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Tired of f/1.4

February 22, 2010

I admit it. I’m a prisoner of wide open apertures. It creates drama, in part, by making portions of a picture veiled and inaccessible (the wider the app, the shallower the depth of field). The photographer gets to control you see by making you focus on what they want. But they (and by that I mean me) tease you a bit with the blurred background. You might see something there, but it’s more of a suggestion of an image.

Scarlet Tea RoomTea at The Scarlet Tea Room in Pasadena. We were parked in a corner so ambient light wasn’t great.  And I refuse to use a flash in a restaurant.

And to be honest, I’m a bit guilty of over doing it. But the other reason I’m almost always parked in f/1.x range is because I’m almost always trying to take shots in very low light – wide open =’s more light. During the day, I’m parked in an office doing all manner of work not at all related to blogging, food, and/or photography. By the time I’m out the door in the morning or walking in at night, the sun isn’t out and I’m taking shots under three different types of light bulbs in a granite-lined kitchen. Yes, a lighting rig for photography is high on the ‘must buy’ list. But for now I make do.

Xmas 09Mom’s cherry and apple pies at Christmas. Lots of dramatic direct light.  The wide open app on this was on purpose.  I wanted to make it seem like the cherry was sneaking up on the apple ala film noir.  A bit overdone. But fun.

I’ve been going through a lot of my photos lately and have been a wee bit disappointed. Tons of narrowly focused shots where about 75% or more of the image was blurred out in a shallow depth of field. Even with the stuff that’s shot outdoors on weekends at the markets. Bad habits, I think. That and lazy photography. So this weekend, I got bold. Daring even.

I shot in f/5 or above almost the whole time. I know! I’m a woman on the edge. I’ve done this before – a few years back I spent a week shooting the whole range of apertures on each of my lenses to teach myself how to better use them.  But it’s been a while since I’ve ventured past F/2.  The results, of which there were many, were mixed. I have a lot of relearning to do. But a few images made me smile because they achieved mostly what I wanted – a nice, mostly in focus picture, without a lot of distracting and overdone background fuzz.

pasadena 2-20-10Cauliflower is all about texture – from the leaves to the head.  Wanted to capture it all.  And I think I did.

pasadena 2-20-10Artichokes have so much to say from top to bottom with all those layers.  Wanted to get most of the leaves in focus.  Score #2.

pasadena 2-20-10I asked the vendor to stand behind these to block the direct sunlight – they would have been blown out otherwise.  Didn’t want to lose the texture of the roots. This was a tougher shot, in part because the vendor had to go help customers and I’d patiently wait for her to come back (she always did, bless her), but also because I had a bunch of people who wanted to know what the big deal was (green garlic, the first of the season) and when they figured it out, surprise, they wanted to buy some.  So I couldn’t linger and play with my settings the way I would have liked to.  I want to get the shot, but I also want to stay in good graces with the people working the market.  I don’t want to become part of the mad world of vegetable paparazzi.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. diane toomey permalink
    February 22, 2010 4:27 PM

    gorgeous!!!
    I never know what green garlic looked like. I would have called it leeks. eeeks!
    How do I purchase a print of that cauliflower? It positively buzzes!

  2. March 19, 2010 7:03 PM

    Is it wrong that I *do* want to become part of the mad world of vegetable paparazzi? They’re so beautiful. I just want to follow them and take pictures of them all day. Preferably in various states of undress.

    Lovely photos, by the way. Especially love the green garlic.

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