I shot multiple frames of this situation because I was looking for something beyond the picture of this kid trying out the mask. I liked this one best because he appeared to make a face when he realized how heavy these paper mache masks are.

2nd Annual Tlahualilies & Tallwowlillies Festival in Riverside


IMG_3912

Without a speedlite to control the extremely contrasty situation, I had to ask this boy to move his face so I could capture his eyes. Shooting raw helped a lot of course.

Using one lens was how generations of film photographers learned.

Back then it was a known as the standard 50mm lens.

That was the focal length which approximates what the human eye sees in its angle of view.

That was the kit lens.

Not to sound like a fuddy duddy, if you wanted a wide angle zoom the likes of a 18mm-55mm or 18mm-135mm back then, you had to pay extra.
mm

That forced camera users to walk either closer or to step back all the time keeping an eye in the viewfinder to see how their composition changed.

I shot multiple frames of this situation because I was looking for something beyond the picture of this kid trying out the mask. I liked this one best because he appeared to make a face when he realized how heavy these paper mache masks are.

I shot multiple frames of this situation because I was looking for something beyond the picture of this kid trying out the mask. I liked this one best because he appeared to make a face when he realized how heavy these paper mache masks are. I also asked that the position himself so that the sun was behind him.

Recently  I attended a local festival, Tlahualilies & Tallwowlillies Festival originally celebrated in Sahuayou region of Michoacan, Mexico.

I wondered how I would do if I used only one lens.

With a 50mm lens, I had to really hustle and run in closer to shoot this. It's not the ideal lens to shoot spontaneous action like this but the f1.4 allowed me to shoot wide open to blur out backgrounds. 1/350 sec @ f1.4 ISO 400

With a 50mm lens, I had to really hustle and run in closer to shoot this. It’s not the ideal lens to shoot spontaneous action like this but the f1.4 allowed me to shoot wide open to blur out backgrounds. 1/350 sec @ f1.4 ISO 400

I came across these two friends who were enjoying each other's company and I motioned for them to stand with their backs to the sun so I could get a rim light around their heads instantly making them stand out.

I came across these two friends who were enjoying each other’s company and I motioned for them to stand with their backs to the sun so I could get a rim light around their heads instantly making them stand out.

Closeup of a mask

Closeup of a mask. Ideally I would have asked the person to remove the mask and photograph them posing with the masks. The trouble is the masks are so big and heavy, I couldn’t find anyway to place the masks at the same eye level as the person.

IMG_3981It was difficult  because I was so used to using my 80-200 non image stabilized zoom lens.

Candids really required me to get in close. I made sure to shoot a lot so that they ignored me after a while. ISO 100 1/180 sec @ f2

Candids really required me to get in close. I made sure to shoot a lot so that they ignored me after a while. ISO 100 1/180 sec @ f2

Again, I coaxed this person to follow me to a spot where the background was much cleaner and her back was to the sun.

Again, I coaxed this person to follow me to a spot where the background was much cleaner and her back was to the sun.

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As the sun disappeared the color temperature had to be adjusted. In Lightroom, I warmed up the skin tones on this picture. By shooting a lot, my subjects forgot about my presence after a while much easier to do at an event held in a pubic place.

It required me to schmooze a lot more because I had to approach strangers and invade their personal space a little more.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • the event was 6p to 9p (gorgeous light for an hour)
  • the 50 mm lens is truly a 50mm on my Canon 5DMark2.
  • I didn’t bring my Speedlite ( I should have btw)

I didn’t want to use flash simply because that would ruin the spontaneity of many of these situations.

Comments always welcome.
Peter Phun Photography

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2 thoughts on “2nd Annual Tlahualilies & Tallwowlillies Festival in Riverside”

  1. Hi Jo,
    Most of the time beginners are not comfortable with photographing people especially strangers so they tend to take their pictures surreptitiously with a long lens. That was how I was too.

    Once we get used to making eye contact and talking to our subjects, using a 50mm lens is actually a good thing. In your case, with the 1.6x magnification factor, the 50mm is the perfect all around lens with ability to blur out backgrounds.

    Too bad about your more expensive 50mm dying so quickly. In my case, my 50mm f1.8 has stopped auto-focusing. I still use it but I manually focus the lens. The cost of the repair would have been the price of a new lens making it not worth repairing.

  2. Great post! I like the way you set yourself these little disciplines. You must be Catholic.

    I think my 50 mm is my all-time favorite lens. I love it for its speed and the low light possibilities. I have the cheapest one; I once splurged on the next level up (around $250), but I saw very little difference in the quality of the photos AND it didn’t last long. After a year, it developed a focus problem. I’ve had the cheap one for seven years and it’s still great.

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