Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Lens Sample Pictures

Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Lens
Senior Portrait Senior Portrait

It is hard to believe that I have my own senior to photograph this year. Shooting your own senior portraits has huge advantages including being able to take advantage of various times of the day, locations and outfits. It is also a good excuse to buy or rent various lenses to try out.
The venerable Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Lens was in my hands on this day and Brianna was looking good (I of course think she always looks good). When shooting wide aperture primes at their max apertures, there is usually a noticeable amount of vignetting. The 55mm focal length on a full frame body is best used for head-and-shoulders and wider portraits that leave the subject's face darkened relative to what is in the center of the frame (her shirt in this case).
In this example, I chose to correct the vignetting. Another option is to use a narrower aperture. Because I wanted the background blur of f/1.4, I took the former option.
Also note the camera angle and how this angle makes the subject appear.
The lighting for this portrait is natural through large windows and the shaded window in the background provides a frame for the subject.

55mm  f/1.4  1/60s  ISO 100
1963 Corvette Stingray 1963 Corvette Stingray

Here is the situation. I was in a residential neighborhood in the dead of winter. Everything living was dead (if that makes sense) and the color was far from exciting. Across the street was a huge pile of dirt that an excavator created the day before this shoot. But I had a beautiful subject.
I was evaluating the Zeiss Otus 55mm lens. I added a B+W XS-PRO CP filter and got down flat on the ground (the camera was against the street) to remove everything but the sky (and a street lamp) from the image.

55mm  f/8.0  1/100s  ISO 100
Shadow Hunting Shadow Hunting

Normally, the ground is covered in detail including grass, leaves, sticks, stones, etc. and that detail is generally on the dark side of brightness. When it snows, those details are covered over and the ground becomes a smooth bright white palette mostly void of detail except possibly an even snow texture. As all kids know so well, what a blank white palette needs is something on it.
Shadows are a great option for that something. Especially helpful in this pursuit is that winter brings a low angle sun that casts long shadows even at mid-day. Additionally helpful is that the deciduous trees are bare in the winter and cast clean shadow lines (instead of complete shadows from a leaf canopy).
While trees cast great shadows, there are plenty of other options. Look for shadows beside fences (as shown in this example). Make your own shadows using your body (for a shadow selfie) or anything else your creativity can come up with.
This winter, if you are fortunate enough to live or travel to a location where there is snow on the ground, take advantage of that blank white palette. And remember, the clock is ticking after a snow storm. Fresher is better in the case of snow.

55mm  f/11.0  1/80s  ISO 100
American Flag Photograph American Flag Photograph

Your country's flag likely has great photographic potential. Don't be afraid to try different angles and varying amounts of depth of field. In this example, a 55mm f/1.4 perspective results in a sharp star field while the red and white stripes blur away.

55mm  f/1.4  1/200s  ISO 100
Waiting for the Girls Waiting for the Girls

With all of the girls away, the dog waits at her watch location. Don't be afraid to get close to non-subjects in your images. Here, the window sill provides leading lines to the sharp-focused eye of the canine subject.

55mm  f/1.4  1/1000s  ISO 100
Snow Falling from Red Barn Snow Falling from Red Barn

Snow slides from the metal roof of a red barn, creating an interesting design. I am challenged to keep my images level, and this old red barn was extremely challenging since it was not contructed straight. Notice the row of nails running down across the frame to the right while the vertical boards seem to lean slightly to the other direction? In-camera electronic levels have been very helpful to me.

55mm  f/6.3  1/100s  ISO 200
Philadelphia Art Museum Philadelphia Art Museum

A 55mm lens may not be the ideal choice for photographing the entrance to the Philadelphia Art Museum, but a low distortion lens definitely makes the job of keeping the lines straight much easier. And with the non-photogenic semi-bright, completely cloudy sky in the background, 55mm proved ideal for this task. To get this angle of view, I was standing well into the water fountain. No worries as the fountain is simply concrete in the winter. The water was drained and replaced with snow.

55mm  f/11.0  1/10s  ISO 100
White Snow Dune White Snow Dune

While your first thought may have been that this picture was taken in White Sands National Monument, the white in the base of this image is wind-blown snow on the roof of a small barn. Using the right perspective delivers a dune-like appearance to the rippled snow.

55mm  f/10.0  1/100s  ISO 200
Head and Scarf Portrait Head and Scarf Portrait

A scarf helps frame this portrait subject – as it is designed to do (if not being used for warmth). Because the eyes are still deep enough into the vignetting present at f/1.4, I removed peripheral shading in this photo.

55mm  f/1.4  1/160s  ISO 100
Red Barns and Snow Red Barns and Snow

A bright red barn in the sun frames an unusual snow slide coming from the roof of a smaller foreground red barn.

55mm  f/11.0  1/100s  ISO 200
Getting Too Close Getting Too Close

This portrait is framed slightly more tightly than I am comfortable with when using a 55mm lens on a full frame body. Because of the close perspective, the features closest to the camera begin to appear too large in relation to the not-so-close features. My suggestion is to move back and use a longer focal length for head shot portraits.
The vignetting present in this image is as out of the camera. With the subject's face in the center of the frame, the vignetting helps draw the viewer's eye to where you want it to go.

55mm  f/1.4  1/160s  ISO 160
Corvette at f/1.4 Corvette at f/1.4

This is a similar image to the one shown earlier in the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Lens sample picture gallery, but it shows the blurred look this lens makes possible.

55mm  f/1.4  1/2500s  ISO 100
Girl and Her Violin Girl and Her Violin

She has played the violin for over 10 years, so it is only fitting that a big part of her life be included in the senior pictures.
For those of you familiar with my complaining about not being able to keep a camera level, I *tried* to tilt the camera for this shot. Just had to clear that up.
The reason I tilted the camera was to position the various lines through the frame.

55mm  f/1.4  1/2500s  ISO 100
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Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Lens
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