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      09-25-2008, 01:55 AM   #1
TWiTCHY
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Journalism Photography

I will be joining my school's JSA club as a journalist/photographer for publications and advertisements. But before I do, I feel like I need the right equipment to display my potential as a photographer.

For those who don't know, JSA is basically a way for kids to become involved in current issues and debate them amongst other schools and even states. I'm not interested in that at all. I'm just interested in taking pictures that will help this club out and free them from the horrible pictures in their magazine

So imagine a photographer crawling around at the bottom of the stage taking pictures of speakers. What kind of equipment would I need? I've looked at recent photos of Barack Obama and John McCain at campaigns and it seems like every photo is just them in the center of the picture, making gestures in thin air with their mouth wide open. The background is blurry, fuzzy, whatever you want to call it. I can't seem to replicate this effect when I take pictures.

This is a whole new kind of photography for me. I usually take pictures of cars that don't make unpredictable movements; but humans - humans are unpredictable

I use a Nikon D60 with 18-55mm and 55-105mm lenses. I was thinking about using the larger lens at a distance and zooming on the subject to imitate that blurry effect, but I haven't had the chance to try.

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      09-25-2008, 10:30 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TWiTCHY View Post
I use a Nikon D60 with 18-55mm and 55-105mm lenses. I was thinking about using the larger lens at a distance and zooming on the subject to imitate that blurry effect, but I haven't had the chance to try.

Help?

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You just answered your own question. Get a longer lens and a lower f/ stop and your set. I'm not sure what lenses you can get for Nikon (i use a canon) but 200mm and longer would be your best bet.
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      09-25-2008, 10:59 PM   #3
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Sweet, thanks for that.
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      09-25-2008, 11:24 PM   #4
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The "blurry" background is referred to as bokeh, or out of focus area. While there are a few things that can effect the amount and quality of the bokeh, there are somethings you can test to see if you current lens produce the type of bokeh you are looking for. Set your lens to the largest aperture (smallest f-stop), and at the longer end of you focal length (if you are using a zoom), have your subject a good distance from the background and fire away. This should give you a pretty good idea of what type of bokeh your lens are capable of.

For good quality bokeh (this is very subjective and really dependant on the desired effect and the person viewing the photo) in Nikon lens, the benchmark has been the 85mm f1.4 lens for a long time, it produces very creamy bokeh with its curved aperture blades and the ability to go really shallow dof (1.4). Another alternative on the zoom side is the 70-200 f2.8. It's another pro lens that produces very nice bokeh. Both of these lens are very expensive ($1000 for the 85 and $1500 for the 70-200). Many people feel that the 80-200 f2.8 produces pleasing bokeh as well and is cheaper (around $700-800 used). On the cheaper side (but rather crappy focal length for pj style portraits) is the 50mm 1.4 which goes for around $250.

Check out nikoncafe.com and nikonians.org for more detailed information.
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      09-27-2008, 03:04 AM   #5
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Thanks for all that, Kaji. I'm not quite interested in purchasing any new lens at this time. I guess I'll have to use what I have right now.
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