I've been itching to use my ever-expanding collection of vintage lenses in a session for some time now. Recently, the fog and frost in the area made for some foreboding and ominous scenes. However, when I finally did arrange for a model, the frost was mostly gone, and the sun dominated again.
Good thing, too - the happy, sunny skies matched the model's demeanour!
Ashley is a talented fellow photographer in Brooks and is always so cheerful. I messaged her last minute for this session to test out the old gear, and she was more than willing. She was great to work with, and I hope she forgives me for shooting on such a cold day (next time will be summer - I promise! lol).
As I've pointed out before, working with vintage gear sometimes presents it's own challenges. First off, all the lenses are manual focus, and it's sometimes difficult to get an accurate idea of how sharp an image will turn out.
A few standbys I used were an old Minolta 50mm f/2; a third party 28mm f/2.8 macro lens, and another off-brand 135mm f/3.5.
Some of the results were great! Others....well....they might need some more practice to master. One lens in particular (think it was the 50mm) was super soft when shooting wide open. The weird little 28mm emerged as the star of the day; giving nice bokeh, fairly crisp results, and a good colour range.
The main sticking point was the body I chose to shoot with. My dear old Nikon D300 is entering old age. She's ancient. Far outlived her expected life. A common issue with this particular model is having the mirror lock up. The only remedy I've found was to turn on Live mode, hit the back-button focus a half dozen times to activate the shutter, and switch back to the mode I usually shoot in to hopefully resolve the problem. About half the time (and this is being generous), the solution works.
That, and I only had two bars left on my battery (after discovering the second battery in the grip was also dead), so the challenge to create decent images was real!
Our quick session resulted in some great images, despite the equipment challenges, and was a learning experience. It seems vintage glass has really become the next great trend, and I can certainly see the appeal. A lot of the old glass is dirt cheap and built to withstand anything.