The Rembrandt Portrait

Today’s Post by Mildred Alpern


The portraiture of Rembrandt

Drama with half light

30mm-millie The Olympus M.Zuiko 30mm f/3.5 macro lens is the latest purchase ($299.) for my Micro Four-thirds Olympus system. It is light and compact, suitable for walkabout as well as for macro shots (a topic for a future post). I’ll skip the technical description of this lens since it is widely available online and focus instead on a recent tryout.

I used the lens for outdoor and indoor natural light portraits. Afternoon sunshine and leaf raking made an attractive setting for one of my willing subjects. I made a series of shots moving from one spot to another, paying attention to the leaf strewn backgrounds, the muted colors of autumn, and the sun’s position. I was able to get good contrast and sharpness in the woman’s textured knitted sweater and hat. The play of light on her face and hand gave me the Rembrandt lighting pattern with the left side of her face (right in the picture) in dramatic shadow.


For the indoor portrait, I set my model to the right of a wall of windows with streaming afternoon light to illuminate her blonde hair and capture the Rembrandt shadow again. It sure helps when your subjects are relatives and friends, happily willing to submit to your photographer antics.


I was pleased with the results. The low price and versatility of this lens made me a fan.

Both images were shot with the Olympus E-M5 Mark II and the Olympus M.Zuiko 30mm f/3.5. The outdoor with an exposure of 1/100 sec at f/3.5 and ISO 400; the indoor with an exposure of 1/320 sec at f/10 and ISO 400.