Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary (Extremely Contrary!)

"...watching her garden grow" in the words of the nursery rhyme. Contrary she was! And the older she got the more contrary she became. A WW-II Womens Army Air Corps veteran and college graduate she was a bit unusual for her generation. She prided herself in staying unusual.

I introduced her to James Mitchell on one of his trips to the Miami area and we'd always stop by for a visit and a cup of coffee when he was in town. This photo was about two years ago [(c) 2006 James Mitchell] on one of those warm sunny winter days that just beckon you to sit out on the front stoop, enjoying a cup of freshly brewed coffee as Mary and I did our best to pollute the air with our cigarette smoke.

James shot this with a little Minolta made Leica CL from the early 1970's, fitted with an early 1950's vintage 85mm f/2 Nikkor lens. That was one of the Japanese lenses "discovered" by American photographers like David Douglas Duncan during the Korean Conflict. I had one years ago and in a fit of stupidity I sold it. A dozen or so years later I succeeded in reversing half of my mistake. I'm still hoping to replace my long gone 50mm f/1.4 Nikkor also. Everybody who's tryed the 85 ended up buying one! A nearly sixty year old lens, it can hold its own against anything but the very latest optical designs, those featuring aspheric elements and multi-coating. The 50 is just as good.

Our lenses live on, but now we have to content ourselves with just photos and memories of Mary.


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