Blowing out backgrounds with the new lens.

I was photographing people at Garrido's Restaurant last nigh and I found myself using the new 85mm t1.5 Rokinon lens almost exclusively. Part of the reason was pragmatic. We didn't want to have to model release everyone in the restaurant and we didn't want to interrupt peoples' dining experiences so we left the lights in the case and depended on the fast lens to carve out the sharp main subjects from a soft and impressionistic background. In the late afternoon there was still some reflected daylight boosting the illumination in the restaurant, but we quickly lost that. I started shooting at ISO 800 and progressively made my way to ISO 3200. I was doing the work handheld, depending on nearly wide open apertures and the built-in Super Steady Shot IS built into the Sony a99 camera.

All of these images were shot around t 2.0 or, at the most, t 2.8. I tried to prop my elbows on bar tops and table tops to help stabilize the camera and I worked as diligently as I could with shutter speeds that ranged from 1/60th at the beginning of the shoot to 1/15th at the end of the evening.
The EVF in the a99 was a handy thing to have. I depended on seeing the color balance in the finder and making corrections more or less on the fly. It was also great to see how the frames would look at their shooting apertures as I worked, without having to "chimp."

In the last three days I've shot over 1,000 raw frames with the Rokinon 85mm Cine t 1.5 lens and I'm very happy with its performance. One of my projects involved shooting the front panels of exotic servers and I stopped down to f16 to make sure my images were sharp front to back. At f16 I saw no obvious sharpness reduction from diffraction and the files looked great. On this job I worked at the opposite end of the aperture ring and I found that whatever I focused on turned out to be sharp and contrasty even wide open or near wide opening. All in all it's very good performance for a high speed optic at a bargain basement price.

More to come soon.

Enchiladas at Garrido's in Downtown Austin.

I shot these enchiladas at Garrido's restaurant in Austin. David Garrido was the executive chef at Jeffrey's before striking out on his own and creating a really great place of his own in downtown. The menu is wonderful modern Latin with nods to fine French cuisine. The prices are suprisingly affordable and the food is incredible.

As you know I've been shooting there lately for Garrido's marketing. This plate of perfect enchiladas is one of the images we shot a week and a have ago.

I used a bank of LED panels, covered with diffusion, above and slightly behind the food. Two large reflectors, just outside the live area of the shot, in front of the entrée provided light to the front of the dish.

I shot with a Sony a99 coupled with the venerable Sony 70-200mm 2.8 G lens. Everything was locked onto the stable platform of my Berlebach wooden tripod.