Creating Blurry Backgrounds in Photos

I nearly wept at The UPS Store this week when I pushed my package across the counter so it could be sent far far away from me. Buried safely inside of it, surrounded by layers of bubble wrap and foam, was a piece of equipment that has been known to make the sun shine and the wolves howl. One that adorned my camera for the previous two days. One that produced photos with blurrier blurs than I have ever seen before. One that I did not want to return. The equipment inside the box was a glorious Canon 85mm f/1.2L II lens.

I love photographing people more than anything else (although food is quickly gaining ground). I have three very handsome men in my house, so taking photos of them is a ton of fun. I recently had the urge to have a really good portrait lens in my hands for just a few days. To my delight, lenses are rentable! So I rented this most wonderful lens. From the reviews I had read, it is arguably The Best portrait lens in existence.

I had read many reviews saying that the learning curve on it was steep, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that shooting with it came a lot more naturally than I had anticipated. It is a heavy lens, weighing in at 2.3 lbs (!!), and I would consider that to be one of its downfalls. Another downfall is that the autofocusing is pretty darn slow. I would not use this lens to shoot something with a lot of movement.

For portraits, though, YUMMY! If you are able to get an accurate focus on the subject's eyes (or eye), shooting at the widest aperture (f/1.2) produces a blur that is so delicious you will want to lick it like a popsicle on a hot summer day.

I had planned to do some photo shoots with friends while I had this lens in my possession, but for the first time in eight months, we had a two-day snowstorm. Of course we did. So I ended up taking a ridiculous amount of photos of my boys inside our home.

My handsome subjects, youngest to oldest:

The first two photos (the youngest cuties) were taken inside, with no natural light present. This lens produces great results even in low light due to its wide open aperture.

Immediately after receiving the lens, I captured a few non-portrait shots with it before the snow began to fall. It was a little bit frustrating as a landscape/nature lens unless there was one specific object I wanted to focus on. I kept fighting the urge to get out my Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 lens.

I wish I'd had more of a chance to really use it (outside our home, that is), but perhaps there will be another time. I thoroughly enjoyed our time together! And now my camera feels as light as a feather!