Stimulant

My body has a damp chill I can't seem to shake. I use Dad's nearly 40-year-old Asahi Optical Co. SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4 manual focus lens adapted to Fujifilm X-T2. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Submitted for the 100DaysToOffload project.

Broken Asahi Pentax Spotmatic SPII

Created by photographer Frank Jansen, the Tuesday Photo Challenge is a weekly theme-based challenge for photographers of all kinds to share both new and old photography.

When I was a kid growing up in St. Vincent & the Grenadines1, my dad would take us on road trips out to the countryside. Note, this was on an island that is 345 kilometre2 (133 miles2). A road trip isn't more than a 30-minute drive. But as a kid, it felt like we travelled for hours over great distances.

Sometimes, these trips were to the top of a part of the volcanic ridge that bisects the island. Other times it was to a previous unexplored beach along the coastline. For me, it always felt like an adventure.

My father often brought his camera, an Asahi Optical Co. Pentax Spotmatic II film camera. Asahi Optical Co. introduced the Spotmatic circa 1964. It was the first camera to sell well with Through-the-Lens light metering in many ways; my dad is the first photographer I knew personally. My dad was an aloof father when I was a kid, so I can't say he taught me much about photography but knowing he took photos of us during our mini-adventures is a pleasant memory.

The camera in this photo is the same Asahi Optical Co. Pentax Spotmatic II and the Asahi SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4 lens that Dad used on those "road trips". My mom found it a few years ago while doing some spring cleaning. I was excited to have it. But it's broken. I replaced the battery but stripped the screws on the battery compartment. The shutter works, but the latch that keeps the back door closed doesn't work. Mould grew over the pentaprism, making it difficult to focus the camera. The camera is broken.

I love the controls on this camera. Want to change the ISO? Turn a dial. Want to set the aperture? Turn the dial on the lens. From my search on Google, I think the Fuji X series cameras are the only modern digital cameras that operate this way. If I had the budget for a second camera, I would get either the X-T2 or X100F. I have been watching Fuji for a few years. I like their approach to camera design. I rented a Fuji X-T1 and Fuji X-E1 a few years ago and loved them both. I don't have the budget for a complete system switch.

Created by photographer Frank Jansen, the Tuesday Photo Challenge is a weekly theme-based challenge for photographers of all kinds to share both new and old photography.


  1. Saint Vincent is a volcanic island in the Caribbean. It is the largest island in a chain of islands comprising the nation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. St. Vincent is located between Saint Lucia and Grenada in the Caribbean Sea. 

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.