Welcome to Colorado Springs Daily Photo!

Hi, I'm Tamera, a professional wedding, portrait and boudoir photographer in Colorado Springs. But this blog isn't about my professional work; no, it's a daily love note to my beautiful city, where I've lived for most of my life. I love it here and I hope you enjoy seeing Colorado Springs through my eyes and lens!

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25 April 2015

It's a bokeh thing

You may wonder what kind of camera and lens I use for this blog. For the first few years, I tended to use a little Canon point and shoot. I still employ it from time to time, most recently in my post about Record Store Day. It's handy because it's small, but it's strictly a snapshot camera. At some point a couple of years ago I started favoring one of my older DSLR bodies, a Nikon D300. It's ancient and has about a million actuations on the shutter, but it's reliable. I pair an old Nikkor 18-135mm zoom lens with that body. It's versatile but it's definitely not the sharpest lens in my camera bag (it's sadly mediocre, actually). As you know, I'm a full time professional photographer -- but I rarely use my professional camera bodies and lenses for this blog. So the old D300 and the 35-135mm generally suffice, even if they are frustratingly limiting at times. The last few weeks I noticed that the lens was getting, well, mushy. There was a lot of fall off at the edges of the frame, and the focus was getting more and more questionable. A couple of weeks ago, having just come from a shoot, I happened to be using my professional gear to take the pictures of the Garden of the Gods that I posted here the last couple of days. I had my old D300 slung around my neck. Suddenly I heard something hit the ground, and I looked down to see some glass and small parts at my feet. At first I panicked, thinking the Very Expensive Lens on my Fancy Camera had just fallen apart, but then I realized that it was the trusty old 35-135mm that had broken instead -- the front element had literally come right out! It was hilarious! To make a long story short, that lens is now in the "hospital", and in the meantime I've decided to use a pro lens on the old D300 body. A zoom lens is convenient but it will make you lazy. A prime lens, with a fixed focal length and a large aperture, will force you to work a little harder for the shot, but as you can see from these pictures, the results are far superior. HERE is a picture taken with my crappy 18-135mm. Compare it with today's pictures and you'll see the difference. The lens used for these, taken in Monument Valley Park, and most of other the pictures I've posted this week (except for the Garden of the Gods and Record Store Day shots), was a 50mm f:1.4. This lens is a lot more difficult to use. Mine is particularly persnickety, but when it decides to cooperate, the images taken with it are so sharp and bright and pretty! They also have what photographers call bokeh, which is when the background goes very soft and any out of focus bright spots are round. I've had this particular lens for over 20 years, and it's still one of my favorite pieces of glass. As a personal creative challenge, I plan on limiting myself strictly to the 50mm f:1.4 for the blog until my trusty old zoom lens comes home from the hospital, so expect more pretty bokeh pictures for the foreseeable future!
The eastern redbud are in full bloom right now.

This photo would have been much better if I had laid on the ground to take it, but I wasn't in the mood to get dirty, so this is what you're getting!

The brunnera are starting to bloom. Such a beautiful, rare blue.


William Kendall said...

The effect is lovely!

Susan Bauer said...

I love brunnera in my home garden. Few people seem to grow them, but they are one perennial that favors my shady garden. I also enjoyed reading your explanation of the camera and lenses you use. Thank you.

Randy said...

Amazing colors.