85mm f/1.2 all the way

One of my favourite lenses is the Canon 85mm f/1.2 lens. 

A prime lens forces you to think about composition. It also allows you to blur backgrounds beautifully. And to shoot in low light. It is also consistent: prime means “set up one shots and all similar shots are the same w.r.t. things like depth of field and tolerance of motion blur”.

85 is a short telephoto lens, which is great for portraits. You can get close without getting too close, and you need no great big spaces. Perfect length.


You can make images with extremely shallow depth of field. Especially when you choose to get close:


This lens is great for outdoors portraits, but also indoors.

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You get a typical compressed telephoto look—without it being extreme.


The 85mm f/1.2 is sharp, very sharp.

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It is very sharp, with beautiful bokeh, and the manual focus mechanism, being electronic, is the smoothest I have used, ever. Yes, it autofocuses also.

This is my favourite lens now, I am safe in saying. For many purposes: not just portraits. More later.


PS I am doing a studio lighting workshop tomorrow, Sunday 1 May. Just saying. I need signups to go ahead, but not many—it is limited to 4 participants.


Learning Flash: Two New Opportunities

A good knowledge of flash lighting is the key to artistic and other professional photography. Good news: I have two new opportunities for Flash learning!

Outdoors flash: essential for artistic photos

Both of these hands-on courses will be held in (or as the case may be, outside of) my Brantford studio.

Sunday May 1, 11AM: Studio Shooting

Sunday May 22, 11AM: Mastering Outdoors Flash

Both have limited availability: 4 and 7 students maximum, respectively. So sign up, and meet you in Brantford, 20 minutes west of Hamilton.

Raw facts

..and another reason to shoot RAW: several functions in Adobe Lightroom do not work, or do not work consistently, when you shoot JPG pictures.

These include

  • Generating  the XML files that optionally copy the information separately for each picture in the catalog;
  • Profile corrections in Lens Corrections.

There’s probably more. So if you needed more reasons to shoot RAW, there you go.

On another note: how many flashes do you need for creative flash photos?

One. Like here. A speedlight with a Honlphoto honeycomb grid attached to it.


Or two:


And there you go!

Left right left right

Did you know that we are left- or right eared and eyed just as much as we are left- or right-handed? Odd thing, the brain.

Why is this important? Because of how you look through your camera. If, like me, you use your left eye, your right eye looks at the back of the camera. If you use your right eye, you have to squeeze your left eye shut, or you can use it to get an overview of the scene.

What are you? The vast majority is right-eyed and -eared, or if left handed, the opposite. Some, like me, are right agreed but left eared and left eyed.

Check it out now. How do you look through your camera?

Tonight I am talking about Creative Flash at tthe Etobicoke camera club. Check it out. Humber Valley United Church … Islington & Rathburn. $5 for non members. See you there perhaps?



Photography and you and me

Here’s how it all started:


And still, we learn. Last night:


Only I was not upside down. Thank WordPress and its tablet interface.

the meeting, attended by 100 photography enthusiasts, was about the Photographer’s Workflow. I outlines best practices and tricks and tips. Fun.

Interested? See me Monday evening at the Etobicoke Camera Club, teaching Creative Flash.