jo ann manolis photography

Welcome to the blog of Jo Ann Manolis Photography! I’m a wedding, portrait, and fine art photographer based in Santa Cruz, CA. I’ve created this blog as a means of sharing my work and life with my clients, family, and friends. I’ll be updating it regularly with my latest work, thoughts and ideas regarding photography and art, and links to many fabulous artists and vendors. So, take a look around, enjoy, and leave me a message here if you’re inspired. I can also be reached directly by e-mail via my website:, or by phone at: (831)359-7948. Thanks for stopping by!

50 mm 1.2 = True Love

Ever since I went digital a few years ago, I’ve really missed shooting with a 50 mm lens. I learned how to shoot manually for the very first time using a 50mm lens years ago when I was shooting film and developing everything in the darkroom. I grew to absolutely love the 50mm approach as it is closest to how the eye actually sees things. I loved the powerful, poignant, and simple statement that the 50mm made and the way that it honestly and clearly depicted the world around me.

When I saw that Canon had come out with a 50mm f1.2, I knew that it had to be mine some day. So, I continued dreaming of that day…Well, thanks to a nice gift from my dear Uncle Sam last month, my 50mm 1.2 showed up on my doorstep last Saturday. I was like a kid on Christmas morning, grinning ear to ear as I opened the box. I put it on my camera where it has stayed for over a week now.

Here is my week through the 50mm f1.2 (I think I’m in love)…

The lens showed up just a few hours before we took off for the Monterey Bay Aquarium last Saturday. My awesome clients Jenn and Carter gave me tickets to the aquarium last week as a “bribe” in order to entice me to drive to Monterey and sign some images that I took of their family before they were framed at Aaron Bros.

Needless to say, the bribe worked (thanks, Jenn and Carter!)

These are literally my first two shots with the lens and are straight out of the camera. It was pretty dark inside the aquarium, but at 1.2 there was plenty of light to work with.

We brought our cousin Conor from Dublin, Ireland along. He was in town for business all week and it was so awesome having him around. He is so incredibly chill and easy to be around. He was quite a hit with the little guy as well.

During the week we went to one of our favorite places, Wilder Ranch. I brought the new lens along to document the sights:

A hungry rooster.

A mildly annoyed sheep.

A cool pair of Chucks.

An imaginary train ride, complete with a conductor.

A new accomplishment.

Life just as my eyes see it.

And a few family snapshots…

Over the weekend we headed up to San Francisco and met up with our niece Claire. She’s a student at SF State and lives in the Richmond District, just 2 blocks from where I lived ten years ago!

Isn’t she adorable? I just love her new haircut!

Before I get reported for child endangerment, I’d like to point out that this image was taken in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, which is closed off to traffic on weekends. We had to show Claire our new moves.

Conor and Claire.

Conor, Pat, and Dino (or Kosta in Greek) before Conor’s departure. We hope that he has work in the Bay Area again soon!

I have some portrait sessions coming up this week and definitely plan on giving the 50 1.2 a whirl! I’ll let you know how it goes.


3 responses to “50 mm 1.2 = True Love

  1. Argie Manolis June 9, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    I can’t believe Kosta’s riding a bike! I think I knew this…I’m sure I knew this…but the photos make it more real, you know?
    p.s. Snowbee refused to go to the vet today. You should share that detail w/ Kosta. (To make it more interesting, you could just add that it was because she had too many trees she wanted to cut down with her chainsaw).

  2. dearJ June 23, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Man, I love that razor-thin DOF you can only get with wide apertures; it’s something that’s sorely lacking in the wide-to-short-tele zooms that seem so prevalent nowadays. Plus you can always stop a fast lens down; you can only open a slow lens so wide.

    Lovely pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  3. joannmanolisphotography July 20, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    Thank you, DearJ for commenting. I agree, stopping down is always an option w/ the 1.2, so you can use it in so many different situations. I’m slowly getting used to (and just loving) the thin DOF and not having to take 50 shots just to get the focus point nailed 😉 Fun stuff!

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