I’ve taken a couple classes from you and have enjoyed them both. I’m still very much a beginner and still learning about my camera.
I use a Nikon d5000 and my question is, if you were going to add a lens to my kit lens which I have, would it be a 50mm (nifty fifty)? I take pictures mainly of my 4 year old daughter and have been reading about different lenses.
Any suggestions on lenses or where to buy would be greatly appreciated.
It’s good to hear from you. Personally, I’d buy the 70-300mm or 70-200mm before I’d buy the 50mm.
Shooting with the 50mm means your daughter has to be somewhat still and you have to be close to her to fill the frame. Use the 70-300mm or the 70-210mm and she can be running around the playground while you’re sitting on a bench and photographing her. There’s distance between you and the subject. You don’t have to be right in her face all the time.
The 50mm is a great lens for studio work. It’s not the greatest for outdoor or shooting in the living room. I know a lot of people promote it on the internet but you can get the same results with the other lenses.
I have the 50mm and I always grab my 70-200mm first. Here’s an example why:
Recapping, the 50mm f/1.4 lens gives a great bokeh or blown-out-background. Yet, if you shoot it at f/1.4 the depth-of-field is super shallow. The lens should be used at an f/stop appropriate for the subject. You’ll also need to get closer to the subject than with the 70-200mm lens.
Hope that helps. I’d let you borrow my 50mm if you used a Canon. It doesn’t get much use.
My friend, Patti Edens, and I spent the evening at Magical Winter Lights in LaMarque, Texas, last week.
The lighted displays were a lot of fun to photograph. As you see from the slideshow below, there were huge and amazing lighted objects to photograph. We had our cameras on a tripod and used an f/22 most of the time.
A different display was a lighted cube. It was pink, red, and purple outside but filled with disorienting colors inside.
Outside the cube was a huge silhouette of a potbellied man. The words “In the city where beauty and pain integrate, I am the most perfect stain,” by Fan J.
How funny to see a huge pink cube in the middle of a lighted holiday display. Yet the cube captivated our eyes.
Camera settings were pretty basic. Camera on a tripod, set at Aperture Priority, f/22, and ISO in a moderate range like 400 or 500. For the silhouette photos, we just stood pretty still.
For this GIF, though, we used a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the walking. That meant changing the f/stop to a f/4.5 giving a shutter speed of 1/40th. The shutter speed gave us a bit of blur but not too much.
Fun playing with lights and our cameras.
(Instructions how to make a GIF are in December 6, 2017 blog post on this site.)
A lot of holiday light displays are using lights that simulate motion. I visited the Magical Winter Lights display in LaMarque Texas with my friend Patti Edens. We found lots of fun lights to photograph but also a lot of light that could make GIFs.
If you shoot RAW, then make JPGs from the images you want to use in your GIF.
Here’s how to do it:
Open Photoshop and click on Files>Scripts>Load Files Into Stack….
Select Browse and select the photos for your GIF. Then click OK. Photoshop will open the images in a series of layers.
Click on Window>Timeline. The Timeline window opens along the bottom of your screen.
In the Timeline window, select Create Frame Animation. One photo appears on the left side of the Timeline window.
Click Select>All Layers
Click the little, tiny dropdown menu at the top right of the Timeline window. (It’s really tiny. Look for it in the corner.) Select Create New Layer For Each New Frame.
Click the same menu again and select Make Frames From Layers
Under each frame select how long you want that frame to be visible.
At the bottom of the toolbar, you can select how many times you want to the GIF to loop. The options are once, three times, or forever.
Push the play button to preview the GIF. The play button is a sideways triangle.
When ready, click File>Export>Save for Web (Legecy)
Your save options include dithered GIF. That prevents banding in solid colors.
Then upload your GIF to the web or use in a Powerpoint presentation.
As photographers we often say we travel to create incredible images. In reality, though, I think we travel to learn.
I had the wonderful opportunity to lead a photo tour to Andalusia and Barcelona Spain this past October. We arrived in the country right as Barcelona was scheduled to have a vote to secede from Spain. The vote took place and the majority of people who went to the polls voted to leave. (I’ve selected my words carefully because this was a very complicated election.)
When my group arrived in Barcelona days later the voting was over but the politics remained. People in Barcelona showed their side in the debate by hanging a flag from their balcony. Flags for Spain, secession, or Catalonia seemed to be everywhere. Neighbors were divided and we could see the division by the flags hanging from apartment balconies and across narrow street.
Yet, as we walked the streets of the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona we got a glimpse of Spanish history.
I saw those 80-year old bullet holes and it reminded me that ideological divisions between neighbors can eventually lead to armed conflict. Our guide told us that the bullet holes have been left in this church as a reminder to what happens when neighbor goes against neighbor.
I was reminded once again that we travel to learn — not just to take photos.
I’m working through the thousands of photos I took in Spain during my recent photo tour to Andalusia and Barcelona.
Buildings were our most common subject. Often it was hard to get right in front of the building. Many times we were shooting straight up when we really needed to be higher like on the second floor of the building across the street.
The Transform tool in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom is really coming in handy.
Take a look at this before and after:
The Transform tool is activated in the photo above and ready to go.
Transform tool to the rescue.
Have you used the Transform tool? Does it work well for you?