November 5, 2016: End of the Dry Spell and the “NikoBron”

Yes, it’s been a long time since I posted…the last post being June 13th as a matter of fact.

To be quite honest, blogging was unconsciously put on the back burner as there were far more important issues that needed to be focused on, the most important being improving the relationship between my wife and I, my family, working though the impact PTSD has had on my wife, my family, myself.  There were some medical issues that needed taking care as well.  However, the most important focus these past months was improving the relationship between my partner of over 40 years.  Everything else paled in comparison.

After many discussions I realized that the camera “got in the way” of our relationship as when I picked it up, I disappeared from where ever I was, who ever I was with.  As we talked through things I gradually realized it’s been this way since we married in 1976 in Berlin.  I needed to understand that seeing the world through the lens of a camera kept me isolated from my wife, my family, the world.  I had to come to a place where I put everything into proper perspective, a perspective that allowed integration with my spouse and my family, to be with them fully, to participate in life’s important moments without hiding behind the lens…without resentment, without reserve, to step back into life, to see the world fully, to allow myself to see without a camera.

These past months have been revealing in how much the camera has kept me isolated from my wife and family.  An isolation that was painful for my wife, my children.  I cannot blame the camera for everything for I also escaped reality by working very long hours during my career of many years.  Either situation was wrong by itself but the combination was a relationship and family killer.  That my wife has stayed all these years is a testament to her love, patience, and understanding of the damage that existed within me…that our relationship could get better.  It is a testament of hope that her turn in the sun would finally arrive.  While I still have a long way to go to right the wrongs I have caused these years by my self-imposed isolation, there is no better time to begin than today, and each day that follows.

There have been many positive changes these past months.  I am more curious than ever before.  I journal almost daily.  I am exploring more of who I am.  I am spending far, far more time with my wife, listening better…finding out who she is after all these years of taking her for granted.

I’m seeing a bigger picture of my part in life, with my wife, my family, that goals are important, that everything in its proper place and time is vital to a better life, that a better relationship with those in your life has so many possibilities and a richness of life never thought possible before.

I did not know where this post would go even though it has been simmering in my mind for a long time. The hiatus from posting, from the camera was a natural consequence of internal growth, a growth that has allowed me to a better person, husband, father and friend.

The “NikoBron” was part of today’s title…as I have been struggling with photography in general, I realized that I’ve been in a rut of what I take and how I take the photographs…more of a “point and shoot” concept than consciously taking my time to capture what I see in my mind as well as how I decide (technically) take the image.

As I thought about this dilemma, I realized that I was shooting simply to capture a moment without really looking, that I had been “whipping” out the camera, taking the shot, and moving on.  Not the best recipe for success.  In short, I needed to slow down, get back into the “moment” of the image and the only way I could do this was to change my attitude and how I use the camera,  And, the only way I knew how to do this was to mix up my camera configuration and shooting technique…to force myself to slow down and really focus on the shot…”visualization” as Ansel Adams described it.

As I thought about this, it came to me that using the Nikon Df with the Bronica lens I have, and ancient Pentax 1º SpotmeterV I used when shooting with the Mamiya RB 67 in Berlin might be the magic combination I was looking for…a way to use the Zone system without mixing chemicals so to speak.

And, it worked…gloriously I might add…Here are three images (Nikon Df, Fotodiox ETR-Nik adapter, Zenza Bronica 50mm lens, metered to Zone 5 and adjusted for highlights or shadows).  The one thing I still need to do is to develop a field worksheet that records metering details.  The last image was included as I was looking for the “red” and it’s there!  (Note:  The Broniza 50mm is approximately equivalent to a 28mm lens in film SLR lens.)

Boston Ivy In Fall

Boston Ivy in Fall

Boston Ivy in Fall

Boston Ivy in Fall Colors

Weathered Black Cat

Red on White

Red on White

 

 

 

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