After the rain, and some respect for the little D40.

Inspiration, Nikon (Nikkor) NOCT 58mm f/1.2, Teaching point

It’s been raining on and off this weekend, so I thought this shot would be à propos.

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↑Nikon D40 and Nikkor-NOCT 58/1.2 @ f/1.2.

This image was taken with the Nikkor-NOCT 58mm @ f/1.2, mounted to a Nikon D40 camera.

The D40 was an entry level SLR camera, announced by Nikon in late 2006.  Given we are currently in 2011, this camera is ancient by digital camera standards.  However, it has a 6 megapixel DX format CCD sensor.  The “CCD” part is what interests me because, along with a weak AA filter, this is exactly what you will find in the Leica M9 (although, in the M9 there is a larger “full frame” 18 megapixel sensor).

I’ve always been attracted to the look of photos captured by CCD sensors with weak AA filters, as the output is just more “vivid” to my eye – even when shooting with the dreamy NOCT @ f/1.2.

Here is one more photo with the same combo:

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↑Nikon D40 and Nikkor-NOCT 58/1.2 @ f/1.2.

It’s raining again | The Nikkor-NOCT 58/1.2.

Inspiration, Nikon (Nikkor) NOCT 58mm f/1.2, Print, Teaching point

The rain has returned after a long absence, so I thought I’d post a second image today, more à propos of the mood.

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This shot was taken last year with the Nikkor-NOCT 58/1.2 (on a Nikon D40 body).

The Nikkor-NOCT 58/1.2 is a remarkable lens that, unfortunately, is no longer made.  I really should write a piece about it, but there is plenty of technical information available on the web about this lens.  Have a look here and here.

Over the next little while, I’ll be posting some of my favourite shots I’ve taken with this lens.  The images do a better job of telling the story of the NOCT anyway, as compared to technical discussions.

The haircut – a 3 stage act.

Konica Hexanon 60mm f/1.2, Nikon (Nikkor) NOCT 58mm f/1.2, Photo Shoot, Portrait

These were taken yesterday (Leica M9 and Konica Hexanon 60mm @ f/1.2):

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Act 1: Scared.

Act 2: Trusting.

Act 3: Relieved.

And, just for fun, I’m including an additional shot below.  It was taken almost exactly one year ago (Nikon D3S and Nikkor-NOCT 58mm @ f/1.2):

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Inspiration, Nikon (Nikkor) NOCT 58mm f/1.2, Teaching point

Lens flare is usually to be avoided.  It happens when you point your camera towards the sun, or any other bright source of light and get starbursts, circles, or blobs of light introduced into the frame.  Sometimes, these light artifacts are desired, for artistic effect.  More often than not, they interfere with a critical portion of the image and prove to be quite distracting.

Other times, when the bright light source is just outside the frame and the light rays are striking the front of the lens tangentially, you end up with a low-contrast and hazy photograph (for more information on lens flare, please read here).

Yet, despite what I’ve written above, I find that bright backlighting can often be dramatic, so I find myself frequently photographing things against the sun.  I do it taking my chances that flare won’t interfere with the image.

In the photo below, the undesirable effects of lens flare are found in abundance:

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As you can see, the bottom right corner of the frame contains spurious green discs, an orange starburst, and red arcs of light that were not part of the original scene.  The rest of the image is washed out with less than normal contrast.

Is this photo ruined?  Many would say so, but I would disagree.  I find all of the “faults” in this specific example are not interfering with the subject and are, in fact, contributing to the overall emotional appeal of the image.  The stray spangles of light remind me of the brilliant sunlight on the particular day I took this photo and lend an almost magical quality to the portrait.  The image speaks to me of summer, and I am taken there when viewing it.

Often it is through such “mistakes” that our photos become more interesting.  Noise, blurriness, tilted horizons, etc., are often distractions but sometimes they can serve to enhance a photo.

We live in a digital age that allows us to experiment with little loss, so there is little reason not to experiment.