Come along, walk with me,

and look through a different lens –

not the metaphorical one you learned about in school:

“What are your assumptions, your unconscious beliefs?

Through what lens do you view the world?”

No. An old camera lens,

new to me.

I ordered it online and it required an adapter,

because cameras like mine didn’t exist when the lens was made,

so I ordered the adapter and

it was the wrong one.

And I had to start again.

But eventually

the new-old lens got attached to the camera.


I have to use my other adapter

(my brain) to figure out how to use it.


It has a lovely way with things, even when you don’t focus it quite right.

You have to focus manually

and sometimes it’s


hard to see

whether the subject is in focus.

Or not.


But even out of focus

some pretty nice things can happen, and

one of these days

I’ll get better at using it.


We’re returning to form

here in the Pacific Northwest,

which means rain, clouds, and gray skies.

But this weekend, there were windows of opportunity, so

off we went, Saturday and Sunday, between showers.

We stalked birds and frogs in the beautiful Snoqualmie Valley,

east of Seattle. We roamed the wetlands of Mercer Slough.



There were raindrops and sun rays, clouds and puddles.

There were noisy jays and a pair of Great Blue Herons loping

gracefully over a field with deep, slow wing beats.



The all metal prime lens

feels heavy and authoritative in my hands.

The lack of zoom forces one to walk closer or back away

instead of twisting the barrel. As I squinted through the viewfinder I kept forgetting

where exactly the focus ring was – my fingers unsure on the new lens.

But what a marvel it is – letting lots of light in and going softly loose

at 1.4 – everything blurred

except one spot.


When you can get it right.

These Shaggy scalycap mushrooms are supposedly edible, but not choice. Nearby a woman was mushroom hunting.

She carried a big, flat-bottomed basket and wore a furtive look.

I didn’t dare try to take her picture.

Leaves on the forest floor were a safer subject.


To end on a bright note, a late season Black-eyed Susan. I took this the first time I went out with the lens, three weeks ago.


Playing with my new-old lens is going to keep

my mind flexible, right?

A good thing.

For those who are interested, it’s a Super Takumar 1.4 50mm lens made by Pentax. Though it’s not expensive, it has a certain cult status for it’s “particular character” – a sometimes oddly golden hue, a quality build with sharp glass, and “ethereal rendering.”   I think mine was made in 1965.  (How many owners were there before me? What did this lens see and where did it go?).  It’s heavier than the lens that came with my Lumix G3, a small camera I bought because it does a lot well in a lightweight package. But the weight is not bothersome at all, the focus ring feels solid and smooth, and I think I’m going to enjoy this!

As for the slight golden hue, fall is a perfect time to go with that, isn’t it? But just a slight drag towards the blue end in LR brings it back to normal, if that’s desired.






Self portraits taken in a rough restroom at a ferry dock on Lummi Island, WA.

Fireweed (Epilobium augustifolium) seedpods shot at a park outside Seattle.

Header photo taken inside the car through the windshield, of branches in the rain.

All taken with my Samsung S4.

Ghost Ships in a Japanese Garden

In the murky waters of a

Japanese garden,

like ghost ships,

koi glide silently.








Orange and green,

above and below.


In the Japanese garden

the essence is emphasized –

the gentle curve of


the smooth texture of


the feathered tips of

maple leaves.





The Seattle Japanese Garden at Washington Park Arboretum.

Foggy Island Saturday

On a recent Saturday – a blue, high-ceiling day –

I rode the ferry to Whidbey Island, where

the main road traces a curvy spine –

climbing and dropping,

climbing and dropping.

With no views

of malls.

It’s a world apart.

On the island’s west shore, a narrow strip of land fronts Admiralty Bay

(a bay that connects Puget Sound and Seattle to the Salish Sea and the great Pacific Ocean beyond).

It drew me in for a look.

Where the rock-strewn beach hooks westward,

a ferry idled in the fog. Fishermen gazed into dark waters.

Behind the driftwood-littered shore,

a marshy lake: its wet, salty earth stained red with Glasswort (Salicornia).

Known as Pickleweed and Samphire, the odd little vegetable is harvested

and eaten

around the world.


Grasses criss-crossed in the field, like a finely etched engraver’s plate.



On the road to Ebey’s Landing, fog,

thick as cotton, smudged a hillock of Douglas fir

behind an old farmhouse.

Bicyclists stopped for pictures.

Round the curve, down the hill…

park the car, step onto the beach…


I walked alone up the beach.

I found another wetland there, shrouded

in fog rolling in

from the Salish sea,

softening the colors

so subtly.




On the beach side, driftwood giants

rose up –

sky, land, sea,

wood, grass, rock –

all one.

Water is the common denominator –

mighty bull whip kelp sloshed

back and forth,

back and forth,

slowly washing up onto land.

Fog silvered the water.


It all left me