12 March 2017

Re-Imagining The Portrait. My Petzval 58 Takes On Maria And Lulu

Maria And Lulu

It is not uncommon around her to see Maria communing with a donkey or a pony or chatting with some sheep. It is a difficult thing to capture well, and this afternoon, in finger-freezing cold, I took my new Petzal 58 Portrait lens – just as it was when it was invented in 1840, turned my focus gears, inserted my aperture plate, and blew on my fingers and got this shot.

The amazing thing about the Petzal is that you can control what phographers call  bokeh, the blurring of the background so that the viewer is drawn to the subject. This is most effective when doing close-up portraits, but also in landscapes, when you are trying to capture a particular part of a scene while also capturing a sense of place.

I like this photo because it shows Maria with her donkey, but you also know where you are and where she is. That is a hat trick.

Bokeh makes the photographs so appealing that the viewer is instinctively drawn to the subject. My new Petzval lens permits me to control the swirl and depth of the bokey. As in the above photo, where I focused on Maria and Lulu and the camera knew what to do with the rest.

I was in the farmhouse alone and Maria yelled she was going out to the back pasture. Every day when we are home, she goes out to spend time with the donkeys or with Chloe, her pony. Chloe is leaving us soon, so the time is a bit more charge dand I wanted to capture it

I was taken by the scene. Red up front watching the sheep, the donkeys and some sheep grazing around Maria, a cold clear day and a new lens. I am very excited about the feeling this lens brings, and amazed I got it for a fraction of what new lenses usually cost. Good on me, and thanks to Ely at B&H photo for guiding me to it. The lens is a monumental pain in the ass to use, and I am already the better photographer for that.

Eventually my fingers just froze, and the frost-bitten fingers started to scream. But I did some damage before they did, and I will share it over the next day or so. I'm putting up an album tonight on Facebook.

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