Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘bokeh

The One Reason Why I’m a Morning Person

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Fuji X100 | 1/60 sec, f/4, ISO 1250

This is definitely what I call starting the morning right. Waking up extra early for the sole purpose of chilling at Four Barrel over a cappuccino? Worth it:

For me, coming here during the week means coming when the shop opens. People trickle in here and there, but it’s certainly not busy.

Later in the morning, however, Four Barrel is bustling. The pour-over coffee station opens up, and people pile in to get their fill of individually brewed cups of coffee. After grabbing my own cup, I head out side to hang out with Suki and Bridge at the public “parklet.” We sip away while watching the Valencia street traffic whiz by.

I’m not a morning person at all actually. I just really, really love coffee.

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Early Morning Images: Fuji X100 | Film Sim: ASTIA (JPEG output)
Late Morning Images: Fuji X100 | Film Sim: Provia (JPEG output)

Written by Jonathan

August 7, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Life at 1.4

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Nikon D700 + Nikkor AFS 24mm f/1.4G

There’s a place in my bag as well as my heart for both zoom and prime glass. I don’t think I could shoot exclusively with just one or the other, because both types can accomplish different things in various situations. For ultimate depth of field control and maximum speed, however, you can’t beat a fast prime.


When I use any of my prime lenses, I really like to take advantage of what truly sets them apart from my zooms, so I almost always leave them wide open at f/1.4 all day long.  Sure you can shoot a lens like this at f/5.6 and get great results (yaaawn), but I love shooting at 1.4, just because I can! Every shot you see in this post was taken at f/1.4.


At f/1.4, your camera becomes an absolute light bucket, even compared to a “fast” f/2.8 zoom. This allows you to shoot at night or indoors under low lighting with ease. In general, the wider your focal length, the lower shutter speed you can hand-hold. So shooting wide open with say a 24mm f/1.4 lens in front of a full frame sensor means you can happily keep snapping away under a moon-lit sky. Amazing stuff.




Let’s not forget control over depth of field with a super fast lens! Getting your subject pin sharp while the entire background melts out of focus gives you images with a unique sense of dimension and depth that, at least for me, never gets old. Many fast primes, like Nikon’s incredible 24mm f/1.4 AFS lens, are also insanely sharp wide open. Just be careful with your focus; the limited depth of field you get at really wide apertures means you have to nail your focus perfectly.






I’m all about wide angle lenses. If I had to pick one focal length as my absolute favorite, I’d have to say 24mm. To me it’s just wide enough to make a powerful impact on the perception of depth in an image if used correctly, and it’s a great focal length for everything from landscapes and street photography to portraits (yes, portraits!). Here’s a few more images from my catalog from the last couple of weeks. Enjoy!













These images are part of a new gallery I’m putting together on my website called “Random Moments.” It’s a less directed gallery compared to my others, very open and creatively free. It’s an expression of my life through the lens as I carry my camera with me everywhere I go. At least for now, it’s a gallery of images I’ve taken with prime lenses. Check it out at gallery.jonathanflemingphotography.com!


My favorite lens ever….really!

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Nikon D700 + Nikkor AFS 24mm f1.4G  and Nikkor AFS 50mm f/1.4G

Written by Jonathan

December 2, 2010 at 9:01 pm

My Anniversary Gift!

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This morning, while getting ready for work, I noticed that my wife left something behind with my name on it by the door. A shiny new Nikkor AFS 50mm f/1.4G. I wish I had the day off so I could spend more time with it, but for now I just quickly took a snap of Suki waiting patiently to be let out into the yard. Thank you Bridget! Happy anniversary =)

Nikon D300s+ Nikkor AFS 50mm f/1.4G at f/1.4, 1/160 second ISO200

Written by Jonathan

July 22, 2010 at 6:59 am

Meow!

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Just found this image buried in my archives. Almost forgot about it! I met this cat on a leisurely stroll in Kyoto this past spring. He was perched on a ledge overlooking someone’s backyard, relaxing and enjoying the calm day. Took this with one of my favorite lenses, the Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8. I think the image demonstrates pretty nicely the lens’ pleasing rendering of out-of-focus areas, as well as its sharpness at maximum aperture.

