Here’s 50 Looking At You
50with50 No. 50
A 50th birthday self-portrait brings the 50with50 series to a close. That’s a lot of 50s in that sentence!
Yes, when I first started the project, the full title was “50 with 50 before I turn 50”. However, that is a mouthful, or in this case a keyboard full. So I shortened it to just 50with50, still with the understanding that I wanted to finish it by the time I turned 50.
And so, today is the day! Two days in one, actually. The big 5-0 (unfortunately not a Hawaii 5-0), and the 50th entry in the 50with50 series. So I figured I might as well combine the two with a self-portrait, just for fun. And it only took me about 50 tries to get the photo that I wanted. Okay, so it was actually only 21 attempts. Too bad I’m not turning 21 again.
The End, But Not Really
This is the end of the 50with50 series, sort of. I still plan to use the 50mm lens whenever the situation calls for it. In fact, some of the next photos I will share (unless the order changes) were taken with that 50mm lens, too. I have no plans to get rid of the lens or to stop using it. So maybe having a 50with50 project was a little silly to begin with.
The photos in the project ended up looking quite different from what I had planned. I had envisioned having photos from New York, Chicago, Florida, Cozumel, and maybe a few other places, too. But then a week after I started the project, COVID-19 started gaining steam, and you know the rest.
The project ended up being lots and lots of photos from around our home. But that is not entirely bad. Without that motivation to keep the project going, I might not have photographed all that much at all. And even though we did not go to all sorts of interesting places, it is still good to keep practicing photography and to keep learning new things. All of that happened, thanks largely to this photo project.
Maybe once COVID goes away, I will start a 50with50v2 project. Or maybe some different sort of gimmick. Or maybe not. Let’s see how the future plays out some first.
The Other 50
People like to tease those who turn 50 about being “over the hill”. I realized a couple of years ago when our best friends were turning 50 that I probably should not make that much fun of them, because I would be there soon myself. And here we are.
I don’t necessarily feel old, although I am definitely older than I have ever been before. And I am sure that Jaylin and those his age think 50 is ancient.
But that’s okay. I like to think of myself as “experienced” instead of “old”. And besides, you are only as old as you act. I definitely try my best not to act my age whenever I can help it.
So don’t be anxious about your age, no matter what it might be. Do what you want, act the age you want to be, and treat others kindly. And your life will be good, just like mine has been.
So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. - Psalm 71:18
About the Photo
If I were totally honest, I would have titled this photo “Steve at 49.9863” because it was actually taken a few days ago. I did not get up early this morning and take a photo. I planned ahead. So now you know.
As you have probably guessed by this point, I used a 50mm prime lens for this photo, which qualifies it for the 50with50 series. I had the aperture wide open to f/1.8 to get the tight focus that I wanted. Although even with that tight focus, I’m sure you can still make out Mickey Mouse in the background.
At first, I tried using the self-timer for this one. But then I figured out that the camera focuses when I press the shutter button and not just before the camera takes the photo. So it tried to focus before I could run around in front of the camera. I overcame that by getting out my phone and using the app that links to my camera. With that, I was able to trigger the shutter from my phone as I was standing in front of the camera so that it did not have any trouble focusing on me. But I am a bit of a perfectionist, so I kept finding things that I did not like about each photo, which explains the 21 attempts. When I got one that looked halfway good, I stopped. And that is the one you see here.
For lighting, I used the natural sunlight coming into the room. It was a cloudy day, so the sun rays were not directly coming in, but rather they were filtered by the clouds. With the aperture open wide on the lens, there was enough light in the room for a shutter speed of 1/13 second at ISO 200, and I managed to stay still that long for the photo. I could have increased the ISO setting and used a longer exposure, but I didn’t want much grain noise in the photo, so I kept the ISO low.
Photo: A Raw exposure processed in Luminar AI. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: SonyFE 50mm f/1.8
Date: February 10, 2021
Location: Home, Williston, Tennessee