Harvest Days and My New Favorite Focal Length

© Matthew Jonas 2010/Evergreen Newspapers 2010

Lately, I have been trying to talk more about pictures and less about gear. However, I have to talk a little bit about my new favorite focal length: 85mm. It falls just outside the normal range and well below the telephoto focal range. I like it because it’s just long and fast enough to separate a subject from their surroundings in crowded spaces. On most assignments I work with a wide angle lens on one body and a telephoto lens on the other. Without having to take a step back I can frame a wide angle shot or a tight detail shot when shooting with the Canon EF 85mm f1.8 USM. The image above was made using the 85mm at the Evergreen Montessori School’s Harvest Days. It was shot outside the school, surrounded by a group of kids and their parents. Hard to tell there was anyone else there at f2 isn’t it?

Portrait of Don Allan

© Matthew Jonas 2010/Evergreen Newspapers 2010

Portraits, portraits and more portraits. Get used to it if you are on the path of photojournalism and editorial photography. I often bring lights, softboxes, radio triggers, gels, light stands and a variety of other light modifying devices when I know I am shooting a portrait. And Sometimes I leave it all in the car when the natural light is just too good to pass up. The portrait above is of Clear Creek County Coroner Don Allan. It’s lit using the light from a large window and the reflection off of a wall from the same window. No artificial lights, no modifiers. Just Don’s personality and f2.o at 85mm. Read the full story here.