Mirror Mirror

The Tuesday Photo Challenge is a weekly theme-based challenge for photographers of all kinds to share both new and old photography. This week's theme is mirror.

I had very little time for the Tuesday Photo Challenge this week. During the week I had researched several ideas hoping I would find the time to explore one of two of them. However, between the studio still life class on Saturday morning, my niece’s birthday party on Saturday night, and Sunday brunch with a former colleague and his wife, I had just a few hours to get something done.

While doing my research on the word mirror, I found inspiration in an image by Flickr user f/otographer. This particular user has taken an image of himself in the mirror through the front element of one of his lenses.

I decided to try this myself, but it was not an easy task. The only mirrors we have in our home are in our bathroom. That was my studio. The lens is an Asahi Pentax SMC Takumar 50 mm f/1.4 lens that I detached from my father’s Asahi Optical Co. Pentax Spotmatic II. I held the glass out in front of my Nikon and attempted to find a combination of focal lengths and apertures that allowed the image in the mirror to be in focus. It was challenging to get the focus point of the Takumar just right. I got a few good shots, but the image was slightly off centre.

Mirror Mirror —

Nikon D5100 + 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ (55 mm, f/8.0, ISO6400), © Khürt L. Williams

It was time to leave to meet my colleague for brunch, so I packed the camera, and we drove into Princeton. We parked close to the restaurant. We shivered under our coats as a cold, dank drizzle added and the gloomy grey skies enhanced the feeling of the miserable day. As we walked past the outside sidewalk of the restaurant, I stopped to take a photo of this woman sitting inside. She was drinking a cup of coffee while reading. Once inside I realised that there were a lot of seats in the interior of the restaurant. I think she chose the window set intentionally. I was fascinated by this woman and wanted to take more photos. I just loved the way she looked sitting there lost in whatever she was reading. But my family seemed embarrassed by my use of the camera, so I put it away.

It was not until I got home and looked through the images that I realised that I had taken my “mirror” shot. I don’t know what prompted me to snap that photo. But I think that after consciously trying so hard to capture “mirror” my subconscious had seen the image and just “knew”.

The Tuesday Photo Challenge is a weekly theme-based challenge for photographers of all kinds to share both new and old photography. This week's theme is mirror.

Old things have significance

I updated my Facebook profile photo this week. Inspired, I took a self-portrait with Dad's old camera, an Asahi Optical Co. Pentax Spotmatic II with attached Asahi SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4 lens, as a prop. The camera-generated a few questions on Facebook, so I'm following up with a post about the camera.

A man's dreams are an index to his greatness. Zadok Rabinowitz

When I was a boy, Dad bought the Asahi Pentax Spotmatic II. I don't remember too much about the camera, but I do know that this camera or a Polaroid camera was the family camera. Dad took many photos on family vacations, or when he would drive us on an adventure around the island, in whichever one we were living. We moved around the British West Indies quite a bit.

I'm not sure how I obtained the camera -- perhaps my mom sent it to me, or maybe it was my dad -- but I do know why I keep it; nostalgia.

I know what it's like being a new parent and wanting to capture every moment of your child's early life. I know I did. I imagine Dad running around behind myself or my younger brothers (or maybe Mom) taking photos of us playing on the beach in Bequia or riding our bikes for the first time. I'm sure my mom has those photos hidden away somewhere.

Dad's Asahi Pentax Spotmatic II with Asahi Pentax SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4 lens. —

Nikon D40 + 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ (24 mm, f/5.6, ISO200), © Khürt L. Williams

I think it's interesting that Dad's used a Pentax. I took a film photography course in college circa 1988, and I bought my first film camera; a Pentax P3. I remember being in love with black and white photography1 and the process of developing the film. I spent hours in the darkroom inhaling smelly chemicals. I think Bhavna has some negatives from those days stored in the basement. Time to do some spelunking.

  1. Was it Kodak Tri-X?