Vickie sent me a shot of her favorite orchid.
Years ago I had some orchids and they are certainly fun to shoot.
And this is what she said…
“This is my favorite orchid! Playing around with my 50mm lens. First time I have used it.”
I think Donna has shown us the value of a 50mm lens and as with all lenses, each has different attributes. The 50mm lens is small, lightweight, sharp focus and quite versatile. It is a prime lens (as in not a zoom lens) and capable of getting some very shallow depth of field which can be a plus or a minus depending on what you are looking for and is good in low light situations due to the possibility of using a wide aperture. Because it is not a zoom lens, you will have to let your feet do the zooming! I have personally used it for doing food photography to obtain shallow depth of field but it is necessary to experiment with it to choose what you do and do not want in focus.
As with any photo… take lots of shots and vary your f-stop (depth of field) to see what works best. Look at your photos on the computer rather than the back of your camera before deciding on which might be the best. Many times I have looked at a shot on the back of the camera and thought it to be in good focus yet when visualized on the computer screen, I find it is not as I had envisioned it.
Now let’s go back to Vickie’s photo. I was curious as to her settings and with all digital images, we can right click on the image and then click on “properties” and then click on “details” to get this information. This makes learning photography easier than years ago when we did not have this information at our fingertips when shooting film. I see that Vickie’s F-stop was 1.8 which is extremely shallow requiring great care in focusing. The shutter speed was 1/60 second which is acceptable for hand held at this focal length and an ISO 800. Keep in mind, if you are physically too close to your subject, your lens will not be able to focus.
My concern with this image is not the beauty of the flower… as it is a perfect specimen, but I am having a difficult time finding anything in sharp focus. Our eyes want to find something in focus for the most part. I am also a bit bothered by the white area to the bottom right of the image as my eye wants to go there without good reason. Quite frankly, I think this is worth reshooting paying attention to background and angle of view to eliminate the white/bright area from the photo and by adjusting your distance to the flower and shooting at different f-stops for comparison. As with all photography, there is a learning curve and with each lens we use, there is yet more to learn.
Thanks Vickie for your submission and allowing us to learn from this image!
To read more about this, check out this link: