It is spring in Texas which is usually more like summer in most places. Normally about this time of year high pressure settles into the atmosphere keeping the weather predictably hot and dry. This year something is different. We have endured a severe multi-year drought that has now been broken by intense El Niño conditions. We are rich with rain which is good but we do love our sunshine. Maybe a more even climate cycle would make things easier to manage. Then again, be careful what you ask for.
This time of year my thoughts turn to traveling on two wheels. I can’t ride any longer which is my loss. Even so, it is hard to shake a thirty year long obsession with the road. Now I make pictures of motorcycles and enjoy the sights and sounds as they ride along. It is a distant second in terms of experience.
V-Twins of various brands all competing to be loud and obnoxious are most common on the roads in the Texas Hill Country. Never rode those kinds of bikes myself. I was strictly a long distance rider. If you take touring seriously you want a quite smooth machine that handles well without fuss. In my case something that could handle both challenging high country back roads and the interstate when necessary. Back to back five hundred mile days that you can enjoy take a special machine and excellent gear. Those who do that sort of riding will know what I’m talking about.
It’s not all bad these days just different. Few people get to experience more than a hundred thousand miles on two wheels. Free of major accidents I will add. I’d guess most bikers log at most a few thousand miles between watering holes. Either way riding a motorcycle that moves by diving and leaning in space is more than most people manage. In the end I suspect we all ride because it is such a thrill to feel free.
We are born of fire. It separates us from the rest of the animals. We have overcome fear of the flame. We play with fire. We have passion for fire. Fire describes the desires we feel as humans. We dance as close to the flames as possible. The danger makes us feel alive.
Doing a web search for legacy lenses turns up thousands of hits. It would seem there is a wealth of information available for anyone trying to get started using old lenses on digital cameras. Unfortunately appearances are deceiving. As with many topics on the web these days there are a handful of original articles driving thousands of derivatives. Not much choice for all those hits. No judgments but it seems like lots of people are taking the easy way out.
Much of what you do find is either high end rangefinder stuff or examinations of the same dozen or so SLR lenses. There are endless postings comparing old lenses shot wide open against other old lenses. It is the photographic equivalent of discussing the number of angels that will fit on the head of a pin. Maybe legacy lenses are only good for test shots of people with one eye in focus or dreamy over saturated flowers. Do people really shoot that way? I’m not sure about that.
Since getting into mirrorless cameras I’ve played around with legacy lenses a few times. Mostly using Micro Four Thirds cameras and OM mount SLR lenses. None of my cameras made using manual lenses easy. As a result the old lenses stayed in the bag most of the time. Now my interest is once again kindled by the availability of the Sony A7 series cameras.
The decision to use manual focus lenses for at least the next several months is to advance my photography skills. Whenever I find myself in situations that require me operate the camera manually my skills improve. It is amazing what thinking can do for you instead of relying on digital intelligence.
So down the road I go with my half dozen legacy lenses in hand. Only a couple of the lenses are considered by those in the know to be worthy of use for anything other than a doorstop. Being contrary by nature makes me always likely to test conventions. You never know, once in a great while things work out in my favor. Fortunately being a non-professional photographer I can fail without much consequence.