THE NIKKOR 20mm ƒ/2.8

Maya Shaman conducts rituals in the cemetery in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. Nikon D800, AF Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D

Go wide!  Go wider!!  Go as wide as you can without going too wide!!!  This is how I think about the 20mm lens and, to be specific, the classic 20mm f/2.8 Nikkor in both auto and manual focus.  In my long experience with this lens — I have used it in its MF and AF versions as one of my primary working optics since around 2000 — I have found it to be a special lens in particular and generally as wide an angle as one can get without entering the realm of special effects.  Lenses wider than 20mm can come in handy for unique perspectives and situations, but rarely for every day use.

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THE LEICA-M 90mm ƒ/4 ELMAR C

MONTERREY — I have shot tightly framed portraits of people since I began taking photos at age ten or eleven.  A certain style of naturalistic headshot, the subject fully aware and looking straight into the lens, has been a major element of my work for my entire photographic life.  I still have almost every negative I ever shot and though I hope I have learned a thing or two along the way, I am still rather happy with many of the portraits I took of my classmates, teachers, and family back in Junior High and High School.  

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VIA CRUCIS

I have been working as a documentary photographer off and on in Latin America for over 15 years. Some of my favorite memories and images have come during Holy Week, Semana Santa. I have photographed these incredible expressions of faith on three previous occasions in Central America. First in Antigua, Guatemala, then in Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras, and last in Santiago de Atitlan, Guatemala. All of these were marked by procession all day and night, intricate carpets of flowers laid out on the streets, the dirge-like antique music of marching orchestras, the stations of the cross and other reenactments of the crucifixion and resurrection.  Continue reading “VIA CRUCIS”

GUEST COMMENTARY FROM ROBERT POOLE: THE V2 VOIGTLANDER 15MM ULTRA WIDE

Photo © R. Poole, published with permission

The beast in question is the Voigtlander 15mm Ultra wide and taming it is as hard work as it is fun. If you’ve ever shot an ultra wide you’ll know what I mean and this lens is no exception, in fact when coupled with a Leica M9 it becomes even more difficult.  Continue reading “GUEST COMMENTARY FROM ROBERT POOLE: THE V2 VOIGTLANDER 15MM ULTRA WIDE”

THE VOIGTLANDER 15MM F/4.5 SUPER-HELIAR V1

Sometimes you should listen to the voices in your head and sometimes you shouldn’t. Do not run with scissors in traffic. Do not befriend Nigerian royalty. Do not shave your head and climb that bell-tower. But if the voices are telling you to hang onto a particular lens, that someday you’ll figure out what it’s good for, and that someday you’ll figure out how to use it correctly, then listen.  Continue reading “THE VOIGTLANDER 15MM F/4.5 SUPER-HELIAR V1”

PRINT YOUR PHOTOS (PROBABLY A BETTER TITLE OUT THERE)

You shot your rolls of film, developed them or had them developed. You looked at the prints (or jewel-like slides)– the only way to look at your photos unless they were published — and decided which ones you liked. When you were learning photography you looked at the negatives and picked one. You held those little frames to the light or looked at them through a loupe over a light table. You made contact sheets and looked at those through a magnifying glass, at tiny windows into the worlds of your own past. They were full of mystery, tiny little scenes that you had chosen, burned into silver halide, glowing frames of silvery greys and blacks, the direct opposite of what you had seen. It was up to you to think about them, think about what you wanted. Then you had to turn the lights off, turn on the red light, fit that chosen frame into a holder, fit it into a larger frame, make decisions and then commit to it. You held your breath and pushed the button and the light came on, changing the photo paper invisibly, immediately, and forever. You took that piece of paper and slipped it beneath the developer. Again you held your breath, waiting, wondering. Would it come in a rush of overexposed blacks or a tentative, underexposed outline of whites and greys? Or had you calculated correctly when you committed light to the paper as you had when you opened the camera’s shutter to expose the film.  Continue reading “PRINT YOUR PHOTOS (PROBABLY A BETTER TITLE OUT THERE)”

5 DAYS IN KATHMANDU

Leica M Monochrome, 15mm f/4.5 Voigtlander Super Heliar, Temple steps, Durbar Square (Photo by Andrew Tonn ©

There were times when our two years in Mumbai seemed an eternity.  I knew the time would pass quickly, however, that every day, strange as it was, would crossfade into the next and that sooner, rather than later, we would be headed back to the airport, boarding a flight out, and that everything undone would most likely stay undone.

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LEICA-M SUMMARON 35mm ƒ2.8

The owner of Brittania & Company, one of the classic old Parsi restaurants in old Bombay. Leica M-P (Photo, Andrew Tonn ©)
ARLINGTON — Of all the Leica M lenses out in the world, there is one in particular that does not seem to gets its due.  That lens is the 35mm f/2.8 Summaron, a lens made from 1958-1974.  Continue reading “LEICA-M SUMMARON 35mm ƒ2.8”