I Heart My 50mm

I’m in love with my 50mm.  In LOVE, I say.  The hubs got it for me as a gift for Christmas(?) … my birthday(?) … and I became extremely frustrated with it.  My DAd told me that it should be the easiest lens to use because what you see through the lens is what you see with your naked eye.  Whatever, DAd.  But then in July, something fantastic happened: I figured it out.  I was used to stepping into my subject with my kit lens but with the 50mm I had to step away from my subject.  Seems elementary but then again, I tend to be elementary.

So after taking something like 287 pictures of my dogs, IT happened.  I had a GREAT photo of Chase.  Little did I know that I had changed the white balance (it happens to the best of us) so when I uploaded the photos (all 287 of them), I saw that Chase’s black fur was blue on the screen.  D-oh!  There went my great photo.  After I whined and got mad at myself about the W/B, I became an adult again and decided to make it black & white.  And now it’s perfect.

The Chasey Bear
(I know that I posted this same picture on Monday – get over it.  I love this picture of my Sugar Bear.)

Not to be phased, I changed the W/B and went back out and shot 142 pictures of Chevy in about 12 minutes.  And I was able to get a good shot of her.  The only thing that bugs me is that dog #2 is in the same position as dog #1.  It’s like I just switched their heads.  But I didn’t.  Promise.  Cross my fingers hope to die.

The Chevster

So the experimenting began.  The next day at work I took a walk during my lunch down to Waterfront Park.  The black eyed susans were out in full force so I proceeded to take 79 pictures of the yellow boogers.  And then another 359 of other things I thought would be “cool shots” while I walked through the Belvedere and back down Main Street to the office.  None of them looked decent on my 2×2 LCD screen.  I was bummed.

I did end up uploading the pictures but I was still bummed.  None of the “cool shots” were cool.  They were bland and uninspiring.  But low and behold, there were 2 shots  – 2 out of 1,867 – that had potential.  So I cropped, I saturated, I contrasted, I burned… and 2 of my favorite photographs [to date] were born.

Blackeyed Susans

Don’t you just want to pluck that black eyed susan?  It’s begging to be housed in a vase.  But then it would miss all of its friends.  And then it would sad.  We don’t like sad susans.

Blackeyed Susans

I would like to point out that these photos are the first ones that my DAd looked at did not tell me what I did wrong.  Let me rephrase: he did not tell what I should have done.  Instead, I got this (verbatim): I think you are becoming aware of your camera’s potential.  Keep experimenting. Whoa!  Did you hear that?!  It was almost like a compliment!   Hey, I’ll take what I can get.

I now use the 50mm for everything.  I used it for my D&D shots.  I used it for my backyard shots.  I used it to stick in Mel’s mug.  I experiment with it constantly.  With the f/1.8, I’m able to take pictures in lighting conditions that are usually too dark for my kit lens.  I’m in love with the 50mm.  In LOVE.  And if you have a DSLR, I recommend you hop on over to the store and check it out – the lens itself is rather inexpensive (the f/1.8 as the f/1.4 is pricier) and man does it do some cool stuff.  And [bless your heart] if you’re anything like me, just remember to step away from the subject.

Thanks to WordPress for a spot on the home page! Completely unexpected but very cool!

To learn more about Brooke and see her recent work, visit her new site at brookemurphyphoto.com. Follow Brooke on Facebook or Twitter.

August 13, 2009 - 1:44 pm

Susan - I love my 50mm, too, but have learned the hard way it’s not the best for arms-length self portraits. Which made me a sad susan, and you’re right, we don’t like sad susans. :)

August 13, 2009 - 5:01 pm

sweetiegirlz - You’re just too funny! I love your post about your trial and error with the lens. I really also love these photos. The doggy smile is soooo endearing and magnetic. keep on keeping on. You already learned one of the biggest rules of Photography, which is shoot one thing a hundred different ways. Great job!

August 13, 2009 - 5:17 pm

jenbyjennifer - LOVE the susans! LOVE THEM. And I love photography – another hobby I need to get back to doing… I’m going to link you on my blog if that’s ok?

August 13, 2009 - 5:19 pm

missionaryjon - Really great photos. Thanks for the info about the lense.


August 13, 2009 - 5:33 pm

Rabi - Hello,

Stumbled upon your blog on the wordpress home page. “I heart my 50mm” is quite an eye catcher for us photographers ^^ I heart my 50mm as well, but lately I haven’t been using it as much as I should have. You’ve got some fantastic shots and best of all, you’ve made me stick my 50mm back on the camera.

Looking forward to future posts,


August 13, 2009 - 5:39 pm

Joel - I’ve got a 50 mm as well. I think it’s not so much the focal length as it is the f/1.8 that I like. After using it to really crank down the depth of field, it’s hard to go back to anything like my 18-70 mm.

