September 10, 2011

My Birthday with a 50mm Prime

My friend Phillip and his son trying out the bow and arrow. My friend Phillip and his son trying out the bow and arrow.
Since moving away from my hometown of Wichita to attend collage at KU, I’ve seen less and less of some of my old friends. So this year for my birthday I decided to give two of my best friends from high school a call to see if they wanted to come to Lawrence and have lunch. Fortunately, they both agreed and we had a nice time. And because it was my birthday, I gave myself to take pictures the whole time (as if there was an another option). My friend Phillip now has three adorable children, one of which just loves getting his picture taken.

We ate lunch and then made our way over to Lawrence’s own Toy Store to give the kids something to do. After coming back to my place and getting cake, we headed out to Alan’s family farm in Lawrence where we had some fun trying out Alan’s new bow and arrow. At this point, the kids got especially curious about the camera I was pointing at them all day and asked if they could give it a shot. So I slung the camera strap around their necks and let them have a go. The youngest boy just couldn’t get his head around what the heck an optical viewfinder was and kept looking at the back of the screen. Regardless, he enjoyed it immensely and kept asking to try it the rest of the evening. Fortunately, we managed to get a few of the images focus.

I’ve recently been working on using my 50mm lens more. I am an advocate of using single focal length lenses, and I find that I have been gravitating towards the 35mm lens for most of my work. However, I love the look of a 50mm focal length on a full frame sensor with a wide aperture, and since there were many wide-open spaces, I though this would be a good exercise in using the 50.

I think it is incredibly important to learn to use a single focal length and use it well. A photographer should be composing an image before the camera is brought to the eye, and using one focal length consistently is the only way to learn that field of view well. I would say that 90-95% of my photography is done using either the 35mm or 50mm focal length.

As an aside, I also brought along my Minolta 28-135mm f/4-4.5 zoom lens. As it was a casual occasion, I thought it might be a nice opportunity to use a lens that spends the vast majority of the time on the shelf. While I really like the look of the images that come from this lens, I was constantly annoyed at how dark the image was through the viewfinder compared to my fast primes. Also, for me, zooming the lens adds an additional factor to composing, tracking the subject, and focusing that distracts me from getting the shot I want. I only shot a few frames before I switched it out for the Minolta 50mm f/1.4.

Overall, I am quite happy with both the performance of the lens and my Sony a850 in getting the shots that I wanted. It made my birthday that much more enjoyable.

Phillip and his youngest son at The Toy Store. Phillip and his youngest son at The Toy Store.
Phillip's youngest son having fun at The Toy Store. Phillip's youngest son having fun at The Toy Store.
Phillip and his youngest son. Phillip and his youngest son.
Phillip's son smiling for the camera. Phillip's son smiling for the camera.
Phillip's oldest with me. The younger one was behind the camera and managed to get this goofy shot in focus. Phillip's oldest with me. The younger one was behind the camera and managed to get this goofy shot in focus.
At this point, Phillip's oldest started begging me to take pictures of him making really goofy faces and awkward poses. What a goof. At this point, Phillip's oldest started begging me to take pictures of him making really goofy faces and awkward poses. What a goof.
Phillip with his daughter Phillip with his daughter
Alan and his wife Alan and his wife

I’ve got to say, nothing makes for enjoyable images like a full frame sensor, a fast prime lens, and cute little kids running around.

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