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The Elegance Network: Browsing Becky Perry: Hair-tied in her Master's Study
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Becky Perry
Becky Perry: Hair-tied in her Master's Study

Lovely Becky is forced to await her Master's return in the study, stripped naked and tied in a posture-reinforcing hair tie to make sure she presents herself to best effect in case anyone should look in through the window while Master is away!

This is the first of two "technique" shoots this month, sets where I was experimenting with something a bit different photographically as well as shooting a "regular" set of photos in my usual style. That's why there are quite a few similar shots with lens flare in this set- I was trying to fine tune a particular effect while we were shooting.

In this case it was the lens flare effects both with the 55mm Sony lens and an older, adapted Canon 35 mm lens on my new Sony camera. I tried it with and without shading the lens, etc. to see what I could get away with, with a shaft of sunlight directly striking the lens face or just missing. As you may have noticed over the years I'm not averse to a nice bit of lens flare, but it helps to know your lenses and camera so you can get something which looks nice rather that overwhelming the image.

The first conclusion is that the lens flares on the Sony are just not quite as nice as on the Hasselblad. The lenses are probably a bit more complex with more optical surfaces because the Hasselblad lenses are physically larger, so they can get away with less radical lens designs to get the performance. The 55mm Sony lens in particular is nothing like standard 50 mm lenses of old- the front lens element is concave, for a start. It has strikingly good resolution and is designed to resist lens flare, so provoking it with a sun beam directly on the front element is a bit cruel. The net result is all manner of complex fuzz and multi-colour artefacts- not so much the directional beam of flare that you tend to get from the Hasselblad lens.

Lacking a native 35 mm lens for the Sony, I decided to try an adapted Canon 35mm f/2 lens. My copy is older than Restrained Elegance, so this is hardly cutting-edge lens design, and furthermore the lens front element hadn't been cleaned in a while so there was various dust and grease and crap on there. The net result is more of the attractive beam of artefacts than the Sony lens, but also a huge bloom of glare, which rather overpowers the shot. Burning the whole of the window out seemed to be the best way to deal with that- it lead to a "suffused by light" effect which doesn't really go with the study setting but which would be super with a relaxing white bathroom or something more ethereal. It's always worth remembering stuff that didn't quite work in one setting, storing it away for future reference!

I think the moral of the story is if I'm shooting something with any hint of subtlety to it, leave flare shots for the Hasselblad. But if I'm after an "ascending to heaven" glow, the older lenses are worth a shot on the Sony. I wish I'd had a go with the 58mm Russian Helios lens which flares at the slightest provocation- I could probably have got more attractive flares without having to be directly in the sun light, allowing for a greater variety of shots to fine tune, too. Next time!

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