still have some fall colors around here. This is from last weekend amongst the Redwoods in the Santa Cruz mountains near Boulder Creek/Big Basin and Castle Rock State Park. The marble treatment on this image gives a holiday ornament feel to it imho. Let me know if you like it! Kudos to Claudia Welsh for turning me onto the MarbleCam app! Free for iphone here!  — at Redwoods near Big Basin and Castle Rock State Park