In our Click Love Grow Community we chat about lenses a lot… what’s in our camera bag, which ones we love, and the lenses we lust after! My absolute favourite, is the Canon 135mm f2 L series lens.
Here on the blog you’ll find a lot of great resources about lenses, but today is all about sharing with you my particular favourite and why I love it!
In reality I have three lenses that I rely on most… the Canon 50mm f/1.2L which is simply beautiful, and a practical focal length. The quality of this lens is sublime! The second lens is a Canon 24-70 f/2.8L I series, which I’ve owned for around 9 years. This lens is wonderful for travel and day trips because it gives me a wide aperture and the versatility of a zoom. And that brings me to my beloved Canon 135mm f/2 L series.
Sure it’s focal length isn’t as practical for everyday shots… it’s too long to use indoors for portraits or lifestyle imagery, and it’s a big beast of lens in size. But… I just can’t get past the images it lets me create!
Over the weekend I took my delightfully willing children (ha! This is a lie, I bribed them with chocolate) to a nearby park for some photos.
The reason I love these images is primarily due to way the canon 135mm f2 affects the environment. The compression combined with shooting wide open at f/2 gently envelops my subjects in the beautiful environment.
And what is compression you ask? The technical answer involves a combination of perspective and optical distortion. But the short answer is that long focal lengths bring the background forward so that it appears closer than it is in reality, and blurs it to create a stunning backdrop from which your subject can really pop!
This was my location… notice the distance between myself and trees, and the distance between the trees.
I took this shot from the same position as the photo above. You can see how the trees almost appear to layer upon one another, creating a beautifully condensed forest effect.
It also provides versatility in finding locations, because you only need small pockets of space to create a wonderful backdrop for your portraits.
This one I think is self explanatory. I adore the bokeh that this lens creates, and in particular the light bokeh when there’s light streaming through or bouncing off trees.
You can also get creative with your own lights!
Related: Twinkle Light Bokeh
We all know that blurry backgrounds are the solution to clutter in photos, making the difference between snap shot and beautiful professional photos. The canon 135mm f2 simply melt away your backgrounds.
The long focal length of the canon 135mm means I need to step right back to get them in the frame. But this allows me to can give my subjects some space, and they’re more likely to relax and engage naturally. Then all I need do is snap the authentic, impromptu moments.
This distance also means I can use much wider apertures, resulting in really gorgeous backgrounds.
I know, the canon 135mm is not a macro lens. It doesn’t allow me to focus really close to itty bitty subjects. But I do still have fun creating beautiful flower shots with this lens.
When I travelled recently I forgot my macro extension tubes, and so I had to be a little more creative, and my 135mm let me do that!
Bigger flowers, shapes, leaves and twigs are all perfect subjects for abstract images… using the shallow depth of field, beautiful bokeh and great colour that this lens creates! It’s super sharp, so as long as I nail focus, I can crop in later in processing and produce something similar to what I can achieve with a macro lens.
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