Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Time Traveling

IMG_5451 The newest addition to my photographic kit is an anachronism. The Helios 44-2 is a mass-produced Russian copy of a Carl Zeiss Biotar lens from the early twentieth century. The numerical suffix is a design number. 58 mm is the focal length, and f2 its maximum aperture. Mounted to my high tech DSLR, this pairing has drawn notice the way a gypsy wagon might if hitched to a Corvette. It can be done, but begs the question, why? In choosing this lens, I have forsaken Canon’s swift, Dual Pixel autofocusing for something that must be adjusted by hand. The optic is prone to flare when the light source comes anywhere near its axis. Imaging is sharp, but remains best in the center, and at smaller apertures. I am using mine wide open.

Bokeh is the Japanese name for an out of focus effect that is beautifully smooth. The latest cell phone camera and Instagram filters can fake it to some degree. The old optical formula delivers an organic bokeh with a magical swirl like a virtuoso pitcher throwing a curve ball. The result becomes an otherworldly complement to her Steam Punk persona.

So, what is it like to merge imaging technologies that are separated by the better part of a century? Modern autofocusing lenses are controlled from the camera body, or, perhaps, a cellphone app. While the Helios seems dainty alongside latter day equivalents, its control rings for aperture and focus are a tactile delight. Knock off it may be; this is quality hardware.

Modern lenses lock to the camera using a bayonet mount unique to the brand. No cross pollination is allowed. The Helios uses an M42 screw mount popular among 35 mm cameras of that era. An adapter ring allows modern use of the vintage gear. Mine even offers electrical contact, should the old stuff ever require it.

In practice, the old lens and new body get along quite well, thanks to the Live View mode. While I have even used program exposure, it is best to select manual. What the viewing screen displays is what you get. Best bokeh is achieved at maximum aperture, so exposures are modulated by shutter timer. Precise focusing is achieved by zooming in briefly for fine control.

While this is not the tool for breaking news or sports. I enjoyed the exacting, if slow, process, which resulted in a far greater percentage of keeper images than a typical, digital photo op does. Our modern ability to produce a limitless volume of information is just that, and no guarantee of success. I learned photography when film allowed 36 exposures costing $15 for film and processing, not to mention the time. What began as an exercise in artful effect has reacquainted me with craftsmanship, and may well raise my digital game, too.

Friday, August 2, 2019


IMG_4822 Rebecca Giannini, 7, of Charlotte Hall, Md. plays in the surf in Ocean City Saturday, October 15. IMG_0337 With the Tennessee River and Hunter Art Museum for a backdrop, Chattanooga ballerina C. Mild performs a grand jeté. IMG_8922 Middle Tennessee Dance performance in Tullahoma February 23, 2018 IMG_5756 Liv Bowen makes a block shot on a White County player Monday. The Lady Bobcats prevailed 20-18 in overtime. CASDTWorcesterLAX6 Worcester Prep's Morgan Otway is sandwiched between Cape Henlopen's Alicia Comero, left, and Sam Corleski in game Friday, April 22. fruitland_state_9 Hughesville's firstbaseman Brock Ruble grimaces as Fruitland's Ryan Alexander returns safely. IMG_4439 Children texting and talking on their cell phones during the Michelle Nunn for US Senate primary victory party at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, May 20. IMG_3045 At Trinity Lutheran Church in Tullahoma, Pastor Alex Hoffner sprinkles holy water over a gathering of preschoolers, who brought their dolls and bears to the annual Pets Blessing Tuesday. IMG_0417 One of nine finalists for Tennessee Teacher of the Year, Chelle Daniels adjusts the K'NEX roller coaster built by her students in the West Middle School STEM lab. habitat_dawn At dawn of Day 1, roof trusses are unpacked. By afternoon, the wooden skeleton of a house will stand atop the foundation. This Atlanta, GA Habitat For Humanity building is a joint effort of Big Bethel AME Church and the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip. IMG_2628 In the Powers Auditorium of Eoff Hall, Motlow State Community College set designer Kurt Krause illuminates stage decor for the college's holiday concerts Tuesday. "We are a community college and we like to entertain the community." IMG_1068 Jazz Night Out showcased musical talents from the Tullahoma City Schools, their alumni, and the South Jackson Street Jazz Band to raise funds for the Tullahoma Band Thursday night at Grace Baptist Church. Trombonist James Sabia and THS saxophonist Will Carter jam in a joint performance of the South Jackson Street Jazz Band and the Tullahoma High School Jazz Band. IMG_9274c Proprietor Herbert Williams trims the hair of Keith Harrison, who said he'd been a customer of the Vintage barber shop for several years because of the "good service, conversation and comraderie" found there. The shop is located in Fairlie-Poplar at 57 Forsyth Street in the Healey Building. IMG_6809 for What's Up? Eastern Shore: A view camera and classic cars make a timeless setting at the inaugural St Michael's Concours d'Elegance. DSCN0830_c Dr. Robert Roberts of East Point, GA reflects on his 49 years of medical practice. melinda b for Momentum Magazine: painter Melinda Borysevicz and Vista Duchess inside her Bull Street Studio Veterans Day 7 Command Master Chief Edward Lavieri rings the bell from the USS Tullahoma in honor of servicemen and women who have fallen in he line of duty during the annual Veterans Day ceremony. Pride of Baltimore II Bosun/3rd Mate Ryan Graham of Pine Bush, NY tightens the main clew lashing aboard the Pride of Baltimore II in Annapolis Sunday, April 8. "Pride II is the fifth schooner I've worked on, quickly becoming my favorite." ship Ships old and new are seen in Savannah, GA. Harborside's Seared Ahi drizzled with wasabi cream.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Youth Portraiture

