Yellow Chair Project Recap

Recently I decided to offer mini sessions featuring a really cool yellow arm chair that I saw at Amurica. The whole concept behind this project was to take candid portraits while having the chair in random locations. Due to the weirdness of Memphis weather, we were forced inside. I decided to move the shoots to Crosstown Concourse, which features some of the best interior natural lighting. Another great thing about Crosstown Concourse is that each corner of each floor is totally different from the rest. Keeping each shoot unique was important. 

Well, I've done way too much talking. Here are some of the images from this project!

I want to thank all those that trusted me to capture these images. They came from all walks of life and some had zero experience in front of a camera. I also had the pleasure of having an assistant for this undertaking and she was simply amazing. I also want to thank Jamie Harmon at Amurica for letting me use his chair for this shoot! You're the greatest!

Life is for Living,

Michael B

Minolta MC Rokkor 58mm f 1.4 Review

           Since upgrading from my Sony a6000 crop sensor camera to my full frame Sony a7 Mark 2, I've been really into vintage lens. The beauty of the mirrorless system is that practically any lens can be adapted to the body. Vintage lens also happen to be a fraction of the cost of newer lenses as well. 

         I set out on a mission to find a fast vintage lens to do portraits and it also had to be under $100 including adapter. I recently read a few reviews about older Minolta lenses and decided to give it a try. I headed to eBay and found a 58mm f/1.4 lens for $54. I went to Amazon to purchase an adapter to mount to my camera body. I found a Neewer out for $13. 

Minolta 58mm mounted to a7 Mark 2 body

Minolta 58mm mounted to a7 Mark 2 body

        My initial impressions of the lens were boy was this thing pretty! The lens is also pretty hefty. it threw off the balance on my a7 M2 and took some getting used to. I also noticed that the aperture blades are stuck wide open. I will be honest, this isn't a big problem because I didn't buy this lens to stop it down. Wide open or nothing! I want insane bokeh!         

            I don't have fancy scientific data or graphs to show the sharpness or the clarity of this lens. I don't claim to be an expert at photography, I only use real world results. Here are some sample photos from my first few hours with the lens. 

Sample photos

Conclusion

           As you can see by the images above, this lens provides some great depth of field and some insanely gorgeous bokeh! It might be my portrait lens of choice for the moment. The focus peaking on Sony cameras makes manual focus incredibly easy to do. The images that come out of a nearly 50 year old lens for under $70 with an adapter was well worth the price. I'm in bokeh heaven at the moment! 

The Amazing World of Bounce Flash

Photography has become a real hobby for me lately. I never intended to become a photographer initially. I bought my camera because I wanted better pictures on the blog and I didn't have the money to pay anyone.  

Some 9 months later and I've become quite the shutter bug. I love experimenting and trying new techniques. My latest is the art of bounching flash.  

 

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It's essentially bounching flash off of something to get softer, more natural lighting. The results are amazing! I won't bore you with the technical lingo of it all, but the technique really works. 

I bounced the flash behind me to create more fill flash. Now, the ceilings were white and low so the results vary based on the environment, but I at least no what I can do inside a house.  

Also, my mom's dogs or Petey are always my test subjects on new techniques. So pet lovers enjoy!!   

All pictures taken with these settings:  

f2.8 1/80 sec 800 ISO flash manually set to 1/32 

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So there you have it. Bounce flash is real! I can now incorporate this into more shoots in the future. I was always anti-flash, but now I'm a bit more open to the possibilities of it. 

Some none pet examples:  

Boris, picture taken in a pitch black room.  

Boris, picture taken in a pitch black room.  

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Life is for Living, 

Michael B.  

Testing My New Lens on Main St.

I recently purchased a new lens for my Sony mirrorless camera and wanted to test it out. I bought a Sony E-mount 50mm f/1.8 prime lens. It wasn't as expensive as I thought it might have been and it's definitely an upgrade over the kit lens that came with my camera. 

Main Street  

Main Street  

So I decided that the best place to try this new glass out was on Main Street since there's always something and someone to see.  

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This is where the new lens really shined. I would have had to use flash before, but the 50mm kicked ass! There's also so many little fine details scattered around the bar that's technically a speakeasy. I was able to get some great shots with high shutter speeds that would have been impossible with my kit lens.  

So, of course I had to get something to eat and most bars aren't really known for having good food. It's the complete opposite at The Blind Bear. They actually have really good food. I normally go on Sunday to partake in their Hungover Like A Bear Brunch. I love the chicken and waffles, that can easily feed 2, and the $3 Mimosas. I usually go for the Man-mosas, which is a mimosa with splash of vodka. Plus i get to see one of my favorite bartenders, Brad Wilson! For this trip it was the crawfish mac & cheese and the grilled fish tacos...

I enjoyed my meal and it was back out to Main Street. But before a left, two things really caught my eye and I had to try to get a decent shot of each.

Headed back out and got a few more random shots. 

Her name was literally Bee like Beyonce...the whole name!

I'm really enjoying this Sony 50MM prime lens. It's definitely an upgrade over my kit lens but I will have to get used to being further away from my subjects. I will look into possibly getting a 35MM prime lens as well. I think that would be better for events and food photography. Either way, I'm now taking insanely better pictures! That's the biggest plus!

Life is for Living,

Michael B.