About the author: Jane Burkinshaw is a professional photographer and passionate about all things photography related. Jane specialises in portrait photography and runs photography courses.

My lovely 50mm lens

(Sorry for the annoying centre alignment - it's refusing all my efforts to left align - some bug in Picasa I think!)
I've been battling with this lens a bit since I bought it a couple of months back.
I'm not sure if every one is the same but I tend to have a breaking in period with any bit of new kit. I've used it a fair amount but unlike my other lenses, the results have been a bit hit and miss - too many over-exposed or out of focus shots. I've finally worked out that shooting at such low f-stops -it's the Canon 50mm f/1.8 prime lens - was the main cause of the problems. I love shallow depth of field, closely cropped shots, so was tending to mainly shoot at f/1.8 - 3.2 - this needs a huge degree of accuracy and is not easy with fast moving portrait shoots. When I have a problem with a new piece of equipment I force myself to use it exclusively for some non-work photography. So over this last weekend, which incorporated Father's Day, a visit to the mother-in-law's garden and a trip to the seaside, I left all my other lenses at home and had a proper play around with this one. With no deadlines or pressure to deliver I think I've mastered it and have a series of images that I'm really pleased with. With no other lenses to hand I've shot close up and distant in various light conditions. Subjects were as ever the kids and flowers. My 60mm lens is my fail safe, amazingly clear and sharp portrait lens but too narrow for close ups of three people, so to get some great quality, head and shoulder shots of the kids & Nic was good news. My favourite picture taken yesterday at Llandudno was of Abigail blowing bubbles off the pier (in black & white above). I think it really gives a strong sense of place and almost nostalgic atmosphere (but perhaps that's just the G&T talking!).
Nic's mum's garden never disappoints at this time of year - the beds and containers are filled to over flowing with scores of different flowers and shrubs. I was, for the first time over the weekend, seriously regretting not packing the macro lens but soon realised that using the 50mm lens was forcing me to compose differently, look more at the whole plant. And the f/1.8 aperture was creating some seriously beautiful background effects. Astrantia is one of my favourite flowers for plant portraits - so small and delicate but very architectural and with lots of interesting markings. I've shot them lots of times before but with the 50mm lens have managed a different take on them.
So it's turned out to be a real little beauty and worth much more to me than the £75 I paid for it.
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