Monday, January 23, 2006

Killing one bird with two stones

(missing photo, please come back)

When I discovered that I could shoot photos with ultra-wide angle lenses that included myself, I played with it a bit, and practiced the technique with both hands. It was really only a variation of the old photo-journalist technique of holding the camera way up over your head to see over the heads of the crowd. I was always pretty good at it, guessing my focus distances, framing, and aim quite well most of the time. At first the self-portraits were little more than a joke, but people seemed intrigued by them, fascinated, and most people seemingly paid no mind when I told them that the photos were really rather carefully posed, that they're far from candid shots, that I'm acting a role in the photograph.

I can usually judge the lighting effects fairly well by observing other people in the same light, and I mostly work with an incident light reading from a seperate hand held light meter (mostly a Weston Master V) even though the Bessa L body does have an accurate behind the lens metering system. It's more that I want to get all of my "fumbling around" over and done with before I start taking photographs, before in fact that I even pick up the camera. In this photo I decided to hold one camera in each hand taking two photographs at the same time. The camera in the photo, in my left hand,I think is a Leica body with a 21mm f/3.4 Super Angulon. My right hand is shooting with the 15mm f/4.5 Heliar on the Bessa L body. It was an interesting trick to see if I could do it, but I never got a pair of great pictures that way. In fact I rarely got ANY outstanding photographs while trying to get two pictures at the same time.

The T-shirt is interesting. It has a photo of me taken by famous advertising and wedding photographer Marc Williams, which he shot on South Beach at a sidewalk cafe. This wasn't as popular as the first T-shirt where I look mean, nasty, and grumpy. James Mitchell is the one who had the idea for the first shirt and got them printed up. He handled the second one too. Contact James at if you want one.

But getting back to the one handed photography, the light Bessa body is easier to hold than a heavy Leica M while firing the shutter and winding on to the next exposure. It's a LOT lighter. The accessory viewfinder helps your fingers brace the camera steadily. On the down side it's a bit noisier than a Leica. The fact that the Leica will fire when wound but the Bessa will only fire when the wind lever is also cocked out away from the body has both good and bad points. The Bessa's metal shutter curtains are an advantage when out in the sun. You won't likely burn a hole through them!


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home