August 13, 2009 - 6:00 pm

emilybee - Great post. Makes me want to get a 50mm too!

August 13, 2009 - 6:14 pm

Cord - Wonderful shots of your dogs and great shots of the flowers too :o) Just stumbled upon your blog by accident :) and thought I would tell you I like the photos. I also have 50mm and I LOVE IT! and have from day one :0) Probably my favorite lens for portraits and low light. :0)

August 13, 2009 - 6:16 pm

denise - I “stumbled” upon your blog too, from the wordpress home page… love that they changed the format!. CONGRATS on the “nifty 50” epiphany!!! You got some great shots there, and that’s HUGE what your dad said, hehe. I got my 50mm in June and love it too. I totally get you w/the 1897 shots of nothing and 2 surprises.

August 13, 2009 - 6:49 pm

tdmphotography - Me too on both film and digital bodies the lens is unbeatable, one thing I particularly like for an abstract effect is going to the city and manually putting all the bright lights out of focus gives some great effects! If you havent already tried it I suggest you give it a go, as a photographer you constantly stress about stuff being in focus so this is very liberating and fun way to shoot sometimes!



August 13, 2009 - 7:18 pm

katie - you’re doggies are so sweet! the photos aren’t too shabby either. love the bokeh!

August 13, 2009 - 7:19 pm

nemo - you should now try to use this new awesome power and
try out hdr shooting :D

August 13, 2009 - 7:35 pm

sirfishalot - Brooke,
I like your blog. Congrats on the new 50mm.
I like that second shot of the Susans; nice composition, DOF and BG with sweet bokeh too.


August 13, 2009 - 7:37 pm

geadancu - I know what you’re talking about. The 50mm is the one. Hughies.

August 13, 2009 - 7:39 pm

geadancu - What camera do you use?
I use a 50mm L series from Canon.
Rhhaaaaa, lovely! ^^

August 13, 2009 - 7:41 pm

calmbyday - Thise pictures are brillant! love the laughing puppy :)

August 13, 2009 - 7:46 pm

shutterboo - I’m small time – as in only been shooting for 2 years – so I have a Canon Rebel XT. Thank you though. I have fun with it.

August 13, 2009 - 8:39 pm

suebartlow - Thanks for the inspiration! I just got a lens and was doing the same thing! Wasn’t quite sure how to use it…now I want to experiment really bad! I came upon your blog by accident too! Glad I did!

August 13, 2009 - 8:41 pm

rawintellekt - You have inspired me a little bit more along my quest to being a photographer: take hundreds of photographs.

August 13, 2009 - 8:52 pm

Ashley Johnson - I love my 50mm too! Almost as much as I love my dogs.

Beautiful shots of your babies by the way!

August 13, 2009 - 8:57 pm

Laurie - I recently received my 50mm/1.4 lens after waiting 2 months for Amazon to deliver it. It’s frickin’ amazing, especially indoors! I definitely need to take more photos with it though, you’ve inspired me!

August 13, 2009 - 9:32 pm

Mike B - Lovely Pictures! The “stepping away” problem you encountered is most likely due to the image sensor on the XT. It’s smaller than 35mm film so a 50mm lens, which is considered “normal” for 35mm, is actually more like a telephoto. Canon’s 28mm lens is more normal but more expensive so I think a lot of people will be using the 50mm and just learning to “step away”. :)

August 13, 2009 - 9:35 pm

cindratee - I heart my 50mm, too. Love your black-eyed Susan.

August 13, 2009 - 9:46 pm

freespiritcat - Hello,

I was wondering what camera do you use! I know its a 50mm but i’d love to know more about the camera! I use a nikon d80 but I want to learn more about different types of cameras! So I was just wondering what camera you used! Thank you!


August 13, 2009 - 10:11 pm

kendrajk - I can’t believe it took you so long to fall in love with the 50mm! The second I took mine out of the box, it was over, I was in love, hard core. I would use it for every single thing if I could :)
I love those flower shots, very beautiful!

August 13, 2009 - 10:18 pm

ilooklikerufio - OMG THIS IS TOO AWESOME! I was wondering how to make my page like this! cuz I’ve got photos I wanna post up, as well as poems, and other things.

August 13, 2009 - 10:27 pm

sugarshakes - I agree – I hated for a long time how I had to exit the room to get a picture of my kids, more than their eye… but now that I know what situations call for it – I love it, too!

August 13, 2009 - 11:18 pm

theshadowhunter - The 50mm gotta be my most favorite ‘nothing to shoot’ lens. I am constantly surprised by it’s ability to see things so differently especially things we see everyday. Each picture of a familiar object, person or animal takes on a different quality. Shoot more and you will discover surprised even more by this little fella.

