Friday, June 24, 2011

Bee Happy!!!!

My birthday came a month earlier this year!  For my 39th birthday, I got a Nikkor 50mm 1.8 G AF-S, ummm, a new prime lens for my camera!  I have only taken 269 photos (and kept very few) with it so far, but I know I will love it.  It is faster at Autofocus and quieter than my other lenses, but more importantly--at 1.8 aperture it can let in a whole lot more light than my kit lenses.  That means a shallow DOF (depth of field), too, so I am going to have to get a lot better at choosing my focal point.

The depth of field will be tricky because it can get so narrow that only one tiny flower is in focus.
f/2.0  1/640  ISO 100    50mm!  No crop
I'm not sure of the value of only ONE tiny flower in focus, but that is what textures are for, right?  To fix my errors?
1/800  f/2.2   ISO 100   50mm!
Just kidding.  I know--textures are for enhancing, not fixing photos (though sometimes they just do!)  But the photo above didn't really need fixing--it needed pixel bender, but with PSE6 I'm not sure it is worth downloading.   Anyway, it will take some practice for me to be able to focus where I want and I'll have to give up some of my light at times for everything I want to be in focus to be in focus, but I'll get the hang of it!

One other thing I really like about it is that I can be so much closer to my subject and still get a lock on focus.  I haven't looked up the amounts exactly; it is probably only a feet or two, but right now with my zoom lens 55-200 4.0-5.6, I am always backing up to get a focus lock.  I apparently like to be close AND zoomed in.  Here is an example:
1/320   f/6.3    ISO 100     200mm
Now thankfully my camera has lots of pixels, so I can crop in and still get the shot I really want.
Well, almost.  Still having trouble capturing a bee exactly as I want.  Now the plus of this is the depth of field was a little larger, so easier to get the right amount of stuff in focus AND I got to stand a ways away from the bee.  However, I still had fun trying to capture some more bee shots with my new lens.
1/400     f/2.5    ISO 100    50mm!
Now I still chose to crop in a little and this is about as close as I could get and still get a focus lock, but still it will give me some new flexibility once I get the hang of it all.
As you can tell, the bee is a little fuzzy on the focus because of my small DOF, but those things move awfully fast!  This is definitely a user error as opposed to a limitation of the lens--a slightly narrower aperture and making up the light difference with a slightly slower shutter speed or ISO at 200 might have captured the bee in focus.  I'll have to go try tomorrow (these bees are swarming the wild rose bush in our front yard and before photography that might have been a problem--not anymore!)  The lens itself focuses really fast--I know some people find it slow, but they must not remember the speed of the cheapest zoom and their kit lens.  It is also quiet--at first I wasn't sure if it was changing focus at all.

So the main reason I wanted the lens was to be able to capture lower light indoor shots.  I didn't get much chance to practice that yet as my usual models went to bed.  Getting the handle of where I need to be to use the lowest possible aperture indoors and still have my whole child in focus (a selective focus on the nose will not be very useful even if it does work for flowers) will take some time.  But I have time.  I don't get another new lens for a very long time now!

Here is one example of today's indoors evening shot with some natural light of the best husband ever--did I mention the birthday present was from him?  I didn't just buy it for myself; I wouldn't do that though I might hint and beg until it came a month early!
1/160    f/1.8     ISO 400     50mm!  No flash  Ran Ashley's Action Nice and Easy--no other edit
And he cooks, too!



Anonymous said...

Awesome photos. I love the bee photos. Happy Birthday what a great present!

Lynda said...

Beautiful shots and macros! I never get tired of seeing photos of flowers! The 2nd and 4th shots of the bee is especially amazing!

Ashley Sisk said...

These are so awesome and Happy Birthday! I love selective focus.

Leovi said...

great photos, with those beautiful flowers no wonder they are happy bees.

Physibeth said...

I love that first shot. That look of just one flower in focus is one of my favorites. So beautiful. I'm jealous...this is the lense I want to get too and probably won't be able to until Christmas.

Tiffany said...

Lovely shots...all of them:)


Marla said...

These are awesome. i love my nifty fifty. :)

Marla @

Henrietta said...

I have been thinking to buy lens like that but if focal point is so small I have to think it twice do I really need it.....hmm
Happy birthday and great pictures.