THROUGH AN OLD LENS

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.

Now

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

very

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.

Sometimes.

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.

 


21 comments

  1. Delightful pictures Lynn ! I want to get out my magnifier to see just what’s going on in that miniscule green kingdom you’ve found in a single raindrop .
    Autumn is beautifully breezing in here too .. it’ll not be long though I’m sure before we’re cussing about sweeping up piles of leaves in the garden !

    • One place I used to live in seemed to gather all the leaves from the neighborhood – it was crazy! I would love to spend time raking leaves now, but when they’re attacking from all sides it’s not funny!

  2. The leaves in the fence, the ring of rippling water….what fun you are having! You’ll really enjoy playing with shallow DOF with this lens, I can see! 🙂

  3. You’ve got some really fabulous results with this new lens Lynn. What a pleasure to view and read. I’ve just been given a camera from the 1930’s that I’m itching to try out. Difficult to get my head around waiting for the results. I can’t just plug this ‘film’ into my computer somehow. I’m not set up to process my own film but I’d like to have a go at that eventually. There’s a lot to be said for retro. 🙂

  4. These are lovely images, Blue. Evocative and ethereal – no matter what lens – you have an artist’s focus and perspective… I enjoyed this walk with you. -M

    • That’s nice to hear – the artist’s focus and perspective – it’s fundamentally where I’m coming from. Though many shots I take may be essentially snapshots, the ones that matter are more from the artist’s perspective. Thanks!

  5. Oh my goodness, I love the blur in the first one, but I swooned over the one with the ripple of water! The reflections and the tones are so lovely. All are very nice photographs!

  6. Wow, what a great discovery and such a diversity of shots…so cool to see how this lens inspired such great shots. Loved the shot of the dew on the blade of grass ~ great limited DOF.


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