5 frames with...

5 Frames with a Nikon FE and Ektar 100 (A Walk in Canadian Woods) – By Alex Vye

February 13, 2021

My favourite time of year is the fall, autumn, with all it’s brisk colours, the crispness of the air, and the pervasive feeling of new beginnings. Fall is the start of the new school year, with new friends and professors, before you have fallen behind on your studies. Fall is when it is warm enough to walk outside without a coat yet cool enough that you can walk forever.

My Nikon FE is my ‘comfort camera’. When I’m going for a long walk to get some fresh air, it is the camera I grab. Light enough that you don’t notice it, it has the sufficient features I need to take any picture I want while being simple enough that I could operate it blindfolded.

My lens of choice is the Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8. This prime lens gives a good balance close focus, light weight, and sharp images.

I’ve experimented with many film types, but I feel that Ektar 100 best matches what my mind’s eye sees in my walks in the woods. I especially love how brown’s are rendered. ISO 100 is a bit limiting when walking on hiking trails with an overhead canopy of leaves reducing the amount of light available, but the rich colours are worth it.

The Photos

The close-focus of the lens, shallow depth of field allow for shots like one of the leaf below. The leaf is still attached to the branch (which is out of focus).

Fall Leaf

I love the rich browns of the leaves on the rail in the below picture.  I like to use shallow depth of field in shots like this to impart a dreamy feel.

Leaves on rail

More rich browns, shallow depth of field. I have always been fascinated by the carvings of “X loves Y”  left by lovers who have passed by. I miss that red-hot passion, early in relationships, that drives people to declare their love by carving in trees, signs, fences, etc.

Love note

The lens is not as good for shots as the one below, which would have been better served by a wider lens, a 24mm maybe. Not sure that I am happy with the yellow in the leaves, looks a little pasty.

Autumn trail

Trail stairs

The Location

The enclosed photographs were taken in Fundy National Park, New Brunswick, Canada. I have a yearly pass there and go almost every weekend for a hike or two. My wife gave me a leather-bound notebook on my birthday, which I use to log every hike. Last year, I went on 91 hikes in the woods of an hour duration or more. Not bad when you consider that the harsh Canadian winter prevents hikes 3 months of the year.

The focus on hiking is why I prefer a simple, light weight, hardy camera such as the Nikon FE. The camera will (and has) get dropped, get wet, etc. I don’t believe in display-case cameras….I want a camera I can take out anywhere, in any weather. Below is a snapshot of last year’s hiking/photography journal.



Please see my other work at https://3d6.ca/

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  • Reply
    Martin south of france
    February 13, 2021 at 10:39 am

    The FE is a brilliant piece of kit. Had one many years ago…then an FE2. Good, reliable loved it. Miss it/them but the price these days like all good kit is going up and up. Currently shoot a Nikon FA. Love it for slide work especially with the matrix metering…but somehow it does not feel quite as robust as my FE’s did. The thing with these Nikons is that they do exactly what you expect of them and do it with ease. Great article by the way. Thanks from the South of France

    • Reply
      Alex Vye
      February 13, 2021 at 2:07 pm

      Thanks for the nice comments :). I’ve been to the south of France once in my life, Nice (for work), it was like heaven on earth, but before I was into cameras, regrettably.

  • Reply
    February 13, 2021 at 12:52 pm

    I love the 55micro on my FM2, it has such a great balance as a combination. The lens is as sharp at infinity as it is as a micro. Nice shots, Alex. Enjoy your walks!

    • Reply
      Alex Vye
      February 13, 2021 at 2:06 pm

      Thanks for the nice comments 🙂 and I do enjoy my walks.

  • Reply
    Dana Brigham
    February 14, 2021 at 1:49 am

    Love Ektar 100 — to me, closes thing to classic Kodak slide film look — even using 120 film in crappy, plastic 120/620 “snapshot” cameras. Love the color of the leaves (even with the “pasty” yellow) — makes me *feel* the Fall in your photos.


    • Reply
      Alex Vye
      February 14, 2021 at 3:07 am

      Thanks so much for the comments.

  • Reply
    Castelli Daniel
    February 14, 2021 at 3:45 am

    Hi Alex,
    Nice work. I like the handrail shots, they clearly show one of the strengths of the micro-Nikkor: the thin slice of focus bracketed by the soft out of focus areas. I’ve used other macro lenses, but there is a unique ‘signature’ when using this lens. Try the lens with B&W film, it’s a whole new world!
    I stopped using Nikons 25 years ago, but I kept one camera & one lens: a FE2 & the 55mm micro-Nikkor. Size-wise, it complements my M-4P.

    • Reply
      Alex Vye
      February 14, 2021 at 11:42 am

      Thanks Daniel, I will try B&W, I have a bag full of it, just need some inspiration 🙂

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