Friday, November 26, 2010

Festival of Lights: A Tale of Two Photos

Festival of Lights
Canon S95 at 28mm, 1/15sec at f2.0, ISO400

Festival of Waiting
Nikon D7000 with 35mm lens, 1/100sec at f1.8, ISO1600

I took these two photos during and before the Festival of Lights Parade in Chicago on November 20th, 2010.  Both are attempts to take essentially the same photo-- a shot of the crowd, but beyond that, they couldn't be more different.  The first photo is during the parade, and captures the excitement of the crowd with hints of the parade going by in the background-- it's strictly an editorial image.  The second was just before the parade began, and reveals more mixed emotion in the main subject, who is isolated from the out-of-focus background.

Technically speaking, the top photo was taken with a Canon S95 and the bottom with a Nikon D7000 and 35mm lens.  Due to the Canon's tiny sensor I was able to capture a large depth of field even though this was shot at f2 (it's VR also did a nice job keeping things in focus at 1/15sec and ISO400).  Where as, with the larger sensor in the D7000, a shallow depth of field was almost required.  Due to the low light and lack of VR in the 35mm lens, this was shot at f1.8 and ISO1600.

People often will say that camera equipment doesn't matter-- only the photographer matters, they'll tell you-- but this is naive and never entirely true.  The fact is, I would have had a hard time capturing the top photo with the D7000, while the shallow depth of field of the bottom photo is simply impossible with the S95.

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