Dave Higgins Photography

Looking at life through nano-coated lenses

Posts tagged ‘photography’

Stella at f/0.95

I bought my first “real” camera in the summer of 1973. It was a Minolta SRT-101 with a 50mm f/1.7 lens. When I brought it home I loaded it with 35mm black & white film, aimed it at one of the family cats, and snapped the shutter. When I got the prints off that first roll back from the drug store, I was amazed at how sharp and detailed the image was. It was a far cry from the Kodak Instamatic photos I was used to. With that shot, I was hooked on “real” photography.

Ever since I got back into serious photography in 2008, I have maintained a tradition. Whenever I acquire a new camera or lens, I always start off with some shots of my cat Stella. It’s not so much a superstition as a fun tradition. Besides, with her fur and range of colors, Stella makes a great test subject for a camera or lens.

This week I acquired a Mikaton Speedmaster 35mm f/0.95 Mark II lens for my Fuji XT-2. Without getting into lots of photo jargon, I’ll just say the lens offers a field of view comparable to that old 50mm Minolta lens, but its considerably larger aperture lets in much more light and makes the depth of field (what’s in focus) much shallower. From the lens’ specifications, and from reviews I’d found online, I thought it might offer the chance to make some fun and unique images.

Naturally, as soon as I received the lens, I put it on my camera and started photographing Stella and random other things. Judging by this photo of Stella, I think this lens is going to be a lot of fun!

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All photographs are © Dave Higgins and “Dave Higgins Photography,” 2018; all rights reserved.

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The following photographs are from Albany’s “March For Our Lives,” which took place on March 24th. I’ve attended a variety of marches and demonstrations over the years, from the early 1970s to more recent events. This particular event felt different to me in a couple of ways.

For one thing, there was an emotional edge to this demonstration that I haven’t really felt in others. What created that edge was the recognition that school shootings and gun violence really are a life and death matter. While in many ways the crowd was cheerful like other demonstrations I’ve attended, hanging over this event was the awareness that people have died because of this issue, and there’s no guarantee more people won’t die in the future. In a way, it reminded me of a cancer fundraising event I’ve done for many years. In both cases, the sense of real and potential loss contributed a vivid poignancy to the occasion.

The other thing that struck me yet again during this event was the incredible articulateness and spirit of the young people leading and participating in this cause. With the sad state of many currently in our country’s political and pundit classes, I’ve grown accustomed to hearing one blithering idiot after another in the general media. But having seen and listened to the teenage members and leaders of this movement, I am in awe of their ability to present their point of view clearly, reasonably and passionately.   They deserve a lot of credit – as do their parents and their teachers.

Finally, a word about the cause of this demonstration. It seems whenever the subject of gun control comes up, things quickly break down into a division between the individual rights of gun owners versus the collective right of citizens to not live in fear of gun violence. I believe we won’t get beyond this division until we recognize its illusory nature. This is something I’ve written about elsewhere: “Getting Beyond Individualism Vs Collectivism.”

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(Clicking on any image will open a slide show.)

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All photographs are © Dave Higgins and “Dave Higgins Photography,” 2018; all rights reserved.

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Two of my photographs are currently in shows!

One is in PHOTOcentric 2017, an international juried show in Garrison, NY. “Pack of Nippers” is an image of a group of unpainted Nipper statuettes I stumbled across in the Albany area. (In photography, timing is key. I recently went back to this spot and discovered all of these Nippers are gone. I’m glad I found them when I did!))

“Pack of Nippers”

The other is in the Albany Center Gallery’s annual Members’ Show. “November Wind, Fort Worth” was another image I stumbled across – this one outside the entrance of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas. A weather front had just come through and it was very windy. While I was first drawn to the sky and the Fort Worth skyline, I eventually noticed all the chairs that had blown over. As luck would have it, the only chair that remained upright wound up being perfectly placed for the composition.

“November Wind, Fort Worth”

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All photographs are © Dave Higgins and “Dave Higgins Photography,” 2017; all rights reserved.

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After arriving in Texas recently for a visit, my sister (a master naturalist) took me to Stella Rowan Prairie. SRP is a rare, tiny remnant of the original grassland prairies that once covered the Great Plains – before much of them were wiped out by development and agriculture. It ironically resides in the middle of some of that development, between Fort Worth and Dallas. While the area just looks like boring grass from the distance, once you get closer you find there’s a wonderful array of diverse grasses and flowers – many of which are in bloom this time of year.

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(Clicking on any image will open a slide show.)

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All photographs are © Dave Higgins and “Dave Higgins Photography,” 2017; all rights reserved.

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Albany’s March for Science was a great time today. This area is a hotbed of scientific activity, with numerous colleges (including the Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and RPI), a variety of elite hospitals (like Albany Medical Center and St Peter’s), and science centers like GE Global Research and Global Foundries in Malta. So it was no surprise that many scientists and science fans showed up at West Capitol Park to demonstrate their support. While the crowd may have been angry about what some politicians have been doing to marginalize science, today’s march featured a fun group with many clever and amusing signs. Here’s a taste of what the day was like, including some of my favorite signs. Plus – speaking as an English major – everyone’s spelling and grammar was impeccable! 🙂

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(Clicking on any image will open a slide show.)

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All photographs are © Dave Higgins and “Dave Higgins Photography,” 2017; all rights reserved.

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