Wednesday, August 8, 2012

wendy and ed wedding

"Are you here for the Carnival Wedding?"  That is what the museum attendant asked me upon arriving at Ed and Wendy's wedding (they were married at a small Art Museum in Milwaukee.)  I think it was in response to the fact that they had lawn games, face painting, a costume filled photo booth, and a charactercher artist for their reception.  Even with all of that, this was one of the best locations I have shot a wedding at; with lots of character in the building, and great settings like a terrace, gardens, and big (since it was outside) I had a great quantity of light, that's good if used right.

Figuring out how to use the harsh noon light was something I have been working on for a while.  Proof that practice before pays off when you need it.  I knew that I needed to keep my subjects in the shade as much as possible.  To do this, I utilized parasols, garden foliage, and overhangs.  It was also helpful that by the the time we got the the reception, the balcony that we were using was in open shade (shade created by a building, but nothing above.) 

Some more great light came in the evening, when I could use back light to create drama.  Below is natural back light from the setting sun, and for the dancing I used my flash for a similar effect.

You may remember their pre-wedding portraits: their first "fun" set here, and then the "serious" set here.  These two are a joy to photograph, and a joy to spend the day with.  "Carnival Wedding" probobly doesn't explain it right, but it was a lot of fun!

Thanks again Ed and Wendy.


Monday, August 6, 2012

50mm as a nature lens

The other weekend, I took part in a challenge for a photo group (with Black Hawk Church) to limit ourselves to a 50mm lens and work on foreground elements.  The 50mm lens (by tradition) is the most standard lens on film cameras.  On some digital cameras, it turns into something similar to a 75mm and is therefore a great portraits lens (look up crop frame sensors if you are unfamiliar) so you may need a 35mm for the same field of view as I am talking about.  This is the lens (either a 35mm or a 50mm) I think everyone should get if they are thinking of upgrading their kit lens (the one that came with the camera) and is a great lens to learn about composition and how to move as a photographer.  Oh, and it is cheep as far as lenses go: $100-$200!

So, the point of this exercise was to limit ourselves, try and work on a foreground element, and have an excuse to get out.  So we met at a great State Park.

By the half way point I was wondering if the 50mm lens was really a nature lens for my taste at all.  I was constantly wanting more compression (like what I would get with a telephoto lens) or more near/far exaggeration (like with a wider angle.)

But like any time I limit myself with only one lens, I have to find what that lens can do well and use it to its strength.  I soon was seeing what this focal length would see, and pushing myself to make photos, instead of finding them.

I am realizing that I am not a nature photographer.  Well, I like nature, but I like human elements in my nature photos.  Like the nature is the scene that this person is enjoying...or like the person is the subject of my sentence, and the nature element is the adjective.  (But that is another subject entirely.)  So, I feel like the 50mm was able to perform for me in this respect.

I am not sure if I will do this 50mm only exercise again (by myself that is) but I do like the exercise and I really do like carrying only a small camera setup.  I was never weighed down, and felt like I was free to hike, and enjoy nature more.  I will have to try other focal lengths sometime too.

Now, if we are talking portraits, this lens goes up a little in my book.  In fact, one weekend I shot an entire (almost) portrait session with just a 50mm.  See that here.