week two — which way?

i bought a new lens recently, and it’s excellent.  it’s extremely fast, meaning that it has a wide maximum aperture, so i’m able to take pictures in very low light situations without a tripod.  i hadn’t really had a chance to test out how excellent it was in these situations since i got it, so i decided to wander around Lakeview/Wrigleyville last night and see what it could do.

it was my first experience using a lens of this caliber, so i didn’t really know what to expect.  it easily beat my expectations, and i was able to take hand-held shots in very low light without blur or camera shake and at relatively low ISOs (meaning there’s less noise in the picture).  it also focused much faster, which is typically a big issue in low light, the bokeh was great, and it also seemed to preserve color better (although i could just be making this piece up…i’ll have to shoot in a variety of situations before i really have a good sense of this…).

naturally, my favorite shot of the night was one that deliberately DIDN’T take advantage of this lens’s greatest attributes…it’s a long exposure (15 seconds) at a very small aperture (f/22).

i was posted up at the corner of belmont and clark just playing with settings and experimenting with how the lens would behave in different situations, and i had the idea to try to take some shots with car trails in the background with people standing on the corner waiting to cross in the foreground.  i was initially hoping for the people in the foreground to stand still, so they’d be stable and sharp, contrasting with the blur of the cars and the motion in the background.  but i absolutely love how this one turned out.  this girl was indecisive about which way to go, and her head-turns and shuffling caused her to seem very ghostlike, which i think added to the sense of loneliness and confusion.  i also enjoy how having multiple lights on the stoplights illuminated works with the car trails to give a sense of time, creating a sort of third dimension to this shot.

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