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11 April 2016
We were there for the first day of Bouquets to Art 2016 and we couldn't resist returning for the last day, as the fabulous floral arrangements took their last bow.
It may be hard to believe but it was even more crowded than it was Wednesday, probably because it was a Sunday.
That brought in the riff-raff (us among them) who just can't help walking in front of a camera. Or chatting with a friend they haven't seen in a while as a handful of smartphones hover around them trying to get an angle on the display they are blocking.
But that's how these things go.
We used a different approach to this shoot.
We still relied on the Micro Four Thirds camera with its body-based stabilization. That paid off well, the second time we were able to get through the show shooting over 80 images without any camera blur.
The fresh florals are captured by the sharp neutral lens while the fading bouquets are remembered by the soft warm lens that sees them from afar.
But we swapped out the 14-42mm kit autofocusing lens for a 1980s vintage 50mm f1.4 Nikkor. It's an old favorite we've mentioned before. In this context it served like a telephoto, exceeding the 42mm of the kit lens. With the Micro Four Thirds crop factor of 2.0, that was the 35mm equivalent of a 100mm lens.
Which is not quite the best focal length when shooting in a crowd, perhaps. A crowd of smartphone users using very wide angle focal lengths, we should add, so they were crowded around the displays.
But that was the challenge.
It was made a good deal more enjoyable by using the camera's EVF. We were able to see focus on the LCD, not through some equivalent optical system on a dSLR, which as it happens can't show focus at fast apertures anyway. That's why you use Live View on a dSLR to focus at f1.4, say.
But we weren't shooting at wide apertures. At all. We worked at f5.6, f8 and f11 to keep a handle on the hot spots. On the EVF the highlight burned white but we knew we'd have some color in them when we pulled up the Raw captures in Lightroom.
The 50mm focal length made a very large difference in what we captured. Not just in determining our compostion, isolating elements, but in bringing a much shallower depth of field to the image than a 14mm shot would have contributed.
But there is something else going on here, too.
These images have a sort of soft warm glow about them that Wednesday's do not. The opening day images are crisp but neutral.
Clearly that's about the optics because everything else was the same.
But it's also something of a poetic touch. The fresh florals are captured by the sharp neutral lens while the fading bouquets are remembered by the soft warm lens that sees them from afar.
Who ever said photography is not an art?