Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dancers in the Twilight

Last week I bought a new lens. It's a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 HSM. It is to replace my Nikon 50mm f/1.8, which worked fine but did not autofocus on my Nikon D40. Also, due to the sensor (read: film) size of the D40, the Nikon lens was really a 75mm (the stated 50mm times 1.5) which is a bit of a telephoto. I found I had to keep backing up to get the shot I wanted. The Sigma's 30mm is an effective 45mm, or just about "normal". Plus, it autofocuses on the D40. Did I mention the autofocus?

These photos were taken a couple of hours after the lens arrived in the mail. Since I had no experience with it, these are a little rough, but I really got a good test of its ability. The sun was setting, so the room had areas of strong light and pools of twilight. I had a lot of fun working through the challenges.

I like the warm sunshine bouncing off the wall in this shot. The dancers were at a quiet, contemplative phase of their dance, and were moving lanquidly. The camera was at ISO 800 with a shutter speed of 1/100 sec. I used +0.6 e/v to compensate for the bright wall and keeping the dancers from being silhouetted.

A Leg Up
A Leg Up

The dancers below were in a part of the room that was getting the least light, and what was there was all indirect. It made for a very twilight feeling. They were moving at a medium speed, and only vaguely aware that I was there. The camera was at ISO 800 with a shutter speed of 1/20 sec. I left the e/v at +0.6 to see if it would make the subject pop against the background. Hard to say if it really did what I was trying to do. The very short depth of field resulting from the aperture of f/1.4 is apparent here, and not too desirable. This would have been a better photo at f/8 or so, but I'm not sure I would have gotten it at that setting without a lot of blur. I would have had to bump the ISO to 1600, and the result would be a lot of graininess, or noise.

Jennifer on Greg
On the Table

This last image was taken as a lark, and pretty much as a snapshot when I noticed the dancer fooling around on the window ledges. The strong last-moments of sunlight guaranteed a sihouette since I wasn't using a flash. The camera was at ISO 800 with a shutter speed of 1/250 sec. I hastily added +2/3 e/v to try to get some definition on his body. There is some sort of funky lighting on his butt, and I can't decide if it was a reflection off my lens or if it is some sort of mirror aberration from the camera with this lens. It could be a strange artifact resulting from the UV filter that I have on. It dawns on me that one of my night shots at La Fete de Marquette had two moons in it, so there must be some reflection bouncing around in the setup.


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