Photography

Yosemite in Winter

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Matt bought me a 35mm f/2 Nikkor lens for Christmas – I’ve wanted this lens for a long time so he was kind enough to get it for me.   We spent a few days in the Yosemite National Park area over the Christmas break, so I couldn’t wait to try it out. 

We stayed at the Tenaya Lodge at the southern entrance which was all decked out for the holidays, and one day that was filled with blue skies we drove into the National Park where we walked all around in our snow boots through the woods. 

winter branches in yosemite park

 

The 35mm Nikkor f/2 lens is another fixed focal length lens like the 50mm I’ve mentioned and it has a low aperture setting for shallow depth of field for getting that cool “bokeh” or blurry effect in the background or foreground.  The aperture on this lens dials all the way up to f/22 for getting some really deep focus too! 

I took this lens with me for the day to see what it could do – here are a few images that I shot on that beautiful winter day.  Anyone who’s ever visited Yosemite Valley knows of the famous Ahwahnee Hotel at the base of a granite cliff – visually stunning anytime of year, but breathtaking in winter.  I love this image, I feel like I could crawl right into it just like you can in their giant walk-in fireplace inside the hotel.   

ahwahnee hotel yosemite winter

 

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A Great Lens for Bokeh

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

On Tuesday night I was having a nice chat with some blog friends (Marian, Maria, and Cathe) at Marian’s book signing in my hometown and we were discussing blogging and photography, and the consensus was a that a 50mm 1.8 lens (or the more expensive 1.4) is a great blogger tool for those desirable beauty shots.

The 50mm is a fixed focal length (or “prime”) lens with wider aperture capability (refer to this post for a more in depth explanation on aperture.)  I bought my 50mm lens last December as an early Christmas present because I wanted the ability to snap pretty close-ups and to take Christmas tree bokeh pictures like this.  The ones with those pretty twinkle light orbs!

twinkle light bokeh

This image was taken with the little bowl of ornaments 7 feet away from the tree of twinkle lights and me positioned another 4 feet away from the bowl.   Camera settings with 50mm lens:  f/stop 1.8,  shutter speed 1/40,  ISO 800.

If you don’t know how to use or change the Manual setting yet, get ready to learn how with these fabulous online videos for visual learners that I’ve mentioned before offered by Shoot Fly Shoot.  Once you know how to change the aperture (or f-stop) to a wider setting, you’re all set to take great holiday bokeh shots, but it only works when you have a lens with that capability.

Kit lenses don’t go below a 3.5 f-stop, so you’ll achieve beautiful bokeh and shallow depth of field when you invest in a lens that allows you to go to a wider aperture of 2.0 or lower numerical setting.  A really nice affordable version is the 50mm f/1.8, offered for both Nikon and for Canon and for less than $125. 50 mm for canon and nikon

 

The lens isn’t just great for those pretty orbs in the background at Christmastime, it’s perfect for all those beauty shots where you want to achieve shallow depth of field beyond your subject matter (where the background or foreground beyond your focal point is blurred).

 

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