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?

Favorite Photo of the Week

phoenixmine

I have decided that I am going to start posting some of my favorite photos each week on Saturday. These aren’t necessarily going to be recent and they might be images that are published or unpublished. I will include a little back story when possible and also any technical details or problems I can remember. So here we go.

The owner of the Phoenix Gold Mine in Idaho Springs is a character unlike any other. Maybe its because he has spent so much time underground or maybe its because he has been in Clear Creek County almost as long as the gold. I made this photo of him while he was taking myself and a reporter on a tour of the mine. The mine no longer functions and is now open for public tours.

Shooting in a mine is about as easy as you would think. I didn’t even bother to take an ambient light meter reading when I was inside. I knew that I would probably have to provide the light I needed for the photo. So I grabbed a strobe and an off camera sync cord and went to work. My camera was set to single drive and the focus assist lamp on the strobe was on.

Mines are a damp, cold and cramped work space. I wanted to portray that as much as possible and also try to capture Al’s character as much as possible.