Falling in love with the 50mm focal length


Like many photographers, I carry a 50mm lens in my bag.

It’s the focal length I learned on, and it’s like that because it’s the most developed lens of all time.

You can shoot portraits with it. You can shoot landscapes or an interior or two.

So it’s versatile. The one I have isn’t the top of the line model. But it’s decent glass. Coupled with a Canon 5D Mark III, it’s probably a little better than it was with my Mark II.

I stayed away from it for a long time, because shooting it wide open at f1.4 was somewhat impossible. Focus always missed and I’m the kind of guy that wants my focus point sharp. Super sharp. That’s my thing.

But if I shoot at f2.0, I can nail my focus and still get sweet-ass bokeh that we all love.

I hate picking up an Anthropologie catalog and seeing the images soft, but the reason they are used is because they are pretty. But if it’s out of focus, any old fucker could have taken that photo, right? And, yes, Anthropologie is the worst about hiring crap photographers that are somehow passed off as good because their product is beautiful and they’re so in love with it that they let anything pass as good.

While I have gear envy for the $1600 version of the lens, the $400 version fits my needs fine for now. I’m seriously considering buying up all the prime USM lenses to throw in my bag and toss all of my zoom lenses. Prime lenses are made for their focal length and that’s it.

Anyway, just thought I’d pass along this info … just for you.





Whoops, I forgot to post the most exciting of the Def Leppard t-shirt shots


Our shoot with this lovely makeup artist ended with a hilarious encounter with an older, drunk, latino ice cream peddler who was pining for a photograph with Chelsea … and then another one with Tina.

We knew he was drunk from the smell of his breath, the slur of his words and the little bag of various cans of beer, including Milwaukee’s Best. Chelsea showed her sense or humor well, and was able to scrape together a solid prom-style pose with him, despite his creepiness.

For lighting, we primarily used this portable Chimera beauty dish and I mixed use of our Canon 5D Mark III using a 50mm lens at f2.0. or our Hasselblad H3DII-31 with 80mm lens at f5.6.


Well, slit my wrists! I watched the movie August: Osage County over the weekend


Over the weekend, Tina and I watched a nasty black comedy called, August: Osage County, and man, it was a real downer.

But a downer in a good way.

It stars Meryl StreepJulia RobertsEwan McGregorChris CooperAbigail BreslinBenedict CumberbatchJuliette LewisMargo MartindaleDermot Mulroney, and Julianne Nicholson

The performances and lighting were worth the viewing. The pace and the weight of the content was near perfect, if you find perfection in a bit of heart-wrenching, family drama, pain, torture and anger.

If you finish the movie and don’t liken the experiences in the film to ones in your own family, I’m not sure I want to know you. I’m not saying your family is as screwed up as the family depicted in the movie, but I’m damn sure there better be some correlations.

There’s betrayal, lies, infidelities, exposure, anger, yelling, truth telling, throwing dishes, temper tantrums, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and that’s just the first 10 minutes.

I’m not making this recommendation to all of you. Just the ones who give a shit about good filmmaking, story telling and stories without resolve. What is real life but a story without resolve.


Sometimes you get hired to do a special announcement

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We were hired recently to shoot a special announcement for a special delivery coming in November.

The open window we had to shoot was 1 p.m., which in case you didn’t know, isn’t ideal for photographing many things.

So I took our couple into the shade of a tree and made the sunlight look like morning light. Or dusk.

Then adding a bit of a lens flare gave the image that bit of something special.