January 01, 2002

Miranda & Trav Indoors (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

My first indoor session for 2002 was motivated by both the desire to photograph, and the chance to test some equipment. My favourite 35mm camera lens for indoor figure and portrait work is an 85mm lens; I have tried 100mm lenses, and found them just too long for what I was seeking. With this session, I was using an ultra-fast 85mm f/1.2 lens - more then twice as fast as my current 85mm lens, and far higher quality. In addition to permitting me to work handheld in low light, the ultra-large aperture of this lens also would give me selective focus like never before. While I have worked with narrow focus before in my indoor work, I always had to work very close to the models to get
the narrow focus I sought; with this lens, I hoped to be able to pick out a single element of the image to be in focus, and have all other parts out of focus.
35mm negative
Even before I started working, I had decided the session would be only in colour; the de-focused effect is particularly striking in colour, and I wanted to make it as much the focus of the images as possible. I had thought this session would be with Miranda alone, but as it turned out, her partner, Trav, was also available to model, so it quickly shifted into a couple's session. As we were working at their apartment, the set-up was different from how I usually work, with the light coming across the bed, rather then from the far side of it.
35mm negative
The fast lens was wonderful to work with; I could see the shallow depth of field through the lens, and quickly grew used to how close I had to be to get the effect I was seeking. While there were a good number of successful images from the session, one of the strongest was totally dependent upon the narrow depth of field provided by this stunning lens. Trav was lying on his back, with Miranda behind him; even at f/2, there was too much definition in Miranda's torso for my liking, but wide open, the image was beautiful. This image could never have been made with my normal 85mm f/2 lens.
35mm negative
Without a doubt, this was a great beginning to the year; I always struggle with colour, but I was really pleased with the results; the tonality is what I was looking for, and the warmth of the models against the white surrounding worked well to pull the images forward. Working with the borrowed 85mm lens reiterated to me how important good tools are, if you can take advantage of them. I am not sure if the 85mm lens will make it into my toolset, but even if it doesn't, the possibilities it introduced to my work are good to know of.

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