In preparation to our holiday, I bought a new lens. I bought the Nikon 50mm f/1.8D lens. This is a prime lens, which means it has only one focal length (50mm). Since the lens only has one focal length it is possible to get better quality for the lens, while keeping the price low. A zoom lens with the same quality will be 10 times more expansive…
The reason why I wanted to have this lens now, is that we will most likely visit some caves during our holiday. In those caves there will be lights and I want to avoid using the flash, so that I can see the lights on my photos. I think that it will be possible with this lens.
The lens itself is very small, very light (especially compared to the 17-200mm zoom lens I have) and the pictures should be very sharp. The problem of this lens on my camera is that the auto focus doesn’t work. All right, that is not a problem but an opportunity to improve my manual focus skills.
Taking picture inside my house last evening turned out to be very easy and successful, no need for a flash, just set the aperture to 1.8, the ISO to 400 or 800 and I can still handhold the camera with a shutter speed of 1/60 of a second, just great! I don’t have any photo worthy to share, but they will come.
A couple of weeks ago I went to a workshop which focused on monkey photography, this workshop was given by Jan Vermeer in the Apenheul. This was the first photography workshop I ever attended and so I can’t compare with other workshops, so I will focus on what I enjoyed and what I learned.
It is great to be able to spend a whole day inside the zoo and photograph the monkeys. We didn’t go through the whole park, but focused on just a few monkeys. This way we could spend an hour or more with each type of monkey so that we could photograph a lot and had the time to study their behaviour, try different techniques and ask questions. Jan constantly gave us tips, some I already knew, others I didn’t know, but it is great to be reminded of these tips. So here is a list of tips for photographing monkeys, portraiture, and basically any other type of photography.
- Keep the eyes in the shot and in focus. When making a portraiture, it can be awkward to not have eyes in the photo, or only out of focus eyes. So try to always keep the eyes in focus, not the nose, not the eyebrows, but the eyes.
- Watch the background and the edges. A photo can be ruined by someone with a red jacket in the background, or reflected in a window. Also someone or something on the edge of the frame that should be there can be very disturbing.
- Watch your exposure settings, especially the ISO. As you should know, the ISO is the sensitivity of the sensor and a higher ISO number makes it easier to take a photograph in low light conditions. Of course I knew this, but I always forgot that I could change the ISO. During the workshop I learned to watch the ISO a lot and now I am used to look at it more often.
- Shoot in the shadows and not in direct sunlight. Direct sunlight is a very harsh light and it is difficult to take good photographs with it. It is easier to shoot in the shadows, the light is more defused and photos will look better.
- Go out and make photograph as much as you can. The more you go out, the easier it gets to take good photographs.
That is it for today. See you next time…