Flora Photograpy

Sony 135mm STF

Sony 135mm STF ‘Smooth Trans Focus’ – A Different Compromise for Sharp Focus and Smooth Bokeh

Months back, I talked myself (quite easily I should add) into buying a Sony/Minolta A-mount 135mm STF lens of regular reader Rollin Banderob. I was beyond intrigued by this unusual lens, and seeing Rollin shooting it on his Leica M10 made me want to do the same.

Unfortunately, it was one of those bits of GAS that came to nothing. In fact, the only thing I ended up using it for was as a slightly longer lens in combination with the Sony A6400 for video at work. That camera has a 1.5x crop sensor and with the “clear image zoom” which just uses a smaller part of the sensor and still give full HD video, it made for a ~400mm equivalent which turned out to be very useful for a few event videos we made.

5 Frames with a 35mm Summicron-R Lens at the Botanical Garden – by Christian Schroeder

It began with a new purchase, a 35mm Summicron lens for my Leica SLR cameras. This lens focuses down to 30cm. So, what’s the deal with that? Normally I have to maintain a ‘safety distance’ of one meter. Thus, 3 cm felt like I was entering macro-territory. So many new options – finally, I could tackle the small things in life! Although this had been the essential argument to convince myself I desperately needed that lens, I couldn’t imagine an appropriate use case as I liberated the thing from its packaging material.

Leica 50mm f/2 Summicron DR – Plum Blossoms – By Steven Bleistein

About a month before Japan’s world-famous cherry blossom season in late March, is the lesser-known plum blossom season in late February. Plum blossoms in Japan are the first hint of the coming spring, and while not as explosively striking as cherry blossoms and the warming weather than accompanies them, plum blossoms are enough to attract Japanese for plum blossom viewing if not tourists from overseas. There are some famous Japanese gardens for viewing plum blossoms in Ibaraki Prefecture where I live, like the Mount Tsukuba Bairin and Kairakuen in Mito, the prefectural capital, but I don’t need to travel too far from my front door to see plum blossoms, as there are many plum trees in my own neighborhood, and these make excellent subjects for photography.

Minolta XD-11

5 Frames in My Garden with a Minolta XD-11 and Ilford HP5 ISO 400 – by Kate Johnson

This series of B&W flowers helped me to discover the beauty of Ilford HP5. Everyone raved about it, but I seemed to be missing the point. However, recently I was ‘forced’ to use HP5 on a recent extended stay in Phoenix, Arizona. Wanted to do some 35 mm photography and didn’t have time to place a film  order. The only B&W film I had on hand was HP5. Usually I lean towards the higher contrast T-MAX, but I grabbed the 5 rolls HP5 that I had on hand and headed out.

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