I was doing some family kids portraits over the weekend so I decided when I had everything set up that I’d do some using the 50mm lens. I think it’s actually a pretty good lens for this. When opened up all the way to f1.8 the depth of field is so shallow that it’s pretty much impossible to get in focus shots of moving kids and when aren’t kids moving. At f2.5 it’s a little easier and I did get some decent shots. Times like this I wish I had one of the new mirror less cameras with decent eye tracking focus, but sure I wouldn’t learn anything if the camera did all the work for me. For this shot I also had lights and a dark grey backdrop so I cant say it was all the 50mm lens but it certainly didn’t get in the way.
On week 5 and I’m beginning to realize that the 50mm has it’s limitations. Or maybe limitations is the pessimistic way to phrase it, more it has it’s strengths and weaknesses. I like it for detailed photos with the aperture open wide. The bokeh is beautiful, like in this shot of a plant in front of a window with the late afternoon light behind it. I’m not so fond of it in most other circumstances. But isn’t that the challenge of a project like this? Find the weaknesses and work around them. For landscapes I’ll need to work on my composition and for street photographs with people I’ll need to get back into the swing of taking them.
Winter keeps coming and going. We have a few days of freeze followed by a few days of thaw. It’s really a bit annoying at this stage, it would be nice to have mother nature decide if we will have winter or an early spring. Still after a few days of freeze and some brave souls decide to go out ice fishing on the pond in a snow squall. The 50mm doesn’t have the reach to zoom in and show much detail on the fishermen. I couldn’t get closer than the end of a dock, I wasn’t going out on the ice but it was still worth trying to compose a shot.
Here we are on Week 3. This week we had more snow and ice followed by warm ups and melts. I got out to take some photos and tried to take some people street photography type images and had one selected but when I finished processing the shots I preferred this one.
I find I’m using the 50mm for more close up photos than I expected,
There has been lots of snow and ice around to try to get close up details of. I like playing with the 1.8 aperture but sometimes (often? usually!) it’s not the best to go with such a narrow depth of field. For this image I changed from f1.8 to f6.3 and it was much better. Had to get in close which involved standing in a river, at lunch time, wondering how high up the waterproofing of my boots ended.
Second week of my 50 With a 50 Challenge. Last week I shot at f1.8 to show the depth of field and bokeh that the nifty 50 is capable of. This week I went to the other extreme (well almost) and shot at f20 which means pretty much everything should be in focus.
I went for a walk around after some freezing rain had transitioned over to rain and then to rain showers. In between showers the sun was trying to force its way through the clouds and that is when I got this shot. I wanted to have the dark trees on one side and the brighter clouds on the other, then I waited to get some birds flying through the light. I got a few shots before the clouds completely blocked the sun again. Initially I aimed to get one with several birds surrounding the sun and I was lucky enough to get it but when I put them on my computer I much preferred this one with a single bird.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few days taking photos, the New Year is starting off busy again, which is good. Hopefully I can keep the momentum going and get out a couple of times a week.
So last year I tried to do a 52 project following a list of subjects for each week. I failed, miserably. I made it to Week 19 and then stopped. There were multiple reasons for this. I’d missed some weeks and once you miss a week on one of these challenges it’s kind of already failed. I also began to find the topics too distracting. I wasn’t enjoying the challenge, I was taking other photos but because I needed a photo to meet a certain criteria I found myself getting annoyed that I had to go out and stage some photos when I already had others that were better. That’s not a criticism of the challenge I was doing, it just ended up not being a good fit for what I wanted which was to get back to enjoying photography.
Roll on 2019, new year and the logical point to start another challenge. I debated if I wanted to try again and I looked at this years 52 challenge list and I realised that I’d just fall into the same trap. That said I still wanted to do a challenge, just to keep myself taking photos in the lull after the rush of Christmas mini-sessions. So I’ve decided to do what I’m calling a 50 With a 50 Challenge.
Now I cant claim to have come up with the name but it doesnt seem popular and people have done different things with it but basically for me there are just one simple rule: over 2019 post 50 photos taken with that 50mm lens.
That’s it. One photo a week taken with a 50mm lens, I’m using my Canon 50mm 1.8 (the “nifty fifty” that many if not most photographers have). 50 photos in a year also gives me 2 spare weeks so if things go wrong missing a week wont ruin the challenge.
My first image is above. Simple photo of some seed cones hanging on a tree branch that I took while walking at lunch. It shows off the bokeh that the 50mm is capable of at it’s maximum aperture of 1.8mm.