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Samyang XP 35mm - Christmas decoration

Wong Chap Him Timmy

Photographer from Hongkong

Samyang XP 35mm - Christmas decoration

“Ho-Ho-Ho”
Christmas is coming! Shopping malls, streets and literally everywhere are all lights up with colourful and attractive decorations. It’s not an easy task to move your eyes away from them. People use their smartphones to take selfies, photos of these wonderful decorations and record the joys. Nowadays there are special depth of field effect installed on smartphone cameras and they look great, however, the results are nowhere near to the real depth of field from prime lenses on DSLR. The Samyang XP 35mm F1.2 prime lens has a super large aperture with 9 blades and with a minimum focusing distance of 0.34m, you may get some good depth of field off this lens.


 
 



Usually the decoration is installed with some lights, i.e. some light bulbs, LEDs or spotlights, in front or behind the object. These lights may cause over-exposure or under-exposure to the photo and there are a few ways to play around with.

1. Play tricks with angle, try to block the light source with the object itself or people passing by the background if possible.

2. If the object is relatively dark and the metering from the camera indicates either the object is underexposed with a nice background brightness or the background is overexposed with the object is clearly visible. Try to use the torch function on your smartphone and provide some light at the main object you are trying to capture.

3. Try to find some objects with reflective surface, perhaps at some angles these objects are bright enough so either the object will not be under-exposed or the background will not be over-exposed and vice versa as if the reflection from the object is far too bright compared to the background, try from another angle. 





4. Find the frequency of the lights. The frequency of the lights could be a nightmare sometimes. Tripods are not a daily thing you carry around, even if you have them on your hand you may not be allowed to use it. It could be the place is too crowded or tripods are prohibited, so you need to use aperture f/1.2 and high ISO to prevent shaking and blurring. With this setting you may match the frequency of the lights and you will see the lights blink, thus there are chances to capture the shot with lights are partially or entirely switched off. However, sometimes with this technique you may overcome the problem and obtain a surprising result.
 


The lights make a lot of difference!





Sometimes the lightings will distract people’s focus and the object becomes less obvious and blended into the background.

Other than these methods to play with lights, composition is a very personal taste, yet, it is always a good practice to have several trials before leaving the spot.
1. Try to separate the object from the background, avoid it blends into the background, i.e. the brightness, the colour tone, similarity etc.  




2. Try with different angle, sometimes get closer to a reflective surface may bring surprise to the photo.


 




3. Look for objects with contrast colours to the background. Making the object itself more significant and attractive.


  


4. Take advantage of the minimum focusing distance, you can get a bigger contrast as it appears to be larger from the blurred background.

 


All these photos were taken with the new Samyang XP 35mm F1.2 lens. Despite the most remarkable advantage of this lens, aperture f/1.2, the bokeh is very nice and the focused area is really sharp even using f/1.2. Nonetheless, no significant colour abbreviation is found while using f/1.2.

Finally, I will you all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Happy photography!






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