Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Uber Lens

There is one uber lens out there. It's a lens that is universal mount. Fits on any camera. It weighs nothing and yet it creates incredible contrast and imagery with colors that you can only dream of.

It can't be bought. Though everyone has one, they're not all created equal.

If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm not talking about actual "glass". It's the photographer's eye. The "perspective". The "eye". It's the best lens in the world. You can shape it, cultivate it, change it... and best of all it's free.

Shape it literally by throwing on a pair of tinted glasses...

Cultivate it by taking classes in photography or simply having more life experiences...

Don't like what you see? Change it (your perspective) by changing your mood and suddenly everything changes...

In a consumer world where we are driven by the latest and greatest gear, sometimes we forget that the best "gear" you can have is the stuff that can't be bought. The stuff that separates the legends from the average joes.

I've been on a rampage with new photography and retouching but I need more variety... getting bored of the cut and dry studio stuff. I don't know if anyone still reads this since I posted 10 or more pictures without any explanation LOL :) but here's what I promise to do tomorrow if there's a shoot:

1. Take more closely cropped pictures. Hell I'mma take some without eyes/heads/etc. Time to grab that 70-200mm f/2.8G that I swear is broken!

2. Take more angled and varied perspective pictures. I need different perspectives of the same set so that I don't have to crop in post-production. I'm going to mix it up and use both the wide-angle to telephoto in the same set.

3. Try and use ambient light in the shape/form of a bedsheet.

4. MAYBE we'll try the staircase again tomorrow... I tried it once and failed but it doesn't mean it can't be done :)


  1. Charles, I still look at your blog pretty much every day. You are a huge source of inspiration for me. I don't comment as much as I should -- I end up doing that in waves and don't want to appear as a stalker (I mean, c'mon, I've only camped outside your studio twice). ;-)

    Seriously, though, I really do appreciate the incredible effort that you put into your blog. Do I wish that the recent posts had more info? Of course. However, I also respect the fact that you have a lot going on and that you do not have to post the blog for all of us to see. The ongoing photo posts let me know that you are still with us and not like so many bloggers that start strong and then just stop.

    So how have you been inspiring me? Over the last two weeks, in the very thick of a major initiative for my company, I still found time every night to learn the ins-and-outs of Lightroom, Photoshop and studio lighting.

    I have also been reading "Light: Science and Magic" -- have you ever read it? An incredible book. Now, I am on to the more in-depth Photoshop tutorials.

    I just signed up for three more studio lighting classes and have my pre-order in for the new Alien Bees Einstein strobes (did you see that he pushed the launch back yet another month? Aargh!).

    So every time that I see one of your photos and those of a handful of other bloggers, it keeps me pushing. I am just about full on theory (for now) and can't wait to start shooting.

    How did you first start? With or without strobes? With friends or models? Basic equipment or some that you had accumulated?

    Keep up the awesome work. Speaking of work...time to get back to mine.


  2. Greg, dunno if you'll see this but I'm hoping you see the answers to your questions here :)

    My first book was "Light: Science and Magic" as recommended by the irreplaceable David Hobby (Mr. Strobist himself). I found it semi-useful because by the time I acquired the book I had already been through most of his 101 and 102 course online. Also, I had already shifted focus to shooting people and no longer wanted to know too much about product photography etc.

    I'm sure the new AB Einsteins will be awesome. I will not be purchasing any lights anytime soon unless it's another AB800 or maybe an AB1600 if I feel like I can't get enough power out of the 800's. I have noticed that I've been upping the power a lot to near max power to get the f-stop I need indoors. f/9-f/11.

    Theory is useful, but theory in use is more useful! Don't forget to apply what you've learned. That's the only way you'll truly know what you've learned.

    By the way, I enlarged your profile pics. You're a lot younger than I thought you'd be. Your kids are adorable. :)

    I'll be answering the last part of your question in a post :)