Musical Notes

Today’s Post by Mildred Alpern

When I started out with a small point-and-shoot camera a decade ago, I wondered about the images with shallow depths-of -field and interesting effects that other photographers on their websites displayed. Did the camera make a difference? Did the lens? Did processing? Could Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz, and Vivian Maier get an outstanding image with my fixed lens camera? Yes, I believe so. But I also suggest that better tools including lenses make better or, at least, pictures that are more appealing to my artistic tastes.

Recently, three fine musicians played their instruments at my apartment. Here was an occasion to photograph the trio with an array of lenses that I constantly switched, hoping for different effects. Marcus played a guitar and a hands-free harmonica; Paul, a single stick bass drum that he had constructed himself; and Simon, a trumpet. Its golden luster drew my attention as well as its mellow sounds. I focused on trumpet player Simon and his horn with a Lensbaby lens for a dreamy glow, and for sharpness used an Olympus M. Zuiko prime on Marcus while he played both instruments. For the trio, I used a wide-angle Olympus M. Zuiko prime lens.

I shot the group with the Olympus M. Zuiko 12mm f/2.8 lens with an exposure of 1/15 sec at f/8, -2/3 EV, ISO 800 and converted to b/w in Lightroom; versatile Marcus with the Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 lens with an exposure of 1/320 sec at f/1.8, -1 EV, ISO 800; and Simon with the Lensbaby Velvet 56 f/1.6 in manual focus, no EXIF data.

Yes, lenses make a difference, and it’s fun to see and compare their effects.


Mildred’s books Winter Garden and Seedhead and St. Agnes Public Library Exhibit are available from MagCloud in print or digital form at most affordable prices.