Sunday, July 18, 2010

Shooting 200mm

Since shooting the Hasselblad, I've adjusted my shooting with a zoom lens. Not exactly sure why this happened but I imagine that shooting exclusively with Hasselblad's HC 80 (80mm f/2.8), that I forced myself to think more about composition. Sounds like more gibberish but I think this is an extension of Zooming with the feet, and I'll explain...

For the first time, I've been stuck with a fixed focal length. I can't easily get in and out of the frame with the twist of the zoom ring. Walking in and out of the frame forces me to shoot more judiciously and less whimsically/randomly. It takes time to get in and out of the frame especially when you're out on rocky terrain as we were with
Kaley in the desert. When I move in, I have to consider that I can't move back out immediately, so I better have a damn good reason to spend 10-15 seconds walking over brutally sharp rocks to get closer to my subject.

Perhaps these are lessons I would have learned earlier if I had a 50mm rather than a set of 24-70mm and a 70-200mm lenses? After having sent the H3DII-31 to Denmark (yeah it had to go all the way back to Denmark for adjustments), I'm now shooting the Nikon D3 and seeing what slight differences the Hassey has created in my shooting style...

Shooting 200mm of a face means I am probably within 7 feet of my subject. I'm actually not sure how close I am but it feels damn close. Checking the EXIF info, I see that I'm anywhere between 1.78-2.25m away from the subject. That's about 5'10" on the short end. In the past I've never gotten that close to my subject. I don't think I've ever shot such a tight crop of the face. It isn't until now that I finally understand why so many good photographers choose to shoot 70-200mm. You can really get close without being physically close and without distorting the perspective of the face.

I notice my hands shake pretty badly at 6 feet and 200mm. It's inevitable. Fortunately the strobe only lasts 1/1000th (or less) of a second so that helps. VR isn't doing too much for me at 1/200th and 200mm.

Food for thought, I wonder if I could shoot just specific parts of the face at 200mm without running into the minimum focusing distance which I seem to remember being 3-4 feet...

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