50mm luck

The 50mm group has a bi-monthly contest. I threw a photo in and won. My lucky day!

yellow flower backlit

Yellow flower backlit
Point Lobos, California

Nikon D70, Lensbaby 2.0, Tokina macro adapter
DxO (lighting, noise), Adobe RAW, nik (pro contast), Photoshop (flipped)
1/800sec @ f/5.4, iso 200, 50mm (75mm)

The key to this shot was a simple vertical flip. I used a small aperture on my Lenbaby to get a little blurring on the edges of the shot. Besides when you are focused this close, you really need as much depth of field as possible.

Unfortuantely, according to new rules I can no longer submit my Lensbaby shots. Whew! Just under the wire. 🙂


I should have read the rules of the contest. Apparently I have to judge the next conference and my selection was overdue!

The subject was “woman” and have a look at the submissions:

My choice

I chose this one:

Judging is really tough and a matter of taste (of which I have none). But FWIW, here are my reasons.

The composition (close-cropped) is rather daring. It still clearly captures the subject (a woman) and yet violates nearly every rule I know about photographing women: Instead of hiding blemishes, the blemish is emphasized; there is nothing on the thirds (besides the nose, maybe; instead of softening the skin and sharpening the eyes, everything is sharpened.

And yet it works for me. I guess it’s mostly because the natural top lighting and me being a sucker for black and white photography. (Why do some photographers admire the sort of photography they can’t do?)

My only real complaint is that the photo bw conversion lacks the dynamic range of a real black and white. In particular, because it is digital, the skin is especially blown out. But I can live with that.

The photographer seems to shoot this model a lot. One of my favorite is how he gives her a Japanese anime haircut and then crops it like a movie still:

The dead giveaway that it isn’t a videocamera still is the 18mm APS-C (29mm equiv) focal length. On a videocamera you can’t get this wide without an adapter and there’d be no separation of the subject from the background due to depth-of-field. Again, the photo is blown out because of the mixed lighting, but the contrast on the eyes are spot on so it isn’t an exposure problem, it’s a digital one.

Yeah, Ryan, I didn’t pick your shot which I’ve favorited before. I picked some Canon guy instead (Does this mean I have to turn in my Nikon zealot card?). Like I said, I’m a big sucker for black and white. 😀

One thought on “50mm luck

  1. Damn you!

    Kidding, here’s my comment from the lensbaby thread:

    A lensbaby is a 50mm lens, just a specialized kind. Keep in mind that this group is open to all 50mm lenses, whether it’s a Canon 50mm macro (very different pictures from a standard 50), a 50mm on an APS camera, where it becomes a short tele, or a Hassy 50mm medium format lens, which is wide angle. That’s like saying a Canon 24mm tilt-shift lens doesn’t belong in the 28mm or wider group because it does tricky things.

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