85mm f1.8, a Very Flexible Prime Lens

After a slow start to Spring, it is just starting to warm up enough to take off the gloves and scarves. In Central Park as well as my backyard, the Daffodils are blooming beautifully. I've been thinking about doing a double exposure with these flowers as an alternative to the more traditional record shot. This technique can be done in the camera with no post production necessary. If you are not sure if your camera has this feature, break out your manual and take a look. You may be surprised! I know the Nikon D7000 has this capability for example. 

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I set the 6D to multiple exposure mode with the "additive method" selected. I composed the first shot as a closeup of the Daffodils, and auto focused with an 85mm lens. This was taken from about 3 feet from the blooms and deliberately underexposed. For the second frame I changed my lens to manual focus and brought it within an inch or two of the flower. At this close proximity, the idea was to fill the lens with an out of focus blur of color. The additive mode takes these two underexposed modes and puts them together to form a proper exposure. 


Later along my stroll I came to the beautiful globe in Columbus Circle. I've photographed it before, but this time I noticed these unbelievable patterns being reflected from the street into the bottom of the metal sculpture. I used a small aperture of around f11 to create enough depth of field to keep the whole thing sharp and photographed it with the 85mm. If you look in the upper right-hand corner, you can actually see the pavement from the sidewalk. 

Finally, there is the story of Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and Elmo. I have had a long standing personal project to catch street performers "off-duty". Sure it's fun to photograph them while doing their act, but I'm more interested in what happens after the crowds go away and they have some down time. I found this trio of "old friends" just as they sat on a bench under a shady tree in the park. You could almost hear Big Bird yawn as he stretched and put his arm around Cookie Monster. Time was fleeting and I had a chance to make about four exposures. The view from the back offered a more introspective feel. I don't believe we need to see their faces to understand the mood. 


The moment quickly passed and tourists with cell phones started to approach to ask for posed photos. Their break time was over, but thankfully I happened to be in the right place with the right lens. Had I been using the 17-40mm, it would have been a very different shot showing more of the environment, distracting from the main subjects. Again, the 85mm proved to be a valuable tool for street photograph.