Monday, October 16, 2006


It looks weird, doesn't it? An Olympus E-1 camera which has more electrical gubbins than you could fathom in your wildest imagination, paired up with a manual-focus Nikkor 50mm f1.4 lens, not a new one which costs £229 from Microglobe,
but a cheap (£38), mechanically identical thirty year-old one which a French ex-pat living in Japan sent to me this month.

It's the culmination of my adventures in low-light photography. It's been two weeks and a year since I first posted a half-way decent low-light picture of Emma Rugg on this blog. An entire DVD of Emma pictures wiser, I find myself tackling the challenge of low-light photography very differently indeed.

Everything, now, has gone back to basics: full manual exposure control, metering-by-guesswork, shooting RAW to bypass the image-processing engine, and black and white conversions to eke out every pixel of available information. An old-fashioned lens made before either Den or I were born, mounted onto my camera with something that was most likely cobbled together in a shed, seemed the natural thing to do, more natural, at any rate, than paying extortionate money for the nearest modern-day equivalent.

So, here, a year on, are my latest attempts at photographing musicians in the dark: two of McWatt, an accordion and flutist duo who featured on the Seeds and Bridges festival:

- and, just to give Den the chance to show he can deliver the goods after his last incredulously bad attempt, one of Fonda 500 also.


Blogger Garry said...

I think I paid about £170 for the Nikkor f1.4D. I love using it - but haven't really been able to get into lowlight situations as much as I'd like. Yet.

It's nice to have it fully automatic - make it very fast. That's handy for portraits where you don't want to intimidate your subject, having the camera at your face whilst you fiddle with the focus.

But you've helped clarify something I've been thinking on for a while - I'm going to start collecting old, manual lenses, compatible with Nikon. In fact, I'm going to have a look on eBay now...

Great photos, btw!

9:15 AM  

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