NEW YORK NEW YORK – Out again with the old lenses. Today I’m shooting with a Carl Zeiss Jena 3.5 cm f2.8 Biogen from 1937. Pre-war Zeiss lenses quote focal lengths in centimeters, rather than millimeters – this is a 35 mm lens. It was about as wide as things got back then. I have 28mm Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar from 1937, but its maximum aperture (f8.0) and tendency to flare make it a bit of an odd ball. The 3.5cm lens that I’m using today is uncoated so it’s prone to flair but produces lovely transparent shadows. A real winner in the high contrast world of Manhattan. Today I found myself on Lexington Avenue in the 50s with Citicorp Center acting as a gigantic reflector.
Day 2272 of one photograph every day for the rest of my life.
NEW PRESTON CONNECTICUT – I’m continuing to explore the capabilities of antique Carl Zeiss Jena lenses. Today I put a 5 cm f1.5 Sonnar from 1936 on my Sony camera. This is actually a lovely lens, quite modern in its performance. Apart from its quirks (the aperture ring doesn’t have click stops, turns the wrong way, isn’t linear, and can’t be moved without changing focus; the focusing ring turns the wrong way) it’s a joy to use.
Day 2271 of one photograph every day for the rest of my life.
WARREN CONNECTICUT – I spent a few hours in the actual town of Warren today. In keeping with my New Years resolution, these images are made with a 1936 Carl Zeiss Jena 5 cm f1.5 Sonnar lens, which is interesting in that the optics are coated, making this one of the first coated lenses ever.
The first image is of of a presently-closed inn. It’s four frames stitched in Photoshop, which might run slightly counter the spirit of shooting with an antique, but whatever. I’m a wide shooter and as we will see the wide lenses from this era just aren’t very good. The grave marker is in the Warren town cemetery; I found it moving that someone is bothering to maintain (with a flag) a marker for a young soldier killed in the Civil War in 1862, and that his body found its way back home to Warren. Litchfield County was an hotbed of radical Abolitionists, so many young men volunteered for service and many died.
Day 2270 of one photograph every day for the rest of my life.