Thursday, September 1, 2016

Optics and Adventures: An Island Climb with my Petzval Lens

Last weekend I stepped back into the 1920s for a getaway at the Oceanic Hotel on Star Island. Built in the 1910s (and not much updated since), the Oceanic really feels like stepping back in time, and the island is a beautiful place to take an electronics break for the weekend. I was excited to do some photography while we were there, and on Sunday we went for a walk to explore the rocky outcroppings on the island. I brought along my Petzval, a reimagined 1840s portrait lens. The optics are very different than my modern lenses, leading to a small single point of focus and swirly, blurred edges. In bright colors, like this weekend, it gives the photos a sort of dreamlike effect that I really love. Plus, the focusing knob (a small dial on the bottom of the lens shaft) is the same style of mechanism as the original--without auto image stabilization and focusing support, it's a very different, more deliberate shooting process. Another good way to feel like I'm stepping back in time.

I'll do another post about the event itself, but for now here are the fruits of our adventure as seen through an old-fashion optical marvel.