Why? Because I asked for it.
Why did I ask for it? Because I saw his cousin taking amazing indoor photos with low light and NO FLASH! When I asked her what her magic spell was, she said, "Prime lens."
I didn't even know what that meant until today. I only knew that a prime lens is a short lens that takes amazing pictures in low light WITH NO FLASH and that it runs about $100.
After talking to my BFFs, Mr. Google and Ms. Wikipedia, I discovered that a prime lens, or primary focus lens, or Fixed Focal Length Lens, is a lens with a "fixed focal length." No duh. That means you can't zoom. It has no zoom. If you are too close to the subject (here that means "kids with hats") you have to scooch backwards. If you are too far from the subject, you have to scooch closer.
Prime lenses have much bigger light holes, or apertures. For example, with my standard-came-with-the-camera lens (18mm-55mm), the
The F number is like a hole in your belt. If you buckle your belt on the 5th hole, you're cinching it up pretty small. If you buckle your belt on the first notch, you've put on a few and it's almost time for Lent. The smaller the number, the bigger your waist. The smaller the F stop, the bigger the
Another tip for the low light setting, use a high ISO. Didn't know what that meant either. I just remembered that I bought different ISO films for my trip to Rome back in the 90s depending on the sale price. Turns out the higher the ISO, the more sensitive the film is to light. But now we're using imaginary film. High ISO film was always being sold for action shots. We're going to use it for indoor portraits. In Chicago. In February. Without a flash. Think it can't be done? Think again.
For this Thursdays theme,
- I used my 50mm prime lens.
- I stationed myself with my back to the window and turned on every lamp in the room.
- I threw the clutter behind the sofa.
- I used the highest ISO I've got, which is 1800.
- I fooled around with the shutter speed/exposure time. Results shown below.
This was the best one. ISO 1800, F1.8, exposure time: 1/80 of a second.
Hats: blue one crocheted by the wearer, pink one knitted by moi.
Scarves: absent. C'mon! It was the last photo.
Frustration level: resigned.
This was my first attempt. Note the half smile on Jill as well as the presence of scarves. Everything was the same as the above photo except the exposure time was 1/400th of a second. Too dark.
Thus began a quest for the perfect exposure time, sort of like finding the square root of 4500 without using a calculator.
So this time, I went with an exposure time of 1/4 of a second. Too light.
Exposure time: 1/100th of a second. I could stop here. I probably should have. But it still looked a little dim to me. Never mind the fact that my back is to the light emanating from a snow-filled cloudy sky that is raining! Never mind the miracle that I am not using a flash!
Exposure time: 1/50th of a second.
Frustration level: High. Down one hat.
A little light and blurry.
Exposure time: 1/160th of a second. Dark again.
Frustration level: Critical.
Time out and cookies.
Post cookie break.
You've seen this one before.
Exposure time: 1/80th of a second.
I could have tried 1/60 and gotten perfection, but I settled. For their sakes, and because I was worried there were no cookies left for me.
So come your next birthday, anniversary, or insert other-gift-receiving-occasion-here, ask for a prime lens. Could be the making of your photos.