Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Portlandia and Photojournalism

Recently I took a trip to Portland with a friend, who wanted to look at some cellos and pick up a few things while in town. I was basically along for the ride, but I decided that I may as well make the most of the opportunity, and use my camera a little. All shots taken below were taken with a 85mm f/1.8, mostly at f/2, and with ISO values between 1000 and 2000.

I've been thinking a lot about photojournalism lately. With my bicycle trip coming up in a matter of months, I'm wanting to hone my photography skills to effectively be able to tell the stories I find along my way. I recently even purchased a book on photojournalism, a 500 page 8.5"x11" book, although it has not arrived yet. Anyway, because of this interest, I've done my research, and determined that a 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm prime lens combination would make for an ideal setup for the purpose. I have recently acquired a fair quality 50mm at a steal of a price, and the 85mm is on indefinite loan to buy eventually, but that still leaves a 35mm lens to come up with. I have decided which one I want already, however, the cost is about twice what I've spent on lenses total to date. In order to justify spending so much, I'll have to prove that I really could put such a purchase to good use.

Recently I started noticing that the sharpness of the 85mm f/1.8 just wasn't enough. (The 35mm in question is about as sharp as lenses get). This is quite interesting, because it was the 85mm that first defined to me what sharp really was, which along with brightness, resulted in my giving up of the mediocre zoom lens I'd been using for a while by that point, basically for good.

Today I kept feeling that it would be nice to have a wider field of view. Again, while I did use the 50mm f/1.8 for a while, I never fell in love with it like I have with the 85. Now, I did take plenty of good shots even while wishing I had a wider lens, so it's not like I've lost all interest in this lens, but that I'm itching for a wider lens is telling. It's interesting how much a person can condition themselves to love something ahead of time, with limited experience with the subject..

Click on the below pictures to get a larger image.

Fifty violins. There, I counted them for you, so you didn't have to. :)

Perhaps $50,000 worth of cellos, in their own room. Merely 1/4th (and the cheap fourth at that) of the total in that room alone.

Close up of an old cello case, wood and metal construction. Didn't get a story. It would certainly be interesting..

Inside the Powell book store satellite.

We were "accosted" by two solicitors asking for support against school bullying. It sounded to be primarily geared at protecting GLBT children. Not that I'm opposed to protecting them, by any means. I didn't listen to their canvass particularly, choosing rather to quietly slip off and stage a shooting.. (needing about a 20 foot gap to shoot the group as it were..)

Detail of the ornamentation on the top of the car.
An armed security guard outside a bank. I thought I'd wait till he turned around to face me, but the anonymity of this shot strengthens the composition somewhat.

Sushi - this happened to be on an endless conveyer belt beside where we were sitting.

Perhaps not my strongest composition ever - I should have moved to my right about 2-3 feet. Maybe a 50mm lens would have been better here..