IMG_8415 IMG_9356 IMG_9917 IMG_4830 also seen at the vintage baseball game Parasol IMG_3655 bridge.1 John & bear Lucy,Kate,Caroline Nicholas boat IMG_4822 IMG_0268 DSCN0049 IMG_5248 Rachel1 IMG_1968 "The day was a year at first, when children ran in the garden" begins a poem by Theodore Spencer. I invite your commissions to preserve those fleeting moments of youthful radiance, recreation and reflection. Rates begin at $100 for unlimited use of the images. Please call or text me at 423-486-8715, or write to for a free consultation.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Senior Portraiture

15822399423_3460690d01_o 16440650711_f57bbe650b_o 16441506942_1755036158_o 19362184209_7143c9c073_o 19541979082_705ea422d8_o The prize-winning style of my fashion blogging is available for seniors. I invite your commissions to preserve those fleeting moments of youthful radiance, recreation and reflection. Working with me is fun, and that always shows in the result. All sessions come with unlimited use of the images. Call 931-434-2839 for a free consultation.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

A Visit To Elea Blake

IMG_8219 In a window of the Elea Blake studio at 133 Frazier Avenue are three arm sculptures, fingers elegantly splayed upward. Darin Wright's aesthetics practice is one of many small gestures, nuances that blend art and science to complement one's natural complexion. IMG_8216 After cleansing her client's face, Wright searches for a foundation match. "Skin tones are different in different places," she explains and complements her well coordinated outfit of soft pinks and beiges. Empathy matters because these ladies will be spending most of an afternoon together. IMG_8221 "If eyes are the window to your soul, brows are the drapes," Wright continues. Like an energetic painter of canvas, her face is a fierce mask of concentration as the brush strokes are applied. Then, with hands apart, she steps away to gauge their effect. Smiling, bantering, mixing and applying color, her dance continues. IMG_8123 "We are mixologists creating on skin," she says. The powders are mineral-based and not tested on animals.
IMG_8260 Blending them may follow one of three schemes. The monochromatic results in shading. Analogous colors harmonize in their proximity on a color wheel while complements reach across the wheel to balance each other. IMG_8231 As time passes, her working surface comes to resemble a painter's palette, and like that portrait artist's, the colors are unique, be they applied with a stipple brush or molded into a lipstick. Wright's clientele leave the studio refreshed, empowered, and knowing that they look their best.