In order to give my new lens some workout I dragged my wife and daughter outside for some shooting. Summer is over (was it ever even here?) and we’re getting some autumn colours on the trees. We don’t have any great places for shooting this kind of stuff anywhere close but I was itching to shoot something.
Knowing my daughter, I didn’t want any fancy setups, just keep it as small and portable as possible. In all of these shots my wife is hand holding a Lastolite trigrip and a LP160. It really doesn’t get much more portable than that and it’s easy enough for one assistant to handle without the need for any light stands or similar. It can also be folded away within seconds. If you plan on doing any amount of traveling and still want a light source that can produce soft light, this is it.
Portability was definitely the right choice in this instance; just as we got outside a light drizzle began and it wasn’t exactly warm either. I had to work fast in order not to lose my girls’ attention before I could get what I wanted. Ah yes, what I wanted; I wanted to shoot wide open (after all, soft bokeh was the main motivation for getting this lens) while still adding my own light to the scene. It turned out that it almost didn’t work. Here’s the thing: my camera’s sync speed is 1/200, which lets in plenty of light on an overcast day. Shooting wide open (f1.8) obviously also lets in a lot of light. The only thing I can do on top of that to limit the light is to set my ISO as low as possible (100). With those settings in place I just barely got it down to a proper exposure but I would have liked to have the ambient slightly under exposed. Of course that could have been easily accomplished by stopping down a bit but I was set on shooting wide open to test the lens. There are ways around these limitations but they all cost more money…go figure.
Even though the physical limitations didn’t allow me to shoot exactly the way I wanted to, the results were decent. One thing that could have been improved upon was the wardrobe choice; a combination of white and shiny fabric? That’s just begging for blown highlights, unless you can control the light better. After some work in Lightroom I got things under control but I prefer to avoid that kind of editing if it can be avoided by simply using a different sweater.
While we were shooting my daughter a couple of kids walked past and one of them asked what we were doing – I don’t know who he was but my best guess would be the son of Caption Obvious. He also asked if I could take his picture so I made two quick frames of him. Unfortunately I forgot to ask for an email address so I have no way of actually sending him the photo. I’m guessing the chance of him, or someone who knows him, reading this is about as big as that of a penguin developing flight and making it all the way to one of Saturn’s moons with an anvil tied around the ankle – i.e. slim.
Enough ranting, hope you like the photos, see you next time.