Daily Inspiration #939 By Mario

Hi Steve,

Congrats for your nice work I really like your approach in reviewing products from a realist point of view. MFT charts and endless tech discussions bore me so much. I am a 59 year old hobbyist from Argentina and I would like to share this pictures that I took of my favourite model, my lovely 18 year old daughter, Salome. We went to the Palermo’s Woods in Buenos Aires this morning and It was cloudy. I used my SONY A77 and the unique 135 STF lens that I love so much. It has the best bokeh that I have ever seen. As you say “character”. All pictures were taken at f4.5 / 1/250 and ISO 200 the first one, ISO 400 the second one and ISO 100 the last one.

Is it just me or Salome is beautiful ??

Best regards and thank you for your great job.





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  1. Thank you so much for all your comments. They show me the complete library that I have to learn in order to be a good photographer. Palermo is a very nice place and I tried to incorporate the scenery on my pictures. The only thing that confuses me is that I have seen many prized pictures on the web that includes surroundings in completes bodies portratis so what is wrong with this composition ? I appreciate your inputs very much. I will be posting new pics with your suggestions. Mario

    • Take a look at the wedding portraits of Jose Villa, for example. It’s not the presence of a background that’s the problem but in No. 2 and 3 (above) the backgrounds are distracting (a window near the center of the image in 2 and graffiti in 3). Just my opinion.

      • http://josevilla.com

        Looks like he applies some DOF blur after effects filter to most every image; I don’t think much of this bokeh effect is done in camera, it is in the PP.

        Look at the blog, then the last image, the left of frame guests have a ribbon of OOF effect running through them but not the other side; which is a very poor use of such an effect as this is an, “everybody at the ceremony” image.

        Similarly, look at the bride holding her bouquet in the same set, see how her eyes have been made out of focus – really odd, when the flowers are “in” – they’re on the same focal plane – so it’s an effect, a filter applied in PP.

        Not a suitable example at all given the photographer is trying to better apply the Sony defocussing ring on this lens with these images.

        • There are plenty of photos on Villa’s site that show normal background bokeh. The primary problem (IMO) with the photos here has nothing to do with the defocussing lens; it’s about excluding or avoiding distractions in the composition, and Villa has many outdoor photos of young people that it might be helpful to study from a compositional point of view. I’m sure there are tens of thousands of other sites like that, but I happen to like his work and so referred to him.

  2. I love Buenos Aires and had a lovely trip there a few years ago. We went to the Teatro Colon after it re-opened, the Recoleta, Tigre etc. Great city!

    Your daughter is a beautiful young lady. I would have photographed her much closer and used the bokeh to blur the backgrounds, which are a bit distracting for portraiture. But her personality comes out very effectively in these photos. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Your daughter is beautiful and you should be proud 🙂
    I think people can get somewhat cruel in the expression of their comments, ignore them. I do however agree that as nice as these photos are, you should get in closer with that lens…why? Simply because she is beautiful, she has nice features, kind eyes and smooth clear skin, make that the focal point of the shot. The backgrounds here distract from that. These pics will always be memories for you but try and take it too the next level and reward yourself and others with a simpler portrait, paying attention to the light…natural or otherwise. Keep up the passion and hard work, thanks for sharing.

  4. Just very enjoyable. Don’t be discouraged by all the suggestions for improvement! These are your pictures and I for one found your framing refreshing – especially the first picture. Do it your way!!

  5. Well, that lens is indeed very nice and your daughter is certainly attractive. 😉 But, like others have said, the backgrounds ruin these shots. It’s the background, not the subject, that makes the photo in a lot of cases.

    Getting closer to the subject does help but sometimes including the environment is useful too. It’s a different kind of impact. But the environment has to be nice to look at. Here, it’s just fussy.

    Salome’s shoes are a little distracting to me. But otherwise she is nicely presented. I would have preferred to see her with her hair down.

  6. Sorry. Can’t. When I opened this all I got were tiny thumbnails. I would love go see the sized up image.

  7. Beautiful girl, good snaps. Now you need to get in closer, use the lens wide open against a dark, defocused background, then some fill-in flash. In PP, use clarity slider and SOME JUDICIOUS DODGING / BURNING to add zing to the close-up portraits. Remember to tilt the camera, focus on her eyes and get some nice catchlights in them ! Good luck !!

    • That’s unnecessarily complicated. Get in closer, choose the right background, choose the right ambient (study the light!), that’s it.

      • Every portraitist has his own method, and there are so many paths to the goal. I am sure your portraits will get better and better as you keep at it. You have a beautiful daughter (just like lucky old me) and that’s half the work already done ! Cheers, my fiend !

    • I disagree.

      This lens is a f2.8, and employs a Sony patented defocussing ring – yet I get no sense of this special defocussed ability at all, they just look like any other medium focal length lens at f4.5-ish.

      To make the most of this lens I think you need to get closer to your subject, and I mean a whole lot closer and let’s see what this extra Sony ring can do.

      You may want to have a look at galleries using something similar, such a the Nikon AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2 D, to better understand how best to employ this lens?

      Hope to see the results in due course – the best of luck with this lens.

      “Smooth Trans Focus (STF) employs a special “apodization” element that controls the parts of the image that are not in focus. This does not affect the focused part of the image, only what is out of focus, and is set independently from the camera’s focus and aperture via the STF ring.”

    • If you look at the composition of the first image, the model has a whole bush growing out of her abdomen.

  8. Your daughter is a great model and the lens gives a lovely look. However, I was very surprised to open this post and see you hadn’t used the reach to get in much closer! Personally, I think that, if you do distant portraits which include a lot of the environment around the subject, the background needs to be more interesting. Even cropping hard into these pictures would improve them considerably, to my eyes. Just my perspective, thanks for showing us your photos.

    • +1.
      Shot no1 – delete, it shows nothing of interest.
      Shot 3 – way too many red, distracting elements, both L and R of the model.

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