Spring – 2017

Hill Country Spring
Hill Country Spring – 2017
There is no place on earth with more natural beauty than the Texas Hill Country on a Spring morning. In a good year you can drive for a hundred miles with the roadsides, fields and hillsides in continuous bloom. This is a good year.

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The North America calendar
Weeks starting on Sunday.

Phototrice Calendar No. 31 – North America

The International calendar
Weeks starting on Monday.

Phototrice Calendar No. 31 – International

Project Year – One Third Done

I’m now about one third done with my project to shoot with legacy lenses for a year. Using forty plus year old optics full time on a Sony A7II may seem a little unusual. It is a different approach to digital photography and not something to do without planning. For me it is worth doing. Those old lenses are inexpensive and some even give excellent results.

Images captured with legacy lenses often have a different look than those captured with modern optics. Lenses for film cameras were designed using analog methodologies and manufactured with less precise tooling. That gives them what some enthusiasts call ‘character’. When adapted to digital cameras they often render images with unique qualities. That is not to say better qualities than modern lenses.

So far all my project images have been shot with one of four prime lenses in the range of 28-135mm. Not much reach considering I shot many images at 200mm with my X-T1. That would be a field of view around 300mm with the full frame A7II. Using prime lenses with just four available focal lengths has caused me to adapt the way I visualize images. That along with manual lens control has forced me to work slower. I’ve been shooting fewer frames with better results.

Project Year - Kit
Project Year – Kit

The first third of the project has not been as productive as I’d hoped. My time shooting in the field has been less over the last few months than any time in recent years. I expect that to change. I will be shooting more in the Texas Bend as well as around San Antonio in the coming months. Just for starters Día de Muertos is in a couple of weeks. That is always interesting to photograph.

To sum up, the project has exceeded my expectations. I’m enjoying my time with the camera and shooting better images. That makes the project a success to this point. I expected using legacy lenses would be a burden but I like the control they give me. Also the lenses I’m using are producing good results. What’s not to like?

Pontotoc Texas

Northwest of Llano on state highway 71 is the small crossroads village of Pontotoc. It has a few inhabitants, a winery which is the sole major business and a group of spectacular ruins from the nineteenth century. Besides the ruins there are many other interesting artifacts in the area to see and photograph. Fortunately the current residents are tolerant of strangers poking around.

The major ruins in the village are of the San Fernando Academy founded in 1882. It was short lived as a private academy but continued as a public school until around 1927. The area prospered for a few years at the beginning of the twentieth century. Then in the late 1940s a fire which started in the local movie theatre destroyed most of the commercial buildings in the town. Pontotoc never recovered.

There are ruins of residential buildings constructed of beautiful native stone just a hundred yards from the academy. They may have been occupied by school staff members. Within a couple of miles there are also historic cemeteries that are worth exploring. On good years the spring wildflower bloom is spectacular for fifty miles or more around the village. In winter the rolling hills reveal the richness that enticed many settlers to this country.

Pontotoc is well off the tourist track so you have to make an effort to get there. Seeing the well preserved ruins is an interesting day trip.

Union Band Cemetery Gate No1
Union Band Cemetery Gate No1