bleak

Zeiss 135mm f2 apo sonnar lens

This is a very dark, very bleak image. It was taken late at night during the last snow storm in New York. The eery composition of the intense dark shadow on the left fading into the light from the street lamp creates this scene that looks deserted… semi-post-apocalyptic… snow covered picnic tables reminiscent of of the past when families and children used to be around putting them to good use. I also like that one solitary chair sitting out of place on its own… lots of irony there. This scene looks like something you would see in a movie, or imagine while reading a book like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

Taken with a Carl Zeiss 135mm f2 APO SONNAR ZE mount lens for Canon.

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locked up

Canon 135mm f2 lens

I absolutely love what you can find in New York if you slow down and take a look around. I found this bright green padlock in the 34th Street subway station while waiting for the F train one day. The bright color stood out and caught my eye, but what really made this shot interesting was the soft orange and yellow background colors showing through the locked gate. The subways have some fascinating images, but before I took this photo I never imagined that such vibrant colors had a place in the darkest place in the city. Taken with a Canon 135mm f2 lens mounted on a Canon 5D Mark III camera. The aperture was wide open at f/2 in order to pull the subject out towards your eye and create the softest background possible to contrast against the sharp focus of the metal lock.

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see the locked up subway collection

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towering

Zeiss 50mm f2 Makro Planar lens,

The architecture in New York is fascinating, and when brilliant design winds up with an even more brilliant natural backdrop like these clouds, you really have something special in a photograph. Taken with a Carl Zeiss 50mm f2 Makro Planar lens, which is optimized for closeup work, but can obviously hold it’s own for landscapes and cityscapes as well.

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battle

Canon 135mm f2 lens

This is a scene from one of the coolest, and most confusing, things I’ve witnessed since I began trying my hand at street photography in New York.

A huge group of at least 50 people were gathered together in a dirt pit off to the side of a random path through Central Park. One guy looked like he was presiding over the event with a huge American flag, and everyone else was participating in this crazy group wrestling match with a set of rules that none of the spectators could understand. I shot at least 250 photos of the event because it was so fascinating, and this is one of my favorite shots. I love New York for things like this.

Canon 135mm f2 lens shot at f/2. Canon 5D Mark III camera.

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surreal

Zeiss 15mm f2.8 wide angle distagon lens

This photo looks like a cross between an actual photograph and a Salvador Dali painting, which is why it’s surreal to me when I look at it. The muted blues and grays in the sky, and the warm oranges and reds in the city and the water give this image a very special feeling that anyone who has ever lived in New York can appreciate within a few seconds of viewing it. This would be stunning as a large floating canvas print in 20×30 or 30×45. Taken with a Carl Zeiss 15mm f2.8 wide angle Distagon lens, 30-second exposure, f/11, tripod, remote release.

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motion

Zeiss 50mm makro planar lens

I’m fascinated with the art of capturing motion within a still photograph, and this is why! Look at the streams of light from the traffic that past through this view during the 30 second exposure time. Look closely at both levels of the bridge, and on both lanes of the FDR Drive below… a white stream from headlights traveling north, and a red stream from brake lights traveling south. It’s just a wonderful representation of what New York is all about… constant, constant motion…

Taken with a Zeiss 50mm Makro Planar manual focus lens set at f/11 mounted on a Canon 1DX with a tripod.

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lava hd

Zeiss 135mm f2 ZE APO SONNAR Lens

I had so many requests to see the overall expansive image behind ‘lava’ that I decided to publish one of my favorites taken with a wider angle Zeiss 35mm f1.4 Distagon Lens. The colors, clarity, and super rare subject matter that only existed for a few minutes make this photo something truly special. I decided to include a reflection off of a window to the right in the composition, and it’s unbelievable how continuous the image of the lava cloud is all the way across from the cloud itself, through the bridge, into the reflection. It’s so continuous that the window and a reflection on the right sometimes goes unnoticed. This photo would render beautifully on a large 30×45 Fuji Pearl print, and is available in limited quantities in a 16:9 aspect ratio for anyone interested in enhancing the “widescreen” look of the photo… consistent with the HD in the title. As always, no post-processing here… this is exactly how it looked the day it was taken.

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snowsuit

Zeiss 135mm apo sonnar f2 manual focus lens

What is is that makes us want to run our hands through the snow whenever we get the chance? Is is the little pile that it makes in front of our hand? Is is the clear path that gets left behind it? Is is the impending snowball that’s bound to get made? Or is it just the warmth of our favorite snowsuits and gloves when we get to run out to play in the first snow of the season as children… I think that’s it…

Taken with a Carl Zeiss 135mm f2 APO SONNAR lens