August 13, 2009 - 11:20 pm

Stephanie Frances - you have some truly lovely pictures. what kind of camera do you shoot with?

August 14, 2009 - 12:11 am

tenzinkhoo - “…bout the W/B, I became an adult again and…”

That drew a good laugh. =D

August 14, 2009 - 1:29 am

jessbcuz - great post! I just received a new dslr (upgrading from my rebel!!!) for my bday last month and have been thinking abt adding a 50mm to what i have after reading a bit about them. i have a 50 mm for my manual film camera and it was my favorite–i think it is time to get back to basics! thanks for reminding me.

August 14, 2009 - 2:31 am

nectarfizz - Wow! I love that you are a beginner like me! I haven’t got the nifty camera you have yet, but I plan to get one as soon as possible. I wondered if you would not mind checking my blog and giving me honest opinion once in a while. I will certainly be coming back here for a look as well, if that’s ok with you anyway.


August 14, 2009 - 2:32 am

nectarfizz - OOps..might help if I put my link on here so you can check out my photoblog…lol http://shutterbuglane.wordpress.com/

August 14, 2009 - 3:16 am

Dima - :)

August 14, 2009 - 3:16 am

sungame - Nice flower photos! I really like the last one. I’ve got a Nikkor 50 mm 1/8 myself, and actually used it to shoot some black eyed susans last weekend (although I didn’t know that this was the name of the flower).

Your dad’s statement that “it should be the easiest lens to use because what you see through the lens is what you see with your naked eye” is only true when you use the lens on a 35 mm (film) camera or a full format DSLR. When attached to a “normal” format DSLR, the 50mm equals a 75 mm on a 35 mm camera, making it a moderate telephoto lens. However, this focal length, combined with the large aperture (1/8) makes it a superb portrait lens, as you have probably discovered photographing your dog.

The Nikkor 50mm 1/8 must be my all time favourite lens. If the Canon variety is anything like it (in terms of build quality, image sharpness and bang-for-buck ratio), I am not surprised that you have fallen in love.

August 14, 2009 - 3:35 am

thevetproject - Your pics and your cutie dog are faboulous!!!! Simona

August 14, 2009 - 3:39 am

dannyhageman - Congrads on finding the key to the 50mm world. I do not count your prior days a loss. Digital Photography has morphed the art of picture-taking into easy as one-two-three… perfection! Where is the fun in that? Yeah, I am not talking about slaving over a piece of wet film in the dark room. But, I do admit that I like to use older digital cameras just because of their difficulty. For me, there is more satisfaction when you are able to conquer a piece of ancient technology and make it do something profound.

I do admire your work!


August 14, 2009 - 4:22 am

summerian - nice photos!

August 14, 2009 - 4:51 am

sarahjanethain - Loving the Dog pics, can you come and take some of my 3 cats please :-)

August 14, 2009 - 5:17 am

Simone - beautiful shots. I think a nifty fifty might have to be the thing I treat my camera to next!

August 14, 2009 - 5:45 am

jenquest - Funny coincidence. After wanting one for a long time, I’ll finally be getting a 50mm in the next week or so. Can’t wait to have a mess around with it.

Nice pics by the way.

August 14, 2009 - 7:34 am

Wes Shepherd - I heart my 50 too, nice simple little lens that makes you walk around the subject instead of zooming in and out. You’ve got some great shots–very creative. BTW What kind of camera are you using?

August 14, 2009 - 8:06 am

melomaanskronkels - Beautiful pictures!

August 14, 2009 - 8:07 am

whizkid - wonderful photos, and i HEART my 50 mm too :)

August 14, 2009 - 8:19 am

kimberlybuck - I’m so jealous. I love the photos. I want a camera that can do that but right now I have a simple snapshot. I am waiting to upgrade in a year. I was going to get a $500 Nikon, but decided to wait until I can afford a $1200. Beautiful pics.

August 14, 2009 - 9:07 am

lyvya - i’m in love with my 50mm too :) love these pictures!

August 14, 2009 - 9:11 am

Lynne - Lovely. I heart my 50mm lens too… especially when the aperture is wide open with lots of lovely bokah.

August 14, 2009 - 9:28 am

Courtney Cawley - I love your shots. I am constanly trying to get my dogs to pose for me. Unfortunately they don’t speak my language so instead i get candids! Keep it up.

August 14, 2009 - 9:54 am

Philip Thomas - Experimenting solely with a(ny) particular fixed-length lens does often force you to look at things in new ways. Once you become comfortable with your 50mm, try others for a while–just use the one focal length, like you’re doing now–and it will likely help you become a better photographer overall.

