Toboggan Ride

Yesterday morning I was recruited by my sister and bro-in-law to take some family shots. Their two sons are growing up quickly, so they wanted to make sure they had some documentation of this stage in their lives. It was a gorgeous winter day (around 5 degrees celsius) so we made the most of it by taking the boys out for a walk/toboggan ride in the snow. Despite a couple of spills and some cold extremities, I was able to get some really great shots.

Turns out what I wanted to say about shooting portraits was mostly already said this morning by my friend James Brandon over on his blog. He posted a great shot of his nephew from last Easter, and just like me, shot it with a fast 50mm…my go-to lens for any portraiture. The great thing about shooting with such a wide aperture is the ability to let the background just melt away into delicious bokeh. The drawback is that you need to make sure your focus is spot-on. If you miss focus by even just a few millimetres, you can end up with an out of focus subject and a ruined shot. My strategy is to use a single autofocus point on my Canon 50D. I almost exclusively use the centre point, partly out of habit and partly because it’s the most accurate AF point on the camera. I typically grab focus on my subject (almost always the eyes) and then recompose the shot to taste. I’m sure there are things I could do differently, but for now, this technique is what works best for me.

Oh, and in case you missed it yesterday, I had the honour of writing a post for Brian Matiash’s ‘Alt Perspective’ series. You can check it out here.

Canon EOS 50D, Canon EF 50mm f/1.4, 50mm, F 2.0, ISO 100, 1/8000 sec

Servalpe - February 14, 2011 - 7:09 am

Great portrait , mate ! I love the bw treament and the swallow DOF !

Mike Olbinski - February 14, 2011 - 7:11 am

50 is my main choice as well…great for almost all scenes!

Nice job Heath!

Mike Olbinski - February 14, 2011 - 7:11 am

Oh, by the way…UGH, more portraits? Blah…

๐Ÿ™‚

Brian Matiash - February 14, 2011 - 7:14 am

I really dig this candid, Heath. Nice, subtle tones.

Jim Denham - February 14, 2011 - 7:35 am

Good stuff Heath! You know how I feel about the 50!

James Brandon - February 14, 2011 - 7:40 am

Greatness Heath, thanks for the shout out as well. It seems like we all love our nifty-fifties :-). It’s such a great lens, so freaking sharp, so light, and so good for stuff like this.

Tweets that mention Toboggan Ride ยป Heath O'Fee Photography -- Topsy.com - February 14, 2011 - 8:15 am

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jon Stolarski, Scott Ackerman, Saundra McBride, James Brandon, Heath O'Fee and others. Heath O'Fee said: New photo up on the blog: 'Toboggan Ride' http://bit.ly/elEM6u #photog #togs #portrait […]

Jesse Pafundi - February 14, 2011 - 8:38 am

Youre killing it with these portraits. Great work

Chris Kenison - February 14, 2011 - 9:29 am

Nice shot, Heath! 50 is my choice for portraiture as well!

Chris Wray - February 14, 2011 - 11:09 am

Nice 50mm work, Heath. Great tones!

Chris DeAngelis - February 14, 2011 - 12:49 pm

Great portrait! I really need to upgrade to the 50mm 1.4! Anyone want a gently used 50mm 1.8? ๐Ÿ™‚

I really enjoyed the Alt perspective post too! Again, it’s been really great following your work and thanks for the tips and guidance along my photography journey!

Tanya - February 14, 2011 - 2:20 pm

PORTRAIT! Nice work! He’s looking very grownup! I bet this was super fun to shoot!

Justin - February 15, 2011 - 10:09 am

I love moments like this. Very nicely done!