Friday, January 05, 2007

A New Lens for New Years

With a little help (actually a lot of help) from the camera store gift certificate my wife gave me, I picked up a Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens last weekend. I haven't had a lot of time to play with it other than shooting my favourite subject (my daughter).

As is becoming tradition, we headed across the border and stayed two nights in Lockport NY over New Years. It's a short drive and my wife tells me the shopping is mucho fantastico ;) Anyways, I managed to take some shots at the pool, most of which turned out pretty good. One unfortunate mistake was that I had originally set the camera for ISO 800 in order to freeze some splashing fun, but forgot to switch it back until many shots later. So the digital noise in some of them is a little annoying. I haven't managed to convert or upload any of them yet, but here's a quick sample of what was probably one of the best shots, and a 100% crop to give an idea of the sharpness:

Crop at 100%:

Things I Learned:

1. When you play with a high ISO, don't forget to switch it back.

2. I have a tendency to shoot wide open (f1.8) too often. A shallow depth of field is effective but overdoing it is not. I have several shots of my daughter with one eye nice and sharp and the other quite soft. Doesn't make for the greatest photo.

3. Kind of related to #2, using an extremely shallow depth of field can also throw off the focus. Even though the autofocus is good, I still sometimes ended up with soft faces and sharp backgrounds, especially on the moving subject shots. Using f2.8 might have minimized this problem.

4. Don't be afraid to take a lot of shots. I probably have 20 shots of my daughter getting into and out of the pool (nevermind all the close-ups). Probably 3 of those 20 are keepers. If I hadn't taken all those shots, I probably would have ended up with no keepers. Don't forget you can always delete them. Not every shot is going to be a good one. Increase the number of shots you take and increase your chances.