The Humble and Sometimes Forgotten 50mm f1.8 prime lens

Hello LCC members,

The humble and sometimes forgotten 50mm f1.8 prime lens is something every photographer should have in their camera bag. Why, well for two reasons it is a fast lens at f1.8 and there are very inexpensive.

The Canon 50mm f1.8 goes for about $125.00 it has been jokingly called the “plastic fantastic” as the housing is made of cheap feeling plastic. I have one and it works great!

canon 50mm


For all who shoot with Nikon cameras they also have a version of this 50mm f1.8 lens. It sells for about $105.00

Nikon 50mm

It is great to have one of these in your bag for low-light situations. The best part, they are very light-weight. The Canon Lens weighs in at 4.6 Oz. and the Nikon weighs in at 5.44 Oz. The 50mm is also great for street photography because of the small size and that fast f1.8 aperture. They also produce some nice Bokeh

In photographybokeh is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens.  Bokeh has been defined as “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light”.

The other effect you get at large aperture settings f1,f1.8, f2.0, f2.8  is isolation of a single subject in an image or you could call it a small slice of sharp focus.

Here are some example images from a hike I took on Eagle Trail in Grassy Waters North last weekend. The photos were shot handheld, camera used was Canon 5D MII, aperture settings of f1.8 – f5. bracketed -2 , 0 , +2 and exposure blended using photomatix pro.


Feel free to leave questions and comments.



Learning & Creativity

Hi LCC members,

You may be frustrated with learning how your camera works and setting the Aperture (AV), Shutter Speed (TV) or ISO and not sure what they do to an image. These were discused in previous posts here are the links in case you missed it.

Shutter Speed



And the Holy Grail of Photography the Exposure Triangle

Here is a good ebook by Anderw S Gibson Mastering Photography: A Beginner’s Guide to Using Digital Cameras covers the basics of using your camera. I have read myself, it is easy to understand without double speak and complicated terms.


Ok, your beyond the basics and have mastered your camera settings but your feeling like the well of creativity has run dry. I to get into a place where inspiration has gone on holiday. The best cure for that is to find some photography books with new techniques or simply have material your interested in learning. 

Here are a few e-books I have recently discovered and recommend for expanding your photographic vision.


The Visual Imagination by David duChemin

Book Description 

Ideas and Techniques for Creative Photographic Expression

Let your camera and your creativity out of the box! Our cameras do amazing things, but since the beginnings of this craft, we’ve leaned heavily towards illustrative and literal interpretations of the world around us. Freed from the need to be so literal, we can create photographs that are beautifully expressive.

The Visual Imagination, Ideas & Techniques for Creative Photographic Expression is about that expression. Whether you want to make abstract or impressionist photographs or just need a bit of a break, this eBook has been written to help you explore the possibilities of the camera when we allow ourselves to slip out from under the thumb of the rules and the constraining ideals of so-called technical perfection. It wasn’t that long ago that painters freed themselves from a similar constraint and gave us the gift of Impressionism and the subsequent movements.


DRAWING THE EYE  by David duChemin

Creating Stronger Images Through Visual Mass

E-Book Description

Drawing The Eye is about understanding and using the ways in which the eye reads a photograph in order to create more powerful images, and it’ll change the way you look at your craft. Broken into 4 parts, Drawing The Eye looks at this concept of visual mass, or visual pull, in Concept, in Camera, in Post-processing, and then through Creative Exercises related to each of these sections.

Don’t let the egghead title fool you, this is not academia; it’s a real-world discussion about making images that are more powerful because they’re made with a fuller understanding of where the eye moves in an image, and how that understanding can change the way you shoot and process your images.


E-Book Description

Bokeh: Creating with Shallow Depths is an eBook written to inspire photographers to think beyond the confines of a deep depth of field. It’s focused on guiding landscape photographers of all levels to widen their aperture and see the environment as light and shapes, and to create abstract, ethereal images that have a deeper meaning and interpretation.

By using a shallow depth of field and thin slices of focus, you can completely transform a landscape, manipulating an environment that usually can not be changed or controlled. You can create a complex or simple photograph by changing your depth, and this extensive guide can show you how.


These are just a few to get you started there are many, many more e-books out there and the prices range from $5 and up. Some e-book authors even include video tutorials in the e-books which are an added bonus.



Here are a couple images I shot yesterday using a 40mm prime lens set at f2.8, practicing the techniques that are discussed in:


steve_daponte_seaweed_img2333 steve_daponte_shell_img2373


What type of photo paper should I print my photo on?

Hello LCC members,

This question “what type of photo paper should I print my photo on?” has been asked by many of the members. This opens up a whole set of other questions. The first and most important question is, “what is your intent and vision for the presentation of the image?”.

There is no right or wrong answer to the question only your vision as a photographer can determine what paper or other material it is printed on.

A few words of advice

  • Order sample packs of paper from suppliers, I will put links at the end of this post.
  • Choose an image from your catalog and print it with your printer on each type of paper.
  • Examine the results
  • Which paper best imparts your artistic vision “look, feel, depth, detail etc.

Note: You should also ask yourself, where (environment) and how (framed or in a photo album) am I going to display the printed image.




High Gloss

Delivers a “studio finish” with the most vivid colors, an outstanding contrast of light and dark, and high durability. With this finish you may experience glares
in certain lighting situations and fingerprints similar to the glossy finish.



Offers tremendous color range, resolution and durability. With this finish you may experience glares in certain lighting situations, fingerprints and are easily scratched. The most practical uses for these Glossy prints are portfolios, photo albums and other displays behind plastic.



A metallic finish has a very high gloss, and the colors appear to be quite intense, but in a pleasant way. When you print on its reflective silver surface with color images, the results replicate metallic inks. Or, print black ink and the results are dramatic shades of reflective light. Although normally more expensive, a metallic finish can provide a vibrant “pop” to images. With this finish you may experience glares in certain lighting situations, fingerprints and are easily scratched.


Satin or Semi-Glossy

Offers a great compromise between a Matte and Glossy finish. Helps to reduce issues with glare, dust and fingerprints. Durability (paper weight/ thickness) typically falls right in the middle. Great for your everyday picture frames and ideal for those with a matte border.



This finish is designed to not show those pesky lighting reflections or fingerprints you often see on glossy prints. With less dynamic range and contrast of colors than all of
the other photo papers. Great for scrapbooking projects, bulletin boards, cards and invitations.



Quick Tip: 

Order the various types of photo paper above in the smallest size i.e. 4 x 6 and print your image on each type of paper and see which one suits your vision.



Here is a link for more in-depth information about Photo Paper Properties

Links to photo paper sample packs (note: most companies charge a small fee for these sample packs)

Red River Sample Packs – I currently use Red River Paper and it is great!

Moab/Legion Paper Samples

Epson Photo Papers and Printers – I currently use an Epson Stylus Photo Printer Model R1900 Which has been replaced by the R2880

Canon Photo Papers and Printers

Canson Infinity Fine Art Paper

Ilford Fine Art Paper

Kodak Professional Paper and Materials

Injet Comparison, Ratings & reviews from Freestyle Photographic Supplies

Fuji Film Inkjet Papers

Hahnemuehle Fine Art Papers