Day +192: Halloween in our suburb

We all know that Halloween is a big deal in places like the US, but do people here in Sydney celebrate it? In our neighbourhood, the answer is: kinda. Maybe 1 in every 3-5 houses might embrace the concept of trick-or-treating (even if they don’t really understand what it’s actually about).

Some clearly don’t:


Our daughter (and friends) love to dress up and go trick-or-treating; it’s something she’s done for the past 3 or 4 years, always returning home with a basket load of sugar-filled delights. We got some baby pumpkins (next year, we might actually try to carve one)!


Night time gets a little eerie…




The great thing about photography is that there are always new things to learn. My current practise revolves around 2 VERY important aspects of photography. The first is using flash, and that’s a work in progress. I’m not talking about putting a flash on the camera and firing it straight at people (you know, the deer in headlights look), but I’m working on the use of bounce and off-camera flash using manual settings, to add an extra “pop” to my images.

For this blog, I want to talk about the second thing I’m working on- image sharpness. As a portrait and wedding photographer, it is vital to get sharp images of the model / bride / groom / fill in the blank person or people. As they say, the eyes are “the window to the soul”, and out-of-focus eyes make terrible pictures. It’s hard enough getting the eyes perfectly in focus normally, but try doing it in low-light, in a rush, with apertures as wide as 1.4, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Shooting wide open at 1.4 (or 2.8 even, depending on your lens) makes accurate focusing (and steady hands) critical, because the depth-of-field is extremely shallow. The beauty of this, when done perfectly, is the bokeh (the creamy, dream-like background that makes your subject stand out). A small amount of mis-focus will not be tolerated at such wide apertures. This weekend, for Halloween, I took out my 35/1.4L. It was dark, kids were running everywhere, and boy was that a wake-up call about image sharpness. Will be working on that in the coming weeks.

Remember, practise until you’re good at it, and then work on something else.