Experiments with film. Roll 39. Portraiture.
I acquired some fast glass for my Pentax – a 50mm f1.4 lens. It was 2nd hand, with some cleaning marks on the rear element, but after shooting a roll with it I can’t find any complaints. Well, not when it comes to the lens itself anyway …
When photographers talk about fast glass they mean ‘lenses with a wide aperture’. The aperture is the hole in the lens that lets light from the outside world into the camera where it can form a picture on the film or sensor. A large aperture allows much light to enter the camera quickly, which means that it becomes easier to take pictures in environments with little light, among other things.
However, the wider the aperture the narrower the depth of field becomes. Depth of field is the area between too close to be sharp and too far away to be sharp. A photographer can affect how large the depth of field is in the pictures.
Turn down the aperture (small hole) and the depth of field goes up, but at the same time it takes longer for the light to form a picture (which might pose problems if the subject is moving about, or the camera is held by hand rather than being mounted on a tripod).
Turn the aperture up (large hole) and the depth of field goes down, and the film/sensor is flooded with light quickly. In the portrait pictures in this post the background is all blurry, and the subjects are (more or less) in focus and sharp. But I had to discard a whole lot of otherwise nice pictures where I didn’t manage to match the sharp portion of the focus with the interesting bit of the world in front of the camera.
In the picture above I placed the focus on the far eye rather than the near one, which makes for a rather disconcerting image. This was not my intention, I was simply unable to do better since the view finder in the camera was too dark for me to see exactly where the focus was. So, it seems fast glass is not enough, I’ll have to find a camera with a bright viewfinder if I want better results with pictures such as these.
I had planned on another test with very diluted developer – 1 part Maco Ecoprint plus 80 parts of water, instead of the 1+12 which is recommended by the manufacturer, and to let it work for fifty minutes. But when I had poured the chem mix into the development tank Doggie insisted on a walk, right away. We didn’t make it back in time to stop the development at 50 minutes, so it soaked for another quarter of an hour. The negatives became rather dark, but I still got some rather nice shots from the roll.
I also got another pictures for my series of self portraits taken very close to a mirror.
It is staged, of course. I’m a left eye shooter, but then the hand holding the camera would have obscured the visible eye.