Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Portrait


Made with the early 60s Nikkor 5.8cm f1.4 lens on Nikon Df.  Amazing.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Through the Generosity of Friends

Today, a wonderful friend gave me an incredible gift.  It is a Nikon F, black, with the plain prism, and a beautiful example of Nikon's first f1.4 normal lens for SLR cameras, the 5.8cm f1.4.  The most important feature of this kit is that it belonged to his father, a master photographer with an amazing history, but I'll write about that some other time, once I'm sure he's comfortable with me sharing his family history.

The camera body is serial number 6430001 making it the first in the production batch that began in November, 1960.  The lens was produced early in a batch that ran from March, 1960 to March, 1962.

The 5.8cm f1.4 Nikkor-S is a very special lens.  Famous not for sharpness outside of the center or lack of aberration, it is known for producing a very unique, pleasing image.  So much so that Nikon introduced a modern version in 2013.  Quite expensive, the new lens has many of the same qualities of the original, but with modern autofocus, etc.

(Click Here) for a nice review of the modern version on

(Click Here) for the story of how and why the original lens was developed. 

I can't wait to try the camera and lens out together with film.  So, tonight I mated the lens up with the awesome Nikon Df body and shot this:

iso 2000, f1.4, 1/125 sec

Note: This is my first post with a new blog editor, as it seems my favorite, blogsy, is no longer available.  I apologize for any format weirdness

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year 2017!

Happy New Year to all of you! We continued our yearly tradition of running a 5k together (my best time yet), followed by traditional Japanese new year food (Osechi ryori):
From my family, please have a wonderful 2017!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Back to Color, Digital, Lumix? Well, Maybe a Little

I've been offline, mostly, working with black and white film in the darkroom. And, enjoying it immensely.
But, I decided to give Micro 4/3 a go again, after never being able to quite fall in love with the DMC-GX7 body. The image quality is fine, quite fine, in fact, but the camera feels weird in my hand, and I don't like the electronic viewfinder (EVF) on that particular camera. So, I decided to jump on a Black Friday deal and get the similar but somewhat less full-featured DMC-G7. Much better, for me. I gave up in-body image stabilization (which the GX7 has), but gained a camera that feels right in my hand, with what I feel is a better EVF.
Here's a shot I made with the new G7 today, using the Lumix 100-300mm f4-5.6 zoom lens, at 800 iso:
Mockingbird in Winter
I'm still really having a blast in the darkroom, but this was SO easy, and shooting color again is also fun...

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Large Format Photography and Darkroom Printing - What an Education

Falls, Buzzard Hill, Appalachian Trail, Virginia, by Reed A. George
Horseman 45FA 4x5 Camera, Wollensak Raptar 135mm f4.7 Lens
EDU 100 film, f/22, 4 sec. exposure
I've gone back to basics for this phase in my photography. As I mentioned, a dear friend has given me his father's darkroom, which helped to set me on this path.
I'm making a lot of mistakes, learning about limitations, and really enjoying the occasional success.
This is a scan of a print I made in the darkroom, with my own two hands. It represents so much more thought, effort, and investment in the process than a similar image I'm sure I could have made with a digital SLR. In fact, I could've made hundreds of similar images with the DSLR in a fraction of the time. And that's just the point; that's not how this image was made.
I understand that viewers won't necessarily care, but I do.
So much left to learn about this craft...