Be Careful

Jonathan Stroud’s Heroes of the Valley is fantastic. Since purchasing the audiobook two days ago, David Thorn’s incredible narration has consumed every moment in which my ears weren’t needed for something else.

The story employs one of my favorite devices: a seemingly impassable, highly dangerous boundary which must inevitably be crossed. This is archetypal of the hero’s journey and Stroud deftly wields it in setting the stage and driving the development of his characters and their story forward.


With not a little difficulty, I recently acquired a telephoto prime lens for my camera: the fabled Canon 135mm f2l. Preliminary testing raised serious questions. Is it actually legal to point something this sharp at other humans?


Update 2009-04-08: To further expand on the test shots above and the 135mm f2l lens: I was a little over a meter from the subject for each of those shots. The minimum focusing distance on the 135mm is selectable — either .9 or 1.6 meters. The actual focal length on my camera — a 20d — is about 216mm due to the crop factor.

I should note that the lens does tend to hunt for focus in low-contrast and low-light situations — sometimes racking to either end of the focus range before locking in. This appears to be dependent on the minimum focusing distance setting — at .9 meters there’s generally more hunting than at 1.6 meters.

The 24-70mm f2.8l is quite a bit more certain under similar conditions.


6 Comments so far. Comments are closed.
  1. Need more info – how far away were you when you shot these?

  2. Fortson,

    2 of my favorite spring-time flowers – especially periwinkle! Thanks for posting these.

  3. ratchetcat,

    @saint – Just updated the post! I’d call it about a meter (or slightly more) for each of those shots.

    @Fortson – You’re welcome! I wish I could offer something more polished, but I suspect fully mastering the use of this lens will take some time…

  4. Kate,

    Lucky you; for the find and the foliage! These are the only flowers I’ll be seeing around for awhile! XD

    ( My camera performs so horribly in low light, and when it _does_ decide to obey what I’ve told it; the resulting noise kills an otherwise perfect shot. Shame on me for not sticking with the main-stream Canon. 🙁 )

  5. ratchetcat,

    @Kate – When do you all usually get flowers? I’d probably be going mad now without that extra color in the scenery.

    (Low light is trouble for almost any digicam, I think (except maybe a 5d Mk II or a d700!). We should probably count our blessings, though — dealing with digital noise is infinitely better than dealing with reciprocity effects and slow feedback in film! And it’s sometimes possible to use noise pretty artfully… a lot like the large grain noise that showed up in high-speed film back in the day.)

  6. Kate,

    I would swear that we used to have flowers by this time, but the weather has been quite odd this year; and that late snow-storm may have delayed us even further. I’d say we’ll start to see flowers May/March… I am going a tad mad over it, actually. 😉

    ( Ha, yeah… I can dig up a few ruined film shots from my youth; many are birthdays (the relatives love that fact, I’m sure). A lot of my noise turns up as red, green, and blue lines if it’s _too_ dark, the whole shot turning into looking like something I took from under an old and shedding burlap bag. )