|OM2N, 70-150mm Zuiko, Adox Silvermax, Firstcall film developer|
This shot took me the best part of a week to get. Lately, I've been dropping Cath off at work each morning and we've passed this field under a variety of weather conditions. On the way home, I usually stopped off to see what the scene looked like through my viewfinder.
Most of the time, there was something missing. Maybe it wasn't wet enough or there was too much going on in the sky. At the back of my mind, I had Henri Cartier Bresson's photograph (below) which has always been a favourite of mine. The key to this pic is the blank sky: clouds would have ruined the simplicity of the shot and its perfect balance.
My patience paid off on Friday when there was enough water in the field and a whitish sky. The next problem was actually taking the shot. I wanted to use the 50mm on the OM2N but it wasn't long-enough so it was the 70-150 f4 Zuiko that was called into action. This is my second copy of that lens. My previous one was a nice lens but I buggered it up (if you remember my recent post about the Rolleiflex SL66E then you might see a pattern emerging) in trying to remove some haze from inside it.
It suffered a mechanical failure somewhere that rendered it effectively useless. So I had a look on Ebay and found one that was being sold locally for a reasonable price. It's OK but it's not as good a copy as my earlier Zuiko, pre-Bruce. Consequently, the photograph I've published here isn't the sharpest pic I've ever taken.
Matters were made worse by the general gloominess of the day in question, the fact that the zoom's maximum aperture is f4 and by the 100 ISO film I had in the camera. I was getting something stupid like 1/30th at f4 at about 80mm. Not good, especially with no tripod to hand. I eventually found a fence post that was in approximately the right position and that provided a bit of support. Still, I don't like shooting at those sorts of speeds on any lens, let alone a tele zoom.
I quite like the final image. It's just about sharp enough and, at least on my monitor, the sky and its reflection are light enough not to interfere with the simplicity. The water-logged furrows are essential to the photo. I took a couple earlier in the week when there wasn't as much water around and the dark, highlight-free earth in the field is too heavy and oppressive.
If I hadn't put the SL66E out of operation for at least a wee while I might have fancied reshooting this one as it lends itself quite nicely to a square composition and the 150mm Sonnar would have been just about the perfect lens for it. Still, there won't be any leaves on these trees for a few months and we get plenty of rain in the winter to make the ploughed furrows sparkle so provided I can get the big Rollei fixed in time it might still be a possibility.