Still Life at the Wilkeson Swamp
Brilliant sun, not a hint of a breeze, just nature sitting absolutely still.
It’s just a tiny patch of swamp, really, but it seems to have such infinite complexity. The log in the center is where I first saw the young wood ducks in the spring—they haven’t been back, and I miss them.
This is a carefully crafted shot: a blend of two photographs, each with a razor-thin depth of focus, so that only a few things are in focus. Normally I would shoot something like this on a tripod, but I didn’t have one so I did the best I could to get steady shots. It worked; the detail is really tight. Shot with my sharpest lens, the Zeiss Otus 100mm f/1.4 on the Sony α1. Combined in Affinity Photo, which does the best work with focus stacking.
The water was amazingly still and clean; normally it’s a mush of algae—I assume that the recent heavy rains cleaned things out.
The shot above is the same swamp, the same day, but a little bit away from the former, which has large masses of dead trees shading the water. Here you see just how incredibly sunny it was for a fall day in Seattle. Most unusual. Again, the reflections on the water make the shot. Same lens, but a single shot at f/2.8 so it hs more depth of focus.
The shot above was taken with an historically interesting lens, the Zeiss 21mm Biogon. It’s not the original model; this is a slightly modernized version of the classic lens. The Biogon was designed about 80 years ago, for large- and medium-format cameras. It is a symmetrical lens, or very nearly so, and has the distinction of being a wide-angle lens with very little distortion of the subject. There is no elongation in the above image. That is why I have it; modern lenses may be wider, but they stretch the subject out, especially in the corners.
The Biogon is a challenge to work with, however; it may not have distortion but it is not built for today’s digital sensors, so I have to take special exposures through a white plate to compensate for the way lights goes into the corner pixels at a sharp angle. A technical point, yes, but it brings the lens into the modern era and I really enjoy working with it.