Illuminated Landscapes: Single Focus

As I mentioned in an earlier post, organizing and picking a select few images out of hundreds of photographs can be a daunting task.

Our first method consisted of going through the folder in waves, sorting the pictures into separate folders: Bad, OK, Good, Better Best. This left us with a very disorganized and inconsistent collection in our “Best” folder, so we changed our approach. We picked a theme, and selected the images that were the best fit for that category.

We found it helpful to sort the photos into several groups of similar images.

None of these category titles appear in the book, since text was kept to a minimum.

Instead, I will sort these images right here, in a series of blog posts.

This folder was titled “Single Focus”, and the shots in this folder made liberal use of the shallow depth of field our f1.8 lenses made possible.
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New Lens!

In my last post, I mentioned that I picked up a new lens.

I tried to tone-down my giddy excitement in that last post. I will be letting it all out in this post.

My 18-70mm 3.5-4.5G DX was sharp enough, it was fast enough, it was almost even enough; but damn! 50mm 1.8D prime, you make me so happy!

This is the most inexpensive lens Nikon makes. It is not a cheap lens. It is an inexpensive lens. It doesn’t cost very much, but it takes fantastic pictures.

It opens wide, all the way up to f/1.8, which is about 2 and a half stops better than any of my other lenses. The shallow depth of field this allows has given me a whole new world to explore.
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Photographing My Own Art (New Lens!)

If you like overly broad assumptions, than these next few paragraphs are for you:
There are two types of photographers: those who like to take pictures, and those who obsess over gear.

Some head out early in the morning, venture to remote locations during stormy weather, and wait there, hoping to capture something breathtaking. The others stay at home, count pixels, take pictures of charts, zoom up close and look for flaws in the gear.
(I’m leaving out the third kind: people who downloaded some nifty app for the iphone that automatically filters their images into something cool.)

The photographers who go out and take great images can look down on the gear-porn junkies; they buy all this expensive gear, and never use it to make images worth looking at. The technically minded gear-porn junkies look down at the photographers for buying gear that is 2% less sharp around the edges at certain f-stops while zoomed in all the way, when a better alternative is only two pay-cheques more expensive. And everyone looks down on the iphone photographers, because no one seems to notice that good images are all that matters.

I’m not really a photographer, so I guess I’m safe from being stuck in one of these groups I’ve just invented, but I can certainly understand the appeal of being obsessed with gear. Its objective. It’s easy. Taking a good image is hard. Powerful images have a certain quality that can’t be quantified. In the discussion over what makes an image worth looking at, aesthetics are lost in translation.
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