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”

JEEP JAMBOREE AT BADLANDS OFFROAD PARK 2018 UPDATE: DAY 2

Day 2 at the Indy Jeep Jamboree! I love driving my Jeep, and I had a fantastic time day 1 at the Jamboree. But this being my first Jamboree it was difficult jumping in and out of my own rig all day while trying to capture photos of the event and really get a feel for the Jamboree. So here on day 2, I rode along with one of my fellow Jeepers (Thanks Eric!) so I could focus on capturing the event. Today we visited The Badlands rock quarry and ventured further into the woods through creek beds and rock gardens…  Continue reading “JEEP JAMBOREE AT BADLANDS OFFROAD PARK 2018 UPDATE: DAY 2”

JEEP JAMBOREE AT BADLANDS OFFROAD PARK 2018 UPDATE: DAY 1

It’s been a great first day and I’m about to collapse into a coma for the next 6 hours, so forgive me for being brief! Continue reading “JEEP JAMBOREE AT BADLANDS OFFROAD PARK 2018 UPDATE: DAY 1”

THE FIELD PHOTOGRAPHER SUMMER OF SWAG KICKS OFF JUNE 15TH!

We have a YUGE Summer planned for you, giving away tons of amazing prizes building up to your chance to get your hands on a mint Leica M4 with Leica 50mm Summicron ƒ2!  Continue reading “THE FIELD PHOTOGRAPHER SUMMER OF SWAG KICKS OFF JUNE 15TH!”

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)”

ZEISS PLANAR ZM 50mm ƒ/2

Highway heading into a storm on the Navajo Reservation, Northern Arizona, Leica M-P 240, Zeiss 50mm f/2 Planar ZM – Photo © Andrew Tonn 

When I bought a digital Leica I wanted a new lens to go with it.  There was no question that this lens would be 50mm.  I use other focal lengths (and have nothing against buying used optics) but, in this case, I wanted a new lens for the new camera.  When I bought a Leica M6ttl in 2001, I briefly used an antique 50mm f/2 Summar, but was soon able to acquire well-used 50mm f/2 Summicron from the 1970s.  I bought the Summar for $150 from an acquaintance and the second hand Summicron for $500 at the now sadly deceased F-Stop Camera in Akron, Ohio.  That lens has served me well but, when I decided to buy the digital M-P 240, the Summicron was in for repairs.  Anyway, I wanted a new lens for my new Leica and the M6 would be lonely and jealous if I confiscated its friend Summicron.  I like to maintain harmony in my stable of cameras after all. Continue reading “ZEISS PLANAR ZM 50mm ƒ/2”