(Note also that some of the DSLRs now do a pretty decent job with somewhat higher ISOs [esp. if you’re not going to blow up your pix very large], so by changing your ISO, you can use even lower light [so the f1.8 isn’t so bad!]. You used to have to change film to do that [and usually the more sensitive film was horrible, unless you intentionally wanted to introduce grain].)

August 14, 2009 - 10:32 am

MB - Keep up the wonderful work!

August 14, 2009 - 11:16 am

calicophotography - They don’t call it the “nifty fifty” for nothing ;-) I’ve used it for a few years now & I still love it!! Keep practicing & playing around, enjoy it!


August 14, 2009 - 11:35 am

rapidblue - I also have a 50mm 1.8 – they are soooooo awesome!!!!! You mentioned the white balance in you post, how about shooting in RAW then you don’t have to worry about the white balance and allows so much more play when you edit them :-)

August 14, 2009 - 11:47 am

rdcpub - The 50mm is the best lens you can get in terms of value for money, and if you have a developed eye for quality photography you will find that the quality of the picures coming out of a 50mm lens cannot be matched without spending a small fortune.

I see in Flickr that you use a Canon Rebel. I use Nikon equipment (well, in the last couple of years I am using my mobile phone to tell you the truth) and have a similar lens: mine is a 50mm f/1.4 but a f/1.8, although slower, would probably be sharper. The absence of distortion and colour fringing make of this a fantastic lens that can be used to produce the best results in (on APS-C sized sensors, such as yours and mine) portraits and more.

Regarding your WB problem, try using RAW format to shoot your pictures. You will get better results if you pre-process your files before turning them into jpg. Well done overall, your pictures are great indeed. Carry on and press hard with your 50mm, you won’t regret it.

August 14, 2009 - 12:11 pm

junbelen - I’m in love with my Canon 50mm f/1.4, too! It’s a great portrait and pretty much everyday lens!! There’s so much you can do with dofs with this lens. Have fun with it!!

August 14, 2009 - 1:04 pm

leicaman - Hi Brooke…enjoyed your blog…I use a Canon D5 and a Rebel…keep your love of photography going…it will help you get through many difficult times.

August 14, 2009 - 1:16 pm

Homer - What kind of dog is it? Very beautifull

August 14, 2009 - 1:17 pm

storygal - Love those photos of the black-eyed susans and your dog photos too. I’d say they look pretty professional. Me, I like the quick shots and our much used FinePix camera.

August 14, 2009 - 2:06 pm

dinu - beautiful collection :)

August 14, 2009 - 2:10 pm

mooney=mc2 - I love my 50mm too. and blackeyed Susans. in fact…(runs outside)

August 14, 2009 - 4:29 pm

Bente Iren - I think I’m falling in love with your dogs, they’re so cute ^^, And your pictures is just gorgeous! ;D

August 14, 2009 - 5:16 pm

shutterboo - Chase (dog #1) is a border collie/blue heeler mix. She’s a medium size dog with a big brain. Chevy (dog #2) is a Heinz 57 – we’re really not sure of her mix as she’s a rescue. I am sure she’s deaf as a doornail though. She’s the BDD – Big Deaf Dog.

August 14, 2009 - 5:17 pm

shutterboo - I shoot with a Canon Rebel XT. My first dSLR camera.

August 19, 2009 - 11:11 am

jenbyjennifer - I posted a picture of my roomie Archie the cat this morning just because I mentioned him a couple of times. Part of the reason I was so inspired by your pictures of your dogs is that Archie aka Bee Dub (short for black and white) always looked like a good subject to me for photos… as of course flowers which is what originally caught my eye on your site – post some more! Oh – and if and when you see the not so hot picture of Arch you will know why I need to get my camera back out – that was from my phone *sigh*

August 19, 2009 - 1:35 pm

Holy Eff, Is This A Joke? « shutterboo - […] And she confirmed my disbelief.  I don’t know how and I absolutely have no idea why, but my 50mm post was highlighted on the home page.  And my mind is completely, utterly boggled. Holy […]

August 26, 2009 - 11:33 am

jenbyjennifer - Shutterboo – We need more! More pictures pleeeeeeez!

August 31, 2009 - 9:31 am

Camera Bags Are Like Purses, Right? « shutterboo - […] of lenses can be, I tell myself to look at the price tag before I play with any (and remind myself how frustrated I was with the 50mm at first).  That usually does the trick of not looking at the lenses any more.  But the one thing […]

December 18, 2009 - 9:24 am

The Seventies Saved Me « shutterboo - […] those lighting conditions is a fixed focal length.  I’ll let that one slide though because I heart my 50mm.  I would have classified this as a photog fail but luckily I found a […]

March 10, 2011 - 9:25 am

shutterboo » Blog Archive » Prime Time - […] reason for the new prime lens is because I love what my 50mm offers.  I love that lens, how it doesn’t zoom which makes me work around the subject and the […]

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