|Photographs © Steve Conney 2013. All Rights Reserved.|
Photographs © Steve Conney 2010. All Rights Reserved.
If you like seeing imagery from the wilds of Africa take a few moments to view some of Steve Conney’s Recent work from travels in Uganda! Steve is based out of Boulder, Colorado.
CLICK HERE to VIEW Steve’s Image Collection.
The Nikon 50mm/F1.4 Prime lens, recently acquired and immediately tested. I picked this sucker up used for a price most photogs wouldn’t even flinch at, slammed it on my camera and then walked across the street to make this picture. The reason I bought the lens in the first place was to make this picture.
The prime with it’s shallow depth of field is ideal for portraiture. The D90 makes this a very acceptable substitute for the more expensive 85mm lens, but ever so compact, light and lovely. As the evening light dwindles and fades away, one can still create stunning images with available light and the low depth of field will only add interest as you engage your subject!
This image of a flute player was shot in bright sunlight, under the shade of a covered walkway, not uncommon in the streets of Santa Fe, New Mexico with it’s historic architecture.
Simplify your gear, free your mind of unnecessary choices and the pictures will follow! Now go enjoy the light….Cheers, Jeremy
There has been a lot of discussion lately in the photographic world about the advantages of Prime Lenses over the ever-popular telephoto (zoom) lenses commonly attached to Digital SLR cameras. I find myself both giving and gaining wisdom on the subject often enough that I feel compelled to say a few words on the subject.
Prime lenses, for those who are new to the craft of photography, are the old standard. They are small, compact lenses with a fixed focal length. With these lenses the photographer is forced to move in closer to a subject or change to another prime lens. The ease and versatility of zoom lenses has become the increasing favorite among enthusiast, while many ardent professionals still use and swear by their primes.
With that said, here is some personal background. When I began shooting in my early twenties I packed a Pentax K1000 around Ecuador with nothing more than a fast 50mm fixed lens. Two years later, I would add a 28mm and a very seldom-used 80-300 telephoto for my extended assignment in Africa. I had glamorized visions of capturing cheetahs in mid flight across the golden savannas, brandy in hand. I would have done better to leave the zoom, perhaps packing a few more Steinbeck novels in its stead. During those two years in Africa, I never wanted for any other lens, exploring the cultures and landscapes of that rich continent, shooting only my 28mm and 50mm.
I returned a year later with a basic Nikon DSLR setup, and again made some of my best images using prime lenses. The above image of a young schoolgirl was shot using a Nikkor 50mm f1.8 as the very last of Africa’s golden light reflected on Lesotho. The least expensive lens in Nikon’s fleet, exceptionally fast, and rendering a beautifully shallow depth of field when shot wide open. This lens works out to be roughly an 80mm when used on a digital camera with a DX Sensor- the conversion being a multiple of 1.6.
While the quality of prime lenses is often times superior, the cost is almost always low. These lenses are simple, lightweight, and razor sharp. Pictured below is an image taken from Nikon USA’s product site, the 35mm prime is considered by many to be the standard in focal length for street photography. Note: When shooting on a DX format camera, 24mm would be the closest equivalent prime lens.
Enough of the tech stuff, let’s talk practicality. When it comes to camera gear, I love to keep it simple and small. This equates to portability, and a presence that is less obtrusive. This style of photography is ideal for Photojournalism and travel photography. A large lens, no matter how inexpensive, is an attention getter. Prime lenses are less likely to get you mugged, easier to pack around in a day pack, messenger bag, and ultimately less expensive to replace if damaged, stolen.
I would say that a simple approach leaves you to focus on what matters, your photography, save the gear for the studio and those who enjoy using it. A solid camera, three prime lenses, and a sense of adventure will be all you need to create your best work- at home or abroad!
I have certainly set out to make a number of self portriats over the years- usually a request or assignment of some sort. Although since going digital, I have found myself shooting the odd reflection or miscast shadow if the image catches my interest.
These scenarios are almost always the product of isolation- like talking to ones self perhaps. I find that as I move about car grave yards, empty buildings or quite streets that my images often gravitiate to the human element – often times my own! The serendipitous self portrait is perhaps the best, truly documentary and usually unpretentous….
As photographers do you find yourself making or rather taking self portraits which you might liken to a chance encounter?
I would certainly argue that the many self portraits taken over the years by some of the most influential photographers are now an invaluable part of the photographic record.
Just something to think about next time you catch your own reflection -camera in hand! Cheers, Jeremy