I had some fun shooting at the classic car show in Gig Harbor this weekend. I’ll have another post on how to shoot car shows, but for now, suffice it to say that with some “challenging” backgrounds, focusing on details is usually the safe bet. I really liked the hood ornament on this old Buick so I decided to do a close up. I shot this photo with a Canon 1D MK IV and a Canon 135mm, f/2 lens mounted on an Induro CT-414 with Induro PHQ3 panning head. I shot this image wide open at F/2. Here’s why. The car was parked right in front of a movie theater and the reflections from the theater were killing me. I tried for 10 minutes to find an angle that wasn’t spoiled by reflections with no luck. So as a last resort, I opened up in hopes that they would just fade away thanks to the wide open lens bokeh. It worked.
Fast glass is expensive. And I might have been tempted to shoot this with an F/4 70-200 zoom I had in my bag. But here’s the shot at F/4. While not completely terrible, even at F/4 you can start to see a real difference in the detail of the reflections.
Now, just to illustrate the difference in a way that shows off how much difference depth of field impacts a shot like this, here’s the image exposed at F/32. An extreme to be sure, but it illustrates just how much trouble the reflections were giving me.
This post isn’t about which image you like best. It’s about illustrating how fast glass can save your bacon when you have challenging backgrounds or lots of reflections. Shallow depth of field can cure a multitude of problems. So for all of you who send me e-mail asking if you should save up for the fastest glass or go for something less expensive, I’m afraid the answer is – save up. The fast glass matters.