How fun is this? Shooting Legoland with a Fisheye lens

Photography

Legoland Art Online

A trip to Florida’s version of Legoland was the perfect excuse to pull out the fisheye lens and take some unique perceptive photographs of the iconic American landmarks created out of toy Lego bricks.

Washington, D.C. sports faithful re-creations of the White House (including the first family and “first dog”), the U.S. Capitol building, Smithsonian, Washington and Jefferson monuments and parts of Georgetown. An animated marching band parades in front of the Capitol and tiny cherry trees blossom every spring.

For this photograph I was using a micro four thirds mirror-less camera the Panasonic with a Rokinon manual focus wide angle lens.

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G3 16 MP Micro Four-Thirds Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3-Inch Free-Angle Touch-Screen LCD and 14-42mm Lumix G VARIO f/3.5-5.6 Lens

Rokinon FE75MFT-B 7.5mm F3.5 UMC Fisheye Lens for Micro Four Thirds (Olympus PEN and Panasonic)

The Rokinon is a well made, inexpensive fisheye lens that is manual focus only but because the depth of field is so deep on such a wide angle lens you basically don’t even need to focus.  Just dial in the distance to subject on the focus ring and shoot at F8 and you are pretty much guaranteed to get the shot. Colors with this lens are especially vivid which was perfect for a day at Legoland even with cloudy skies.

 
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What is the best lens for food photography?

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I run into this question a lot.  People ask what is the best lens for food photography?  Is there a right answer?  Well, it all depends.

Like any photography situation or application there are a variety of ways to approach the subject.  No one lens is the right answer to any situation or subject.  Its up to the artist behind the lens to determine what they want the view to see in the final image.

For landscapes you can go with wide angles to show more of a vast landscape or move in close to a rock or log in the foreground to create an exaggerated sense of scale.  Or you can zoom in on distant mountain peak to isolate a single element of the scene.

Same with wildlife. You can zoom in with a big bazooka lens to document the subject up close or you can go wide and show the animal in its environment.

food Art Online

Food photography also has a range of applications.  You might show the chef at work in the kitchen, make the viewer’s mouth water with a plate shot or go in super close to show the texture of a strawberry.

A variety of lens can be used but if I were to choose one lens to get started in food photography, it would be the one recommended to me by Andrew Scrivani, the NY Times columnist, commercial photographer and stylist.  He does most of his work with the Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro.

food Art Prints

And I also shoot most of my food photography with this lens. Its not the newest, fastest or most exciting lens. It hunts for focus and has a plastic build quality but it is sharp, in a great focal range for food photography and is inexpensive. You can pick one up for about $300.

User feedback – “I use this mostly for food photography, and it’s a great lens. I originally used a 50mm f/1.8, but when it developed a defect in focusing, went for this macro lens version. Sometimes I miss the really low f-stops, but overall, I like it. It functions well as a non-macro lens as well. Somewhat slow to switch from close to far, and a little noisy, but nothing that’s really bothersome.”

The macro give you the ability to get really close to your food and can uncover detail that would otherwise be impossible to detect by the naked eye. Ideal for shooting extremely minute subjects such as insects or the petals of a small flower, the lens offers a nine-element design and a floating optical system that focuses down from infinity to one-half life size (0.5x). It also functions beautifully as a general-purpose normal lens.

food Photography Prints

And should you want to focus down to life size (1:1), you can add an optional Life Size Converter EF to increase the working distance–a valuable feature in close-up shooting.  The Canon Life Size Converter EF sells for around $280 street price and is made especially for the Canon 50mm macro.

User feedback – “This item was primarily designed for the Canon EOS 50mm f2.5 Macro 1:2 lens. This adapter allows you to amp your lens to a 1:1 or twice the image resolution. (Image resolution is the detail an image holds. The term applies to raster digital images, film images, and other types of images. Higher resolution means more image detail.) Be sure to add it to your lens before than mounting it to the camera so that your electronics are properly compensated for during metering. You will loose a f-stop or or two using this adapter.”

Equipment mentioned in this article:

One Camera One Lens

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Photography Prints

Looking for that one special lens that will vault your photography from ho-hum into ohhs and awwws? Perhaps you have been the victim of less than professional equipment and its been holding you back from greatness?

Or maybe you’re looking at the equation upside down. Perhaps less equipment and exploring every single possibility of that camera/lens combination is the ticket to better photography.

Many great photographers of the past and present favored a single camera and signal lens combination. For example fine art photographer Brooke Shaden only uses a regular old 50mm. For street photographers a Leica M with a 35mm is all they need.

Here is what fellow Fine Art America artist Andrew Pacheco has to say about the one camera/one lens concept:

“The one camera one lens concept is probably why I gravitate toward prime lenses. When I attach a fixed focal length lens to my camera, I’m forced to think in that focal length. For me, the sense of confinement causes me to explore more creative options that the ability to zoom would stop me from seeing.

Even though I have different lenses for different situations, I still feel that primes make you adhere to one lens type of thinking.” – Andrew Pacheco – http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/andrew-pacheco.html

Another FAA photographer Chuck De La Rosa (http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/chuck-de-la-rosa.html) says: “When I learned photography it was with a manual focus 35 mm SLR with a 50mm lens.”

The idea behind one camera/one lens is to pare down equipment so that one can focus on learning and improving. Here are some examples of professional and amateur photographers utilizing this aspect of pared down photography. Consider a master photographer like Cartier-Bresson:

“Cartier-Bresson himself used one camera and one lens—a Leica with a 50mm—for most of his career. But he was regarded as one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century because he knew exactly how his camera would perform. A good photographer takes the time to understand their equipment so they can get the best image, irrespective of how expensive their kit is.” http://www.wired.com/2014/06/hi-lo-dslr-lenses/

Or press photographer Jerome Delay:

“Jerome Delay, a photographer with the Associated Press, has been making remarkable photos from some of the most troubled places on the planet with just one camera and a 50mm lens.” http://bangkokphotoschool.com/2014/04/04/one-camera-one-lens/

Or even a Mom on why she only uses a 50mm:

“I was determined to pursue photography, even on a serious budget. I pledged that I would not let my modest equipment hold me back, regardless of what gear I thought a photographer was “suppose” to have…. “ http://www.clickinmoms.com/blog/why-im-happy-with-just-one-photography-lens-by-heather-l/#ixzz36yYS9JBc

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This blog post grew out of forum threads in which people ask for equipment suggestions so they can improve their photography. Often people believe that if they only had the “right” equipment, more exotic equipment or pro level equipment, then their photography would become amazing. True or false? Do you need a bag full of lens? Is a $100 50 mm lens incapable of producing quality photography? What say you?

References:

The concept of one camera, one lens is getting mentioned a lot on the Internet.

http://www.onecameraonelensonephotoaday.com/
http://www.photoventure.com/2014/04/18/9-reasons-you-only-need-one-camera-and-one-lens/
http://blog.mingthein.com/2012/06/16/minimalism-one-lens-for-a-trip/
http://theperfectpose.com/learning/the-one-lens-wedding-results/
http://fineartamerica.com/showmessages.php?messageid=1989136