Monday, May 25, 2015

Lent 2015: Untitled #1

Lent 2015: Untitled #1
by Matthew Hunt and K. Sekelsky

At long last, I’m happy to begin presenting the results of my double-exposure collaboration with K. Sekelsky.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Spider (1999–2015)

My orange kitty Spider passed away today at the age of 16, after his lifelong kidney problems became overwhelming. He was my dear companion, and will be deeply missed.

Happy 16th birthday, Spider!Spider on his 16th birthday, April 29, 2015

Friday, May 1, 2015

Lent 2015 project update

20150501-iPhone6-01320-Edit

The negatives, prints, and low-resolution scans for the Lent 2015 double exposure project have arrived. K. Sekelsky and I will now be reviewing them, cutting the negatives, scanning at high resolution, and producing final edits. We thank you for your patience.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Introducing the Lent 2015 project

Happy Lent!

Regular readers of this blog, if they existed, would know that for the past few years I’ve undertaken a photographic project during Lent. By this time of winter, I’m tired of being cooped up, and need some motivation to get out and shoot. The first project was in 2012, when I shot with only a single, fixed-length lens. In 2013, I designed postcards, some more serious than others. And last year I fired the shutter once and only once each day.

This year, I’m pleased to announce that my dear friend K. Sekelsky, an illustrator and photographer, will be collaborating with me. We’re each going to shoot a roll of film in our cameras, then we’ll trade the exposed rolls and shoot them again. Each frame will be a double exposure created serendipitously by the two of us.

I’ve started with a roll of Superia 400 (“Process before 2007–6”) in my beloved Canonet QL17 GIII; she's got a roll of Reala 100 in her Holga 135.

Because of the nature of this project, we won’t have anything to show you until after Easter, when we’ve had the film processed and had time to scan it and evaluate the results. Since the frames from our two cameras probably won’t line up, there will be some interesting creative decisions in how to present the finished work. I can’t wait to see what happens, and I hope you’ll be excited to see our results too!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Canadian Rockies gear recap, volume 2

This is the second installment in a series evaluating the utility of photographic gear I took on vacation to Banff National Park and the surrounding area. In this installment, I’ll focus on the camera and lenses proper.

  • Pentax K-5 II: A. My APS-C DSLR performed admirably throughout the trip. It is relatively compact for its capabilities, and I love the 16 MP Sony sensor. It has a ton of dynamic range and is very forgiving in terms of exposure. The autofocus generally performed well on the trip.

As far as lenses go, I thought it would be instructive to figure out what percentage of my shots from the trip were taken with each lens. The table below lists the totals for each lens. The “keepers” are taken to be the images in my gallery from the trip.

Lens % of all exp. (n=1,079) % of keepers (n=63)
Sigma 10–20 mm f/4–5.6

20%

17%

Pentax DA 16–45 mm f/4

18%

27%

Pentax FA 50 mm f/1.4

0%

0%

Tamron 70–200 mm f/2.8 Di  Macro

31%

44%

Pentax FA 100 mm f/2.8 Macro

1%

0%

Pentax DA* 300 mm f/4

29%

11%


  • Sigma 10–20 mm f/4–5.6: A−. The Rocky Mountain landscape is made for ultrawides. If you’re going and don’t have one, at least consider renting one for the trip. This lens gets a slight grade reduction because it’s soft in the corners, with noticeable field curvature and astigmatism. Pricier options like the Sigma 10–20 mm f/3.5, Sigma 8–16 mm f/4.5–5.6, or Pentax 12–24 mm f/4 might yield better results, but I still consider my lens to be a great value.
  • Pentax DA 16–45 mm f/4: A−. This versatile lens saw a great deal of use on the trip, and in the overlap region with the 10–20 mm, I prefer the 16–45 mm. It also gets a light grade reduction because I think there’s something amiss with my copy, which I didn’t appreciate before the trip. The left and right edges are noticeably soft at all apertures, with the right side being worse than the left. I may send it in for servicing this winter.
  • Pentax FA 50 mm f/1.4: C. It’s a great lens, but I don’t think I ever mounted it on this trip. The zooms were more versatile, and I didn’t have any need for the fifty’s speed. At least it’s small and light.
  • Tamron 70–200 mm f/2.8 Di  Macro: A+. This was a last-minute purchase before the trip, and my gut feeling during the trip was that I could have lived without it. But looking at the images when I got home, I realized that was a totally wrong impression. This lens was a superstar, a wise purchase and great value. Tack-sharp and versatile, I used it to isolate the scenery and create intimate compositions. It was also a good choice for much of the wildlife that we encountered.
  • Pentax FA 100 mm f/2.8 Macro: D. I only used this lens to photograph a couple of moths to show my dad. I just didn’t shoot much macro on this trip, and the close-focus capabilities (and fine image quality) of the 70–200 mm would have sufficed. Though modestly sized, it’s a heavy lens, and just didn’t earn its spot on this trip.
  • Pentax DA* 300 mm f/4: B. An excellent lens, I expected to use it a great deal for wildlife and birds. But I shot few birds, and the 70–200 mm was generally a more versatile choice for wildlife.
  • Tamron 1.4x Pz-AF MC4 teleconverter: B−. I’m not sure if I used this at all; if I did, it wasn’t that much. But, it might make sense to leave the big 300 mm at home, and use the teleconverter with the 70–200 mm when necessary.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Canadian Rockies gear recap, volume 1

My June 2014 trip to the Canadian Rockies was the first time that I needed to travel by air with a large amount of photographic equipment. In the aftermath of the trip, I wanted to reflect on which items “earned” their space on the trip, and which I could have left at home. This series of posts collects my thoughts on the topic.