Use a new lens for a change …

Just occasionally I need to be reminded of aspects of the 21st century that I generally ignore.

For a change yesterday I used the auto focus zoom lens that is the native kit lens on my Micro Four Thirds camera. It’s light, the auto focus is a novelty, it makes quite presentable images.  It also eats the battery rather quickly! I think generally my old Russian prime film lenses are sharper, and certainly produce a much nicer quality of ‘out of focus’ in the background – and with no electronics in the lens the battery lasts all day.  Maybe if I was wealthy enough to be using the Leica modern auto focus zoom equivalents I’d be a bit less Luddite? Fortunately the post processing grunt of DarkTable (magnificent Free Open Source Software) recovers a nice enough image after I accidentally set and left the ISO on 1600 …

Anderson’s Mill, Smeaton. (Lumix GH3 camera, Lumix 12-60mm kit lens)

PS: The logo

That most excellent logo which currently graces my page is shamelessly looted from the now defunct Valdai Optical-Mechanical Factory in Russia.

It along with various others produced many of the Zeiss lens clones that now have cult status amongst photographers like me who adapt them to modern mirrorless digital cameras.

If you’re a fan of the constructivist and other graphic art of the former USSR, you might enjoy looking at the range of logos from now mostly defunct optical works in the (now) Russian Federation and various former USSR states.  They are beautiful.

Vologda optical-mechanical plant, Vologda.

Why am I here?

I’ve been making photographs for about 45 years now. I learnt my craft on old Pentax and Olympus 35mm film cameras. Ran a darkroom and scientific photography studio for a while. Took lots of travel and nature photos until about the year 2000. From there a bit of a non-photography period, taking family shots with compact digital cameras and phones for a while. More recently I’ve gotten back into photography with gusto.

I use Micro Four Thirds digital cameras but exclusively vintage manual lenses. I’m particularly fond of lenses made in the USSR in the mid 20th century, based largely on pre-WW2 optical engineering designs by Zeiss at Jena.  I find that they allow me to produce images of great character and warmth that I can’t really replicate with modern computer designed, manufactured and operated lenses.

If I have any photographic heroes, it’s probably the fairly obvious Ansel Adams and Edward Weston amongst others, reflecting my bias for landscape and still life microcosms. That said, there are lots of contemporary photographers that occasionally inspire me too.

I use the Mikrokosm Fotos byline to reflect my predilection for the wide-field sampling that I typically do with a camera, and with the Russian words a nod to the old USSR-made lenses that I use and love. Only a little bit pretentious!

And so – I enjoy photographing buildings, dogs, and slices of landscape and still life.  And other miscellaneous images that present themselves.

Anything you see on my webpage exists in high resolution form in my image collection, and I’m more than happy to either sell images, or be commissioned to make you some new ones.

Drop me a line.