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.


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.



That Creative Dip

We all hit it every now and then, if we are engaged in some creative endeavour: the dip. The block. The point when we think “I am bored with this, I have done it all. I cannot come up with anything new, creative or fun. I’m done, and moving on”.


Blocked? No you’re not! You are just bored. And delayed. Temporarily. Your muse will return.

So how do you deal with this in the interim?

By making it new. Get inspired! Do things like:

  • Have a good night’s sleep. Or two. Start there!
  • Realize you are not alone. Entire web sites are dedicated to Creative Block.
  • Google photographs of the type you like. Read some of the back stories.
  • Read some photography magazines.
  • Learn something new. A new type of photography; a new technique.
  • Read photo books.
  • Carry a notepad and immediately write down what inspires you.
  • Get my books from Amazon or from http://learning.photography.
  • Set yourself challenges. Like “shoot only B&W for a week”, or “Focus manually for a week”, or “take only wide angle pictures for a week”.
  • Join a meetup group, like Brantford Photography School.
  • Contact your friends who like photography, and go for a walk around town, do some street photography.
  • Do macro photography indoors. Do whatever photography you have not done.
  • Binge Watch Netflix for an entire weekend—then get on with it.

There are many ways you can re-kindle your enthusiasm. Look for the ones that resonate for you, and, as said: get on with it. There’s lots to do.

There’s been 12 billion years before you when you were not here, and before our universe collapses or freezes, there’ll be another 12 billion years—you and I are just here for a few decades. Enjoy them.


Adobe Bug Redux

It’s even worse than I thought. It appears that Adobe deliberately caused the “Lightroom [etc] will not start” issue!

This apparently from Adobe:

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So Adobe installer screws up the folder owner/rights; then Adobe causes their apps to refuse to start when it detects the issue. And they give no information: the fix (below) is out there, but you have to Google to find it.

Absurd that Adobe can do this: stop people’s business cold, deliberately. A bug is inevitable and forgivable, but a deliberate decision to not allow the app to start when they detect it, is unforgivable.

Almost enough to give mega-corporations a bad name.

Oh wait.