50mm Project: Day 04: Available Light Portrait (Indoor)

The 50mm prime lens translates to an 80mm focal length in a 1.6 crop factor camera. This means that it is a good portrait lens mounted on my camera. So, with that considered, I set out to take portraits of our site personnel indoors and with available light only. I found a spot in our site office with a side window which I believe will make a good portrait ‘studio.’

I noticed that many of my shots were blurry and some were not really sharp. I can attribute this this to my shaky hands. One other factor is that my aperture was too wide open and this results in not so sharp image. So, I closed down a little bit up to f/2.2 to f/2.8, then increased my ISO up to ISO400; all intended to offset my shaky hands and the low light setting of the portrait ‘studio.’

The site people were much willing to pose for portrait. One guy even thought that it was a company requirement, so I told him that it was only for my personal work. That put him at ease a little bit. Another guy wanted a copy of his picture so that he can upload it to his Facebook account. Still another guy wanted a copy of his picture so that he can send it to his wife in his home country. Come to think of it; I am actually helping these guys by taking their pictures. And…if I just dig  little deeper into the conversation (considering the limitations due to the language gap) I can actually have a view into the window of these guys lives. That, I believe, is one power of photography.


50mm Project: Day 03 – My Children Took These Photos

My two boys and I went to the park with the intention of taking part in the final rehearsals for the their upcoming Pathfinder Club investiture program. We went to park early enough bringing my camera with me and only the 50mm lens attached. Since the others were late in arriving, I took this opportunity to take some photos of my children and some photos of flowers.

Then, I gave the camera to the two boys and and told them to take some photos of whatever fancies their creative minds. I wanted to encourage them to find pleasure in photography. One of the boys commented that he had a ‘nice’ feeling when he took a photo and it came out looking good (perhaps, according to what he envisioned it to be). Well, I told him that ‘that’s absolutely good!’ This is the boy that has been asking me when I will buy a new camera. He is asking this because he says that when I get my new camera, the old camera will be his! The other boy didn’t like the idea at all because he wants it as well.

Getting a new camera does present its challenges other than the financial setback it entails. Having two boys is one of them. The other one is having a wife…that is, justifying to the wife the necessity of the purchase.







50mm Project: Day 02 – Candid Shots

When I started taking pictures with my camera, I was always attracted to taking candid pictures. I love taking candid pictures especially of children.There was this great satisfaction of getting a photograph of a moment in time of a child’s life that will never be repeated again.

Recently, me and my family attended a children’s birthday party. I took this opportunity to use my 50mm prime lens to take candid pictures of children, as well as adults, having fun at the party. The advantage of this lens is that it is small enough not to intimidate the kids. I also didn’t need to use flash and therefore it is easier to take candid shots.

I knew that I needed to bump up my ISO but I could not go beyond ISO400 without sacrificing image quality. This is due to the limitation of my current camera sensor. I am using Canon 400D, an ‘old’ camera by today’s standard. Camera sensors have greatly improved by big leaps and bounds that one can utilize ISO 3200 or higher without losing that much in image quality. As it is, I am till stuck in the ‘Jurassic Park’ of sensor land.

The Reason(s) for my Photography

I don’t have grand illusions of ever becoming a Professional or even a Semi-pro photographer. I don’t even believe I want to become one. My photography is simply to satisfy my desire for a creative outlet. I used to dream about doing paintings in watercolor. That dream is not dead, yet…but it is just still a dream. Photography has been the way in which I’ve tried to fulfill my dream of painting. In a way, I am painting…but with a camera. I am nowhere near as good as I want to be but, I’ve learned much and I guess I’ve improved my image-making, at least according to my wife (she’s my number one fan and my model as well). Besides, I am only here to satisfy my creative desires.

As I went through my images, especially those ‘early’ days when I got my first digital camera (which I am still using now), I saw a lot of improvement. I also realized that the images that meant a lot to me were those that bring back good memories. A moment in time that will never be repeated again, ever. I believe that this is why I want to continue taking pictures.

Photography is a record of my life and and now, my family as well. Sure, I want to take pictures of that beautiful sunset or that awe-inspiring sunrise, or that majestic landscape or that exotic looking flower. But truly, what I really want is to take pictures of my family’s life. If my wife looks great in her new dress, I want to take picture of her. If my kids are enjoying a swim in a pool and are really having a good time, I want to take that picture. Photography is a visual diary of my family’s life. Which leads me to an idea…The Visual Diary of my Family.

I guess for now the bottom line is that, my photography is about life; it is about my family’s life. For now, my photography is not art. Well, as far as photographic art is concerned. I don’t know if it’ll ever be. But creativity is still much of a factor in my images. This still satisfies my desire for creative outlet. And ultimately, I am glad that I have found photography; to record my family’s events…small or great. We will never pass this way again, ever.

Embarking on my 50mm Project

I just had an idea about shooting with my 50mm f/1.8 prime lens. I’ll shoot exclusively with this lens for at least a month. Actually, I already started using it just a few days ago and I really like what I got with the images. I think that I would have to really challenge myself to see what this lens really has to offer.