The Sony a1 and FE 35mm GM Lens Capture the Exit

The conversation (via text) went something like:

"Dad, can you shoot graduation pictures for me?"

Answering that question required no thought. "Of course!"

"Can I come down the day before graduation for that project?"

"Sounds good."

Later, I asked what time we can start.

"How long does shooting in 5 locations require?"

I replied, "Figure 15-30 minutes per location plus time to get to the next location."

Her reply: "15 minutes should be adequate."

Later, she says: "I can't be ready until 6:45 PM."

I quickly calculate the amount of time before the 8:14 PM sunset to be 1:29. That meant 15 minutes per location and 15 minutes total for getting to the next locations, which happen to be spread over a half-mile distance. You see where I'm going here — it was going to be a rushed shoot. Then she arrived 30 minutes late.

I foresaw the shortness of the time allocated for this portrait shoot and planned for shooting fast and for shooting in low light.

One of my overriding goals was to include a sense of place, to include background showing the university campus. This goal caused me to favor wider but still portrait friendly focal lengths as these angles of view would include more background and avoid unrecognizably blurring it. Still wanting to keep the subject standing out prominently (and wanting the shutter speed help for run-and-gun handheld shooting that would end in very dark light levels), I opted for wide aperture lens options. That these lenses were also among the best available from an image quality standpoint made the decision process easier.

Into a MindShift Gear FirstLight 30L went:

The Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens.

The Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens mounted to a Sony Alpha a1.

The Canon RF 50mm F1.2 L USM Lens mounted to a Canon EOS R5.

The Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens (primarily intended for headshots on this shoot) mounted to a Canon EOS R5.

The 24mm lens didn't see much use, but having the other three lenses instantly ready (already mounted to a camera) enabled efficient use of the limited time. And, the image quality delivered by this entire kit was outstanding.

The a1 and R5 both feature outstanding eye AF performance. With the cameras set to the widest AF area (covering most of the frame) and people eye AF enabled, switching between camera brands was easy, and my primary job was to create the composition.

This shoot started with a grand exit, and the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens was called into play.

Here, the ambient shade light mixed well with the interior lighting brightness level.

Precisely capturing symmetry in a scene is a challenge even when not rushed. Ideally, the camera should be centered in the scene and horizontally level.

I worked with a variety of camera distances and roll angles, including fully leveled. From a technical perspective, I like the sides of the door frame parallel with the side of the camera frame. However, I kept coming back to this image as my favorite. The slightly lower camera angle makes the subject appear grand as she exits the doorway to this beautiful building. In addition, this camera position aligns the subject's head on a background window and includes the chandelier in the frame.

I hope to share images captured by the other mentioned lenses soon.

Camera and Lens Settings
35mm  f/1.4  1/160s
ISO 100
5760 x 8640px
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