We posted an image of Shazmin, friend, artist, and model based in Vancouver, Canada last week, over on our Instagram account. We were up in that amazing city courtesy of our friends at Nikon Canada. They always organize wonderful events for photographers, and we are grateful to have been a part of a few. Hoping to do it again soon! There were some questions about the light (all Speedlights, two Lastolite Ezybox Pro Strip Boxes) and also lens use. The background is a simple alleyway, with lots of utility poles and whatnot back there. The 70-200 turns that harsh, day to day, ugly, utilitarian, urban geometry into a pleasing graphical haze.
The 70-200 f/2.8 is a lens that never stays home. Always on location. It’s just so damn useful. One thing we can fall into the mindset of is that a lens such as that, somewhat bulky, reaching out to 200mm, is an “outdoor” lens, i.e., not for the studio. For me, in fact, it is my favorite portrait lens, either street or studio. (Pending the mission at hand, of course.)
The key is versatility in the portrait realm. The books always tell you to go slightly telephoto for headshots. Ok, the wider range of this lens is perfect. 70-85-105. All classic headshot millimeter measurements. Need to drop background? Rack it out to 200 at 2.8, and background mushes out, often in a beautiful way. Need to parse out a detail of someone, ala, Mr. Olympia eight times over Ronnie Coleman, up top? Again, the 70-200 is pushed out to 200mm, and has the ability to focus close.
And, small thing, but a big thing when you are working fast. The tripod collar. Go horizontal or vertical in a heartbeat, without unbolting the lens from the tripod. Sounds inconsequential, but plays big when time is crunched and you are seeking composition in front of the lens, and composure behind it.
It’s a lens worth shouting about.