Whenever I go on location with several cases of equipment depending on the job, clients often wonder why so much equipment is needed. I usually answer that I only need about a third of it, however, I never know which third.
This also applies to the camera case, where I usually have lenses ranging from an 8mm fisheye which sees 180 degrees, to the other end of the spectrum – a 500mm lens which has only a 5 degree angle of view, along with converters which doubles the power.
I seldom used the 500mm lens when I was using DX cameras, due to the smaller sensor which converts this lens to a whopping 750mm. But now that I back to shooting full frame, I’ve rediscovered what I used to love about this lens – not it’s sharpness, which is OK, but I love the way points of lights turns into circles when out of focus.
This “bokeh” ( how a lens renders out of focus parts of the image ) is the result of it being a “catadioptric” design. Unlike a normal lenses, the image is reflected off a couple of mirrors much like a telescope and that causes the circles or “donuts” as some call it. This also allows it to be light and compact compared to a standard lens design.
The images were part of a series done for Valley Book, a directory for residents and businesses in the Farmington valley. One of the locations to scout for possible covers was the Pickin’ Patch in Avon. I was also instructed that the client was not very fond the usual pumpkin-shots-in-the-field scenics, so in looking for a different approach on a bright sunny day, I thought the 500 would give a different feel to a common, overdone subject. To get that bokeh, I purposedly shot facing into the sun to get those light sparkles which turn into circles. Sometimes even without the circles, the lens’ shallow depth of field makes for interesting results often simplifying a busy scene.
It’s been probably several years since the last time I’ve taken a picture with the 500, and had considered selling it, but I still carry it around faithfully everyday as part of the arsenal. Hey, one never knows when a rarely used lens saves the day, and that’s why we carry all that stuff.