554 - Tenderly

Climate changes, that’s pretty evident. It’s even obvious for everyone but George W. Bush that those changes are man-made, but there is one thing that seemingly does not change at all: April is unpredictable.

When I woke up, it was cloudy, as soon as I went out, it began to pour down like mad, and then it was sunny for the bigger part of the day. Problem is, that I slept most of the afternoon, and when I woke up again and decided to go for some magic light … it rained again.

The first image is from the morning. Like all other images of today it was shot with my only manual focus lens (well, apart from the Lensbaby), the Nikon 50/1.2. This image, like the other two, was shot at f1.2 for minimum depth of field. At this aperture the lens is still pretty sharp but soft, mostly due to coma, I think. This does not matter for portraits, one of the major applications of this lens, and it does not matter either, when the lens is used for extremely selective focus.

The second image, a blossom on an apple tree, shows the same qualities. Depth of field is extremely shallow, light is soft. And then there is the Image of the Day, and it exemplifies how I like to work with this lens: I go very near, as near as the lens allows. This is not a macro lens, much to the contrary, as an older design its minimum focusing distance is somewhere in the range of 50cm (around 1 1/2 feet), but going as near as it gets ensures minimum depth of field. Focusing is pretty painful at f1.2, and it is more so at that distance. Most of the time I need between one and three shots until I’m satisfied.

If at all possible, I try to get something colorful in the foreground, Whatever it is (in case of the Image of the Day only some more blossoms), it will be rendered completely out of focus, a mere cloud of color, and so will be the background.

The Song of the Day is “Tenderly” by Billie Holiday. I’ve got her version on the collection “Solitude: The Billie Holiday Story, Vol. 2”. Hear it on YouTube.

There are 2 comments

Marti   (2008-04-20)

Hi Andreas --

This is such a lovely image!! I love the shallow depth of field and the color triad of magenta, soft green and blue. It is such a beautiful way to show that spring is on the way. I also like the focus point being in the midst of the flowers, rather than at the front -- creates a tender softness all around.

"Tenderly" -- especially Billie Holiday's version -- is just the perfect song to accompany this image.

Hope you are feeling better!

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Stacey Huston   (2008-04-20)

Andreas, beautiful shot, and thanks for all the information on how to capture this feeling!

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