Sunday, December 17, 2006


One of my presents to myself this holiday season was the Canon 85mm f/1.2L II lens (reviews here, here, and here). Though newly acquired I won't be taking this monster with me to Italy; but I did manage to play with it for the last week.

I can't offer much more insights than what has already been said about this lens; it produces great images but is insanely heavy and focuses really slowly. I did want to show just how narrow the depth of field is at f/1.2, hence the picture.

One of the things I see often of people (usually amateur photographers) who first use this lens (or any other really fast lens) is to drool over how much of the background is smoothly blurry. Though interesting at first (and maybe for a couple of images) I personally don't feel that a picture with a very blurry background and buttery smooth bokeh in and of itself makes that picture interesting.

Since this lens is considered by many to be the ultimate portrait lens for the Canon EF lineup, the first thing I shot with it was portraits. Here is the first picture I took of Kim with the lens (she wasn't impressed by its massive size) wide open. On Sunday, I did a little shooting in the backyard and ended up with 3 pictures I liked (one, two and three (the last has obviously had some Photoshop work done on it, with the CS3 Beta of course :) )).

One of the other important things to realize is that even if you have a fast lens, many times you still need a flash. I took these two (one, two) pictures earlier this week with the 85L and the 430ex flash which I think helps balance the exposure.

Kim and I will be leaving for Italy tomorrow and will return on January 5th, so I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Technical Specs: Canon 5D, 85mm f/1.2L II, f/1.2, 1/640s, ISO 100.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Killing Shrubs

Our house has a lot of juniper bushes. In fact it has so many that much of the front of the house is blocked by the tall junipers; hence much of the front windows are blocked. Now some people would consider this to be a good thing. Block all light, keep those prying eyes out. Kim and I are not one of these people. Since our house faces south-south-east a majority of the light that comes into the house does so from the front. We generally like light, and I particularly like the ability to look out a window and see who/what is parked on the curb in front of the house.

This particular guy wasn't blocking a window, but it was blocking over half of the pathway to the front door. After weeks irritation, the day finally came on Sunday for his demise. A 1/2 hour later and a reciprocating saw and this is all that is left of the giant bush. The remaining bits are for future fun with a trim saw.

After hacking the bush down I thought the remaining gnarly bits would make an interesting B&W, hence the picture. Incidentally 4102 is our house number. I also have a picture of the entire front of the house I took at the same time.

Technical Specs: Canon 5D, 24-105 @ 105mm, f/8, 1/250s, ISO 200.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Trees and Angels

Well its that time of the year again. Last year I found it difficult to believe it really was the holiday season as I had associated Christmas time with cold, snow and holiday lights. This year is no different with the cold and snow part (still no snow and its quite warm); however now as I drive down the street to get to our house I see many homes alit with decorations and lights.

This past weekend Kim and I put up our tree (actually we have a few more decorations other than the tree). We rushed through it a bit more this time than in previous years. The tree itself is nearly 7 feet tall; something which is not represented well in this picture. I wanted to take a picture of the tree but rather than doing the usual side shot I wanted something just a little different. Actually I was a bit inspired by Mike's last Picture of the Week post about the emotions conveyed in photography.

I have an idea of the emotions this picture conveys to me, but I won't bias your opinions by telling. I'd be curious to hear the emotions evoked by my readers.

I have a few other pictures of our tree on my Picasa Web album.

Technical Specs: Canon 5D, 24-105 @ 24mm, f/5.6, 1/5s, ISO 1600, cross-screen filter.