Gabriel portrait session

I don’t do it too often but when my friends want pictures I’m there for them.  I can’t say that I’m too used to portrait sessions in general and with infants in particular; Anne Geddes I’m not.  But it turned out alright and I think my friend is happy with the results.  Perhaps if I get enough practice I’d consider opening up a photography business.  We narrowed it down to 20 pictures to print, these are the ones I personally like best.

Black & White is T-Max 400, and I pulled out a lens I don’t use too often, the Chinon 55mm f/1.7 Macro, to make sure I could get in as close as needed: the Chinon, while not a true 1:1 Macro lens, does focus to less than a foot, better than the 1.5 feet with my normal Takumars, and shooting indoors I wanted something faster than the f/4 S-M-C Macro Takumar.  I knew there was a reason I bought it!  Also it was a pretty screaming deal at my local shop, evidently they’re quite rare and go for several hundred dollars when they turn up on ebay, so it was too hard to pass up.

I pulled out the old Pentax ES as my secondary camera, and it went back to its old tricks (actually it did a long time ago and I just hadn’t remembered).  So my original fix didn’t work, but then I haven’t gotten around to opening it back up again recently.  The ESII I own was sent off to Eric Hendrickson for a CLA but he couldn’t get the speeds right so he sent it back…evidently it’s a common problem and I guess he doesn’t like working on the AE Spotmatics.  But what that means now is that I have an ESII with accurate fast speeds and slow speeds that are much too fast.  So much for having an M42 system: I have 5 bodies and only 1 that works 100%.  I’ve been on the fence anyway about switching to Nikon and getting an F2 and F3, which it seems are much more serviceable…it’s gonna cost me though…

Week 3 – Intermediate Photography

Here’s my stuff.  I walked around all week with a new lens on my Spotmatic, the Chinon 55mm f/1.7 macro.  Or is that “macro?”  There seems to have been some discussion over whether or not this is merely a close-focusing lens or a true macro lens.  I’m still learning the difference myself, so I won’t comment here about it, but I think the lens has plenty of character, and I like the look, plus the price was right.  Since I’ve carried around with me one of three normal primes over the last few months, each with their own pros and cons, I was wondering if the Chinon might give me the best options of being sharp, fast enough in low light, and with the ability to focus closer than I usually need.  The jury is still out, but I’ll say that it’s hard getting used to focusing the opposite direction after spending so much time with the Takumars; that is my biggest gripe, but if it means missing the shot, it could be a big one.  So far, I’ve been more than happy with the 1.8/55 SMC Takumar as my everyday lens, but the Chinon is at least an acceptable alternative.

It occurred to me after I posted a week ago, that as far as waiting for the perfect shot, there’s another really iconic photograph that should be talked about, especially in the context of concerts since that’s what I shot a lot of the last week, that also has a pretty good story behind it.

pennie_smith_the-clash
The Clash’s Paul Simonon – Pennie Smith

From what I remember reading off Smith’s firsthand account, Simonon had been having trouble with his bass for a few songs at that point and had had just about enough.  Smith had one last exposure left on her roll of film before she’d have to rewind, and instead of snapping something quick, rewinding, and loading a new roll, she sat on that last exposure.  She could feel that something was about to happen, and it did; she was in the perfect spot to take a critical shot because she was attuned to what was going on around her, and decided not to waste a critical exposure on any lesser shot.  And it paid off in a big way, becoming the cover to London Calling and one of the most iconic rock ‘n’ roll pictures of all time.

I can think of no photograph that better encapsulates the punk era’s rage and frustration, a teenage angst-driven rock ‘n’ roll for a new generation, as well as its level of naivete and penchant for destruction.  It truly is a thousand words.