At the Carnevale with my 85mm/f 1.4

1/80 sec @ f/ 2.2, ISO 1000

I always look forward to February each year because that means it’s Carnival time in many parts of the world. One of the most famous of these is the Venice Carnivale, or the Carnevale di Venezia, which is a grand celebration in Europe and is attended by 30,000 people each day. This is, so far, the third Carnevale I’ve attended and I’m already looking forward to next year. All the beautiful and colorful costumes and characters are a feast for the eyes. Plus, it’s my rare time in the year to shoot portraits which I don’t normally do any other time of the year.

This year, I only brought my prime lenses with me, and mostly used my newly-acquired 85mm/f 1.4. I also brought a speedlight (SB 600), something rare and untypical of my shooting style as well. Being a long-exposure photographer, I don’t have experience with flash photography as I don’t really need it. But shooting people at the Carnevale starting before sunrise requires additional lighting, and I felt I did not have a choice in the matter.

I must say that I like the 85mm – I found the focal length perfect for this kind of shots, and if I needed something wider for a full length portrait, I switch to my nifty fifty (50mm).  The new 85 is known for its nice smooth bokeh, and I also found it to be very contrasty and sharp. I only used minimal sharpening for these shots, and would have probably be fine without it but it’s just a force of habit when post-processing. The 85 also nicely cradles in my hands and I don’t feel the weight to be burdensome even with the speedlight attached, unlike my 24-70 mm which can be tiresome after a few hours of use.

I came back with tons of photos and have just started processing some of them. I will have more photos up in the coming days, but in the meantime, here’s a few from the 85mm.

1/80 sec @ f/1.8, ISO 640

1/200 sec @ f/ 3.2, ISO 400

1/250 sec @ f/ 2.8, ISO 200

1/4000 sec @ f/ 2.8, ISO 400


14 responses

  1. Your pictures take my breath away! I’m a fan! I do hope your picture wins on NatGeo, sayang – we Pinoys can’t vote for you – you’ll definitely win! Stay healthy! God bless you Ms.Yen!

  2. Hi, Just discovered your blog…also through NG’s photo contest. Being a Filipina myself (living in Canada now), I am extremely proud of our achievements, big or small. I love your work, and these Carnevale photos are just so vivid and haunting! Nice work!

  3. Gudluck Yen ! I really love your photos ! Even if we cannot vote, People of the Philippines praying for your success…

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