In the world of fast primes, not often are the specs of “200mm” and “f/2” combined in the description of a single lens. Inherently large and heavy, the ultra-fast design of a 200mm f/2 has long enabled photographers to effectively shoot telephoto in very low light as well as create stunning subject separation simply not possible with a 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom. Though the available light advantage afforded by the f/2 aperture is somewhat offset by the high-ISO abilities of modern digital sensors, the extra depth-of-field control still has its place in creative photography. Additionally, when used on an APS-C sensor camera like the NEX-7, a 200mm f/2 helpfully acts as a 300mm f/2.8 would on a full-frame camera.
Though it should come as no surprise, telephoto primes such as the Nikon 200mm f/2 are somewhat bulky and cumbersome even used with a suitable DSLR like a d300 with its vertical grip. When a lens of this caliber is mounted onto a comparatively tiny mirrorless camera such as the Sony NEX-7, the combination looks outright comical. That said, it is far more important to see how the lens performs in front of an unforgiving 24-megapixel APS-C sensor in making photographs rather than how the kit may turn heads at an event. Read on to find out how the 200mm f/2 stacks up as the professional fast telephoto it aims to be. As always, if you are unfamiliar with my lens review style, please read up on this post first! Continue Reading
My life has seen a world of firsts over just the past month. From college graduation to a senior recital, and individual portrait sessions to my first wedding photography experience, the last month has been a whirlwind of activity. Everything seems to just be getting better, however, as I am pursuing more freelance work in photography in lieu of a traditional “summer job” for work over the next few months. There are possibilities for more weddings, portrait sessions, and events, so this site—and my shutter finger—may be nice and busy as time goes on!
Regardless, another “first” that I participated in last week was my first engagement shoot with a couple I graduated with at Transylvania University. They make for a very happy, sometimes silly, couple that was a blast to photograph during our 1.5-hour session. Per request, the majority of shots were largely informal, with most poses forming naturally with only a little pre-guidance from me. I have found with not only my wedding portraits but individual shoots that giving subjects general direction for poses, without specifically telling them “put your hand/foot here or there” too much works very well for relaxing everyone and making photographs that are more organic. Continue Reading
After three short portrait sessions with friends (first two here and here!), I can say I’ve gotten just about enough experience in portraiture to be a little dangerous during a photo shoot.
Finagling how to balance flash with ambient light, place light sources, and pose a subject are three areas I am still working on, but in all three of my short sessions, I have learned new skills in varying scenarios. The first with Matt Simmons saw me working under different-colored fluorescent light, then under the shade during a bright day. The second with Ashley Montgomery let me experiment with balancing flash with the sun to create highlights from the now two light sources, and figure out some feminine poses. Finally, my most recent shoot with Melissa Moberg challenged me to constantly adapt to ambient light levels that quickly dropped from sunset to twilight.
It’s never easy, is it? Continue Reading
Whew, three posts in one week? I almost feel like it’s last summer again! Continuing my portraiture practice with friends before I shoot a full-on wedding, I got some experience with poses of the more feminine variety just yesterday. This time, all of my photographs were made outside on a particularly sunny day, which presented its unique set of challenges to create more flattering light. Luckily, in addition to my triple-speedlighted umbrella, I experimented with both a handheld diffusion panel as well as a B+W 3-stop neutral density filter that I have on hand. The former turns the sun into a soft light source, while the latter cuts down the amount of light that reaches the camera sensor by 8 times, whether flash or ambient. Continue Reading
Now halfway through my most current yearlong photography project (first quarter can be seen here!), the increasingly-varied topics for weeks 14-26 in my Project 52 made for some challenges in going out in the “Snowmageddon” winter that plagued much of the United States. Thankfully, the worst of it all is past, and rarely does it dip into sweater weather anymore in Kentucky. In an effort to keep with my original goal, all the shots in my project are captured with the Sony NEX-7, and with my recent exploration into studio lighting, I have new ways to light my photographs like never before. That said, descriptions accompany all the following images:
Nikon 105mm, ISO 100, f/16, 8 Seconds
When I had to pick a subject representing my favorite food, I realized that I couldn’t come to any one decision on a dish that I craved more than any other. So in an effort to make the choice a little easier, I picked my favorite meal of the day. Though many in the world today skip breakfast to save time in the morning, I find making an effort to get filled up on all the right stuff rewarding in its own right for the health and energy benefits. It is all about balance, though. If I do not offset those toaster strudels with good choices like fruit and wheat cereal, I would only be making it harder on myself. Continue Reading
Whew! It’s hard to believe it has been just over three months since my last post here. Though I continue to update my G+ and Facebook pages consistently, the past three months of finishing a degree have made finding the time to write new content for this site nearly impossible.
Of course, with my photo gigs spread out here and there, I have always had the chance to make photographs, so at least I have not lost my edge, creatively speaking. Continue Reading
Structured photo challenges are a great way to focus a photographer’s creativity towards specific subjects or assignments. Last years’ Project 52 with a local photography group was my first foray into this year-long event, and I did not want it to be my last! In fact, I considered to undergo a project 365 this year, but my semester of student teaching kept me indoors and working almost all day, every day. But I could manage one photograph a week, of course. After all, there are weekends to enjoy! As such, this is the first of four quarters of my most recent project 52 that will span most of 2014. These photographs span from early November to just a few days ago, and since I am not sharing an entire year, I can elaborate on each photograph’s theme and backstory a bit more.
So let’s kick it off with week one. All photographs captured with the Sony NEX-7. Click on each photograph for a larger 2000×1333 size:
Nikon 85mm, ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/2000
The first topic for my project was typical for the season, asking for an autumn photograph right when most of the foliage in Kentucky was at peak color. Oak trees have a particularly warm color when they begin to change, and when they are backlit by an equally-warm sunset, the overall aesthetic is pretty cozy. The f/2.8 aperture helps blur out the rest of the sky and treeline in the background just enough to give the subject leaves the necessary “pop”. Continue Reading