50mm Shallow DOF

Today I decided to return to the basics. I stripped my 5D down to just the body and an EF 50mm f/1.4 lens. My idea was to just go out and about and see what inspired me. While I was eating lunch at my favorite Mexicana Grill ( Willy’s ), I noticed the unique lighting above the tables.

The soft colors got me thinking about a shallow depth-of-field shot showing all the different colors. From my seat, I took this shot. I setup the camera in manual mode with the aperture set to f/1.4 (wide open) and focused on the closest light.

The strong contrast between the inside and outside lighting was a challenge to balance. Since I always shoot in RAW, I was able to use the adjustment brush in ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) to darken the outdoors part of the shot, while brightening some of the more interesting highlights inside the restaurant.

After this shot I tried a horizontal version at a slightly smaller aperture ( f/2.0). I was worried that the focus point, which was at the bottom of the closets light, would not be sharp. This seemed to work, while still maintaining the shallow DOF falling off into the background.

I like the vertical shot better. Let me know what you think…

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