6.29.2017

The old song and dance. Another morning wasted shooting an old lens on a new camera.


10:15 a.m. Weds. June 28, 2017. Photographer re-acquires relatively new Panasonic G85 from top of desk (as opposed to "desktop") and pauses to contemplate a shooting scenario that might entail a walk and a revisiting of a barely used; but nearly ancient lens. Rises from desk chair and walks across the foam padded floor of his office/studio to an old, gray, Craftsman rolling tool cabinet. Wide shot of photographer in khaki shorts, white t-shirt and hiking shoes crossing the faux deck plate. Close up shot of him opening middle drawer. Extreme close up of his hand hovering over a collection of tiny, retro-looking lenses. Close up of him deciding and then pulling one small, silver and black lens from the drawer. The lens comes into sharp focus and is revealed as a 25mm, f2.8 Zuiko G, Pen-FT lens made for half frame film cameras long since discontinued. 

A similar lens with a focal length of 40mm and an f-stop of 1.4 is removed from the G85 body and placed on the top of the desk. The 25mm takes it's place on the front of the camera. 

The photographer checks pocket and then pulls out a battery for a Sony camera. He puts the battery in the second drawer from the bottom in the Craftsman cabinet and pulls out, from the same drawer, two blocky looking Panasonic batteries. He exchanges one of the batteries with the battery currently occupying the G85. He places the used battery from the camera on a small charger. He sticks the other battery in the left pocket of his short pants. He pauses to check and make sure an SD card is loaded in the camera. It is. 

He finds his keys and his sunglasses on the desktop and exits the studio. We cut to the photographer opening the front door of a house positioned just across a walkway from the studio. He pauses at the door and calls out to someone not seen by the audience, "Hey, Belin! I'm going to head downtown and go for a walk. I'll be back in a couple hours. By the way, I have a lunch with Paul at 12:45. See you guys soon."

He heads to his thrifty car, gets in and puts the camera on the passenger seat. Then he remembers that time he had to stop suddenly and the camera was launched, hard, into the dashboard and subsequently fell to the floor. He decides to cut out the middle steps and put the camera in the footwell of the passenger's side. 

Ten minutes later he is parked in a tree-lined lot near Zach Theatre, using his parking hangtag to skirt having to pay for metered parking. He leaves a small gap at the top of each window to prevent the car mimicking an oven on his return. 

The camera is set to expose manually. The ISO is set to 200. The aperture is set to f5.6. The shutter will be the wild card. During the course of his walk the photographer adjusts the shutter speed for optimum exposures. The camera offers focus peaking, and it is nicely accurate, but every once in a while the photographer uses the magnification feature to verify that the focus is accurately set. Over the course of the walk he comes to trust the focus peaking. 

His first series of shots are self-portraits in the window of an empty restaurant that at one time housed one of his favorite restaurants; Garridos. It now awaits a new tenant and the photographer seems to remember that it will be a popular Mexican restaurant called Pulvo's. He rationalizes that the self portrait will visually introduce the camera and lens to anyone who might later read his musings on a blog. 

The photographer is of two minds about his morning adventure. He would love to find many interesting and beautiful people to photograph. He would love to get in a brisk walk as cross-training for the energetic two miles he swam earlier in the morning. He realizes that every day involves luck and chance. 

The 25mm has the same basic angle of view as a 50mm lens on one of his full frame cameras. The view through the finder is familiar and the focal length is easy for him to compose with. There are few people walking through the city on this particular morning. He decides to make photographs of interesting (to him) new buildings while he hunts for more interesting subjects. 

At the far end of his "out and back" walk he detours through the convention center to see what sort of event is being held there. From there he heads into the Hilton where he intends to get coffee at the Starbuck outlet on the northwest corner of the hotel. He is distracted by activity that seems to be flowing toward the ballrooms and conferences on the second floor. He rides up the escalator to find about 200 people milling around on a break from some "informative" session. Most are dressed as informally as the photographer. He mixes with the crowd and helps himself to a cup of coffee from one of the tables that runs down the middle of the wide hallway. He chats with a forensic software specialist for a bit before heading back downstairs and out of the hotel with his cup of coffee in hand. Thank goodness there is nearly always an option during breaks to have coffee in either a ceramic mug or a to-go cup. 