The Tokina 50-135 f/2.8 was the main lens I used on my recent trip to japan. If it only had a vibration reduction system, it would hardly leave my camera at all!

Shot Specs: Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8 at 135mm f/2.8 1/160 Sec ISO220

Diptychs, Triptychs, and Beyond!

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I love what you can convey by presenting a spread of images together, as in a diptych or triptych.  Some people are really good at putting images together that are distinctly different yet complimentary and story-telling. I’m not one of those people (I don’t really think I have that “artistic eye”), but I did sit down last night and combined put some photos  in a way that hopefully says a little something about Suki.

One thing that can be accomplished with more than one image is the presentation of small details or fractions of a whole, that together, give the viewer a sense of the whole person, place, or object. I experimented with this concept in four images that don’t really reveal exactly what Suki looks like, but do give you a sense of her as a whole through the details that are presented. I dunno, I think it kinda sorta worked.

You can also present a sequence of events or actions using a polyptych (weird word). Suki does the most adorable yawn, but conveying what her yawn looks like pretty much necessitates that I show a series of photos in sequence.

After processing these photos in Lightroom 3 Beta, I opened each up in Photoshop to put them together. I just learned a dead simple way to do this. Assuming that each image is the same size and aspect ratio, all you need to do is extend the background layer’s canvas size by 100% in whichever direction you want to put the next image. Then, just copy and paste the next image on a new layer and drag it into place on the background layer. Sound confusing? Then head over to my cousin Josh’s blog for a video tutorial on diptychs.

Josh is my go-to guy for all my Photoshop needs. I only started working with Photoshop last year, but he’s been using it for easily over a decade for a variety of different art forms, including photography.  A few weeks back I asked him how to add black bars to the top and bottom of my photos, and he sent me an email with screen shots that outlined how to do it step-by-step. I told him “Wow, wouldn’t it be cool if you did some sort of video tutorial on this?”

Soon after, what do you know! He posted a video tutorial on how to add black bars to the top and bottom of your photos. Cool! So I bugged him again and asked him to do another one on diptychs. The cool thing about his tutorials so far is that while there are dozens of ways to accomplish the same thing in a powerful and complex program like Photoshop, he endeavors to find and present the simplest and fastest method. I really appreciate this, as I’m the kind of person who likes to spend as little time as possible editing at the computer. You can find more how-to posts on his blog at http://jliba.wordpress.com.

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Image Top: Nikon D300s + Micro Nikkor AFS 60mm f/2.8G

Image Bottom: Nikon D300s + Nikkor AFS 35mm f/1.8G

Written by Jonathan

February 26, 2010 at 10:17 am

Caught in the Act!

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Noticed this little dog at the park the other day and starting firing away. Seemed a like a cute little fellow.


Aw, how cute….


AAACK!!!!

Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135 f/2.8

Written by Jonathan

February 25, 2010 at 9:49 am

Suki’s Night Walks

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I take Suki on shorter walks during lunch, but we usually go for longer strolls at night. This particular walk was a little more difficult for me because I was hauling some camera gear on my shoulder while out on the town, but I wanted to get a nice night shot of Suki for my 52 week Flickr project. The image above didn’t quite make the cut as my selection for week 3 of the project.  I really like this shot of her, but the fact that it’s ever-so-slightly front-focused bothers me.

Someone on Flickr asked me if I took my latest shot of her using available city light. I was glad he asked, because that’s exactly how I wanted it to look! At this spot, there wasn’t nearly enough ambient to get this kind of image, so I used a couple of carefully placed, gelled speedlights to help me out.

At times I hear photographers complain that they don’t like the look of flash and and so they shy away from using it. I say they’re missing out! Perhaps when they’re referring to “the look of flash,” they mean the harsh, bare, unflattering light that comes straight from camera axis. But “artificial” light can be modified: softened, directed, colored, and controlled to achieve a desired look. Using it creatively opens up endless photographic opportunities that simply wouldn’t be possible by relying solely on the sun or the crummy light radiating from a street lamp.

So get to know your flash! It can take your photography to the next level.