Andrew and Erin’s Wedding – A Quick Bokeh Panorama in the Park

Last weekend I had the pleasure of photographing Andrew and Erin’s wedding in Waterloo Park and Victoria Park.  The day went off without a hitch, with perfect weather, great people and absolutely fantastic food.

Once I’ve edited my way through the massive number of photos I’ll write a full blog post, but for now I can say this. I have never been happier with the way my equipment performed at a wedding. The D300s + Sigma 50mm f/1.4 combination was an absolute dream when the girls were getting ready early in the day. The D7000 + AF-S 85mm f/1.8 worked flawlessly for portraits later on. Exposure and focus accuracy were at an all time high. Even the white balance was more accurate than normal. Together these are all adding up to a much more pleasurable editing experience than I’m used to.

To celebrate I had some fun playing around with a 50+ shot Brenizer method bokeh panorama of the bride and groom that I took in Waterloo Park with the D7000 and AF-S 85mm f/1.8G. First I’ll show the version that’s close to what I’ll give Andrew and Erin and then a more vintage-y black and white.

brenizer, stitch, waterloo park, bokeh panorama, wedding, nikon, d7000, af-s 85mm f/1.8G

A multi (50+) shot Brenizer method bokeh panorama with the D7000 and AF-S 85mm f/1.8G

brenizer, stitch, waterloo park, bokeh panorama, wedding, nikon, d7000, af-s 85mm f/1.8G

A multi (50+) shot Brenizer method bokeh panorama with the D7000 and AF-S 85mm f/1.8G

Advertisements

The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art

Finally! Ever since I gave up shooting with Pentax and switched to Nikon I’ve yearned for a lens like the FA 31mm f/1.8 LTD. That Pentax lens was staggeringly good and I hadn’t found anything to match it in the F-mount system… until now with the Sigma 35mm f/1.4.

I’ll start this post with a reminder that I shoot with DX bodies (at least for the time being) so the field of view (FOV) of this lens is more like 52.5mm, acting like standard prime. I’m not going to dwell on technical details in this review. Other sites do a far better job than I’m willing to do, with analyses down to the pixel level and direct comparisons to other lenses (here and here, for example).

Here is my current fast prime lineup, all cover FX lenses in case I ever decide to go that route. From left to right: Sigma 35mm f/1.4, Sigma 50mm f/1.4, Nikon AF-S 60mm f/2.8G Micro, Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G. This is a great combination for FX, and pretty good for DX. A wider prime would still be needed but for now the 17-55mm f/2.8 fills that roll.

DSC_1250Being an f/1.4 lens, I’ve naturally focussed mostly on the wide aperture capabilities. I’m amazed at how sharp it is at wide open. Not only is it sharp but the contrast is quite high, making the in-focus subject pop. Stopping down does sharpen the image even further but really, I find the lens sharp enough at all apertures. It even shines on the D7000, a body I’ve found extremely sensitive to most lenses. Here are a few wide-open examples from the D300s (first two) and D7000 (the next four):

DSC_2807 DSC_2782DSC_1174 DSC_1181 DSC_1206 DSC_1225The effect of shooting at f/1.4 is dramatic, even on a DX sensor. I demonstrate this below with a couple sets of images with a range of aperture settings. The first set of images has minimal post-processing, while the second has one of my ‘fade’ presets applied (click on the images for larger versions).

DSC_2791-Edit DSC_2800-Edit

The bokeh is nice. It’s not the best but far, far from the worst. I have no complaints here.

I was, of course, expecting the Sigma 35 to be optically excellent but I am surprised at how accurately it focuses on both the D300s and D7000. The performance contrasts my other fast Sigma, the 50mm f/1.4 where I find the focus to be inconsistent, especially on the D7000. In single-point AF, I find that I am the weak link, not the lens-body pair.

Do I have any negative comments?

Well, it is heavy at only 100g lighter than the 17-55. That’s about it. I’m really looking forward to giving it a workout at my next wedding shoot. I’ll end this micro-review with some more photos.

DSC_1187 DSC_1234 DSC_1220 DSC_1238 DSC_1206 DSC_1237 DSC_2821-2

An Afternoon with a DeLorean

My friend Justin owns a DeLorean. Actually he owns two DeLoreans. The day after shooting the wedding this weekend, Portt and I met up with Justin in West Montrose so the car could pose with the covered bridge.  I both envy and don’t envy Justin. On the plus side he owns two classic 80’s supercars. On the other hand, wow did a lot of people stop and ask to pose with the car. He must get that a lot.

The light was moving back and forth constantly between overcast and bright sun. Bracketing each shot allowed me to capture the full range of tones with the option of HDR later on. I decided to go the HDR route with the posed shots. They may be a bit over done but I think they have the “car ad’ look to them. I went even heavier in the processing on the last shot. I was trying my best to pan, but with a wide angle FOV (19mm) the effect isn’t too pronounced.

Nikon D300s with AF-S 17-55mm f/2.8.

DSC_2682-Edit DSC_2703-Edit DSC_2685-Edit DSC_2744-Edit

A Misty Barn Three Ways

Driving home from Guelph, Mitzy and I pulled over at a barn that both of us have always wanted to photograph. You wouldn’t know it from this post, but it’s actually quite red. The mist gives it a completely different feel! I thought I’d show three quick interpretations of the same photo to get a feel for which is most effective.

D300s with AF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 at 34mm f/5.6 15s ISO 200.

Which do you like best?

DSC_2767 DSC_2767-2 DSC_2767-3

One Last Bowl

Last Saturday, Mitzy, Ian and I had one last bowl at the Waterloo Bowling Lanes before they closed for good. Naturally, I brought the camera along. These shots were with the D300s and AF-S 17-55mm f/2.8. I used the SB-900 with Lumiquest Softbox LTz for the shots with flash (with this method).

Very sad to see the place go but at least we got to say goodbye properly.

DSC_1409 DSC_1414 DSC_1396 DSC_1418 DSC_1422-Edit DSC_1411-Edit

Blog Week Day 5 – Farewell to Waterloo Bowling Lanes

Tomorrow night Waterloo’s last bowling alley, Waterloo Bowling Lanes, will close its doors. Soon it will be demolished with a 7 story condo taking its place. I, along with many other Waterloons, are saddened by this. The lanes have been open since 1949 and will be sorely, sorely missed. There’s something special about a run down 5-pin bowling alley. Nostalgic Canadiana, maybe.

Last night, Mitzy and I made light painted composite images of the building to honour its closing. The technique is the same as the one shown here, with 5-10 shots making up each composite.

D300s with Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 PRO DX at 11mm f/11 4s ISO 200

DSC_1183-Edit DSC_1193-Edit