The walk remains visually non-eventful and the photographer trudges back to his car and heads home. A day later he brings up the images from his walk into Lightroom and goes through his take, one image at a time. He thinks some of the people who read his blog might be interested to see how effective such an old lens is on such a new camera. That readers might be surprised to see how sharp and modern the images that lens creates can be. 

He chooses nine images to show and then sits down at the same computer to write a blog. He is feeling playful and so writes it all in the third person. Almost like a movie script. When he finishes he worries that no one will find what he's written to be the least bit interesting or amusing. He becomes depressed and vows never to blog again. But he knows that blogging is addictive and he enjoys the process even if he gets very little feedback from a diverse group of readers, most of whom he has never met in person. 

He hopes that someone, somewhere will take the time to comment on the script or the images in the comments just below the actual blog. It would make him feel as though he is not tossing words out into a black hole of futile nothingness. He wonders if it would be better for his ego to just write endless "reviews" about Canon and Nikon cameras, interspersed with lofty sounding articles playing one maker against another. People always seem to visit his blog for that and they often leave emotion laden comments as well.

Then he decides that would be petty and a waste of time. He would't want to sully his impeccable reputation for this, the 3300th blog post he's written for his site. He finishes typing and goes off to watch an episode of "The Big Bang Theory" on the television in his living room. 









19 comments:

stephen connor said...

Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away, a second photographer exits his apartment building on a similar mission. A Panasonic GX-7 hangs from his left shoulder, car keys jingle in his right hand. Getting into his fuel efficient car (that, unfortunately, he tends to drive in a very not very fuel efficient manner), he loops the GX-7's neckstrap over the passenger side headrest. "There, that'll prevent untoward dashboard thwackings, not to mention rolling around in the footwell during potential excessively swift road maneuvers," he thinks to himself (as if there's anyone else he could be thinking to).

milldave said...

Golden oldies are just great(I mean the lens!).

Currently using a Sony a7II with Olympus manual focus lenses and having so much fun!!
I had forgotten just how small and light those lenses are, even the 200mm.

Why did we ever get into the monster jelly-moulds??

Love the photos, especially the colours.

Reading the blog simply makes my day!
Regards from Edmonton, in the Great White North.

Gato said...

love the red motorcycle tank, and the red crane just below.

If I may voice an opinion, you already write about Canon and Nikon about as much as I am willing to read. Pictures and photography (and even business) are more important than camera brands.

rlh1138 said...

No comment.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kirk,

Always enjoy your writing and musings on life in general, as well as your opinions of the photographic process. I usually agree with your point of view on about everything, which makes me think I have a friend I've never met. Which is cool. Your headline though about another wasted day I know is said in jest mostly. Sometimes I feel the same but truth is it's never a waste. I can almost always find something interesting to photographic, even if it's just me that might like it. And most of the time I come away with two or three images I really like and keep. And others find interesting and like as well. So to me that's a good day well spent. Plus just the process of going through life looking for a interesting or beautiful composition, it's a great thing I never get tired of. As like everyone else I do lose inspiration from time to time but it comes back. And when it does it can make me feel like I'm twenty again with my very first camera in hand. So not a waste of time at all, in fact a wonderful gift if others might find some enjoyment in.
Best Regards,
Doug

Michael Ferron said...

I like #4 the best.

David said...

On the east coast, a photography enthusiast reads through the blog entries of his favorite photographers. He see the selection of G85, which he is interested in. Then sees the selected aperture of f5.6, and wonders who will bring up equivalents. But then realizes he is reading Kirk and not a crapy review site, and all will focus on the images and be safe.

Joseph Kashi said...

Alas, the Olympus Pen-F camera and old but exquisite 100mm Pen FT lens, "safely" already lying on the floor of the really reliable but thrifty 320,000 mile Saturn SW2 is stepped on by a 94 pound German Shepherd puppy excited about going to the office.

Marriott said...

I've been a daily reader for several years here in Latvia. You definitely deserve knowing that you are greatly appreciated in this house. Your knowledge, insight, style and good humor have brought me great pleasure over the years. We readers owe it to you once in a while to say so. You put yourselft out here every day for free, and I would miss your presence were you to give it up. I know you will stop someday, but as long as you are here, I will be reading.

Guido GNIPIC said...

Hi Kirk,
I like to thank you for your blog and your time you put into it. I especially enjoyed the plot of this story very much and don't want to read about Canon versus Nikon. I like your musings about coffee, swimming, short and long strolls through the city and odd lens/camera combinations.
Enjoy you next swim, I'll enjoy your next blog entry.
All the best
Guido

Anonymous said...

Hi Kirk,

Long time reader, first time commenting. I love reading the blog. It is always interesting and the time you put into writing is very much appreciated.

Cheers.

Rory OT said...

Across the Atlantic a mid 40's photographer who came to his current career late at 39, marvels at the success of the American photographer with his new cameras and classic lenses, and wonders quietly to himself if his own camera will put his three kids through college, or if he will have to go back to cubicle land and mix it with people 20 years his junior. Speed reads the text because it's quite long and he should be editing, skips past the photos of sky scrappers and blue skies, which as usual are sharp and well exposed, but don't bear much relevance to rural and often grey Ireland, and decides to leave a comment for a change. Keep up the good work Kirk, I speed read your posts most days, skip past the skyscrapers, and enjoy the portraits!

David Fann said...

Glad to see someone else likes to photograph encountered construction sites. (OK, there's Ming Thien).

Small, light, simple cameras, like my Fuji X-T1, are indeed a joy. But last week in Alaska with just my new Pentax K-1 and its 28-135, I was happy as the proverbial clam (at high tide, to complete the simile). A monster jelly-mould, sort of, but it helped me make the pictures I wanted and never seemed a chore to tote. Horses for courses.

Re clickbait camera reviews: VSL (like TOP and a few others) has the mix just right, to my taste. Please continue.

Frank Walsh said...

I love this so much :-) Now you just need to find someone to direct and film and Viola, your Blog becomes a Vlog! You would be surprised what people will watch...

Luke Miller said...

I read your blog daily. Not only for the photography topics, but for your vignettes of the Austin scene. As a UT grad and transplanted Austinite I enjoy keeping up through your commentary and images.

Dog Photographer said...

I read, and look at every thing you write. I get down a bit when you do not post. A lot actually.
Thank You.
I am no longer the Dog Photographer, but cannot figure how to change my google handle.
Ken James

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Tuck,
I will not write a comment in the (micro four-) third person style, you can do that so much better.
Love to read your blog whatever the topic and watch your photographic endeavours. Guilty of lurking...
But as I also own the G80/85 I wanted to share a tip, I like this camera very very much and the 14-140mm lens that came with it
is a very nice allround lens. Close up pictures of butterflies on flowers on a very windy day were tack sharp the first day I walked it around, the IBIS is easily as good as my OMD's em5. One thing that I did not like was the recessed function buttons, after years of glucose metering my fingertips are less sensitiv alas. But then I stumbled upon third pers.. uhm party stuf from 3M: conical shaped Self Adhesive Transparent Protectors. They come in a variaty of sizes and the smallest ones I got were 6,4 mm or 0,25 inch in diameter. They fit easily and snugly on the buttons, give a rubbery feel, you can still read the text and they are cheap. Plus they come off without leaving glueresidue if needed, I put one the OK button but took it off later. This tip could be useful for other camera types too, so just sharing! Another feature I like is that camera asks if you want to keep the dialed in lens mm for IBIS when it detects a nonelectronic lens. When set to Eco mode and camera awakens it will ask again, this can be useful when using an older manual zoomlens, you dial it in easily without menudiving or on/off switching.
Please know that your blog is deeply appreciated and I'm glad your son is back safe and sound.
Greetings from the Netherlands,
Kejas

Anonymous said...

This was probably the funniest blog post you've written in a while. Loved it.

Michael said...

Love it. Keeps me coming back for more.