It’s midnight, maybe half past midnight, and I just drove up to Saratoga County on what was essentially a lark.
Or, as I like to call it, a dress rehearsal.
Follow me on this.
At some point in time this summer, I’m planning on returning to the Boreas Ponds and capturing the photograph of my dreams. But if I’m going to do that, I need to make sure I have all my variables contained. I need to make sure all my equipment is ready.
A few months ago, I backed a Kickstarter campaign for the Solarcan, a mass-produced pinhole camera that will capture a very long exposure – instead of minutes or hours, this camera is designed to capture an image over a period of months.
Photography has the ability to not only capture a moment in time, it also has the ability to soothe the soul. There were countless times when I was in a dark place in my life, where I thought that things would never get better. In those moments, I would grab a camera or three, jump in the car, drive as far as I could go, and take a picture of something spectacular. A waterfall in the Adirondacks, a sunrise in the Helderbergs, something, anything.
Some time ago, I was in one of those dark moods. It was a Sunday morning and I wasn’t in the best frame of mind. Still, I decided that a trip to Congress Park in Saratoga Springs would help make things better. I’ve done this in the past – there’s a flock of ducks that swim in the ponds and streams along Congress Park, and they don’t seem to mind being photographed.
I’ve wrangled and battled and searched through my images.
And for me, trying to find six worthy candidates for the New York State Fair photography competition is like trying to find my six best ears of corn in a thirty-acre cornfield.
It ain’t easy.
The procedures and processes for picking my six entries for the New York State Fair’s 2017 Photography Competition are maddening and mind-bending. If I don’t pick the proper photos for this show, I’ll be looking at six misses again. That’s happened twice in the last three years. And I don’t want it happening again. Please no.
The photo you see here was taken with the most powerful marco lens I’ve ever owned, a Zhong Yi Mitakon super-macro lens. Its most powerful setting – four and a half times normal size.
I am not kidding.
Four and a half freakin’ times normal size. Holy John C. Holmes, Batman…
Anyways, Zhong Yi Optics, based in Shenyang, China, manufactures precision camera optics, and this recent creation – the Mitakon 20mm f/2.0 4.5x macro lens – just exited the factories last December. It costs about $200 and takes three weeks to arrive from China.
So I bought one. Three weeks later, it arrived at my doorstep.
Of late, I’ve really enjoyed my new Irix 15mm f/2.4 super-ultrawide rectilinear camera lens. I used it last month to capture my Stone, Saltwater, Surf and Seagulls picture, which is already aimed for Competition Season 2017.
But one picture does not a lens purchase make. I need to see what else this lens can create.
And with that in mind, I decided another trip to the North Country was necessary. I slapped the IRIX 15mm f/2.4 lens on my Nikon Df camera, and it’s off to Corinth I go.
And Competition Season 2017 begins … today. I’m boxing up my four entries for the Iowa State Fair’s photography competition, and they should be on their way to Des Moines by this afternoon.
This will be my third attempt to enter photographs in the Iowa State Fair’s Photography Competition. It’s the largest fair photo show in America, and to get on the walls of this Fair is an awesome achievement in and of itself.
Unfortunately for me, it’s been an achievement that has cruelly eluded me. Five rejections in 2014. Four rejections in 2016. So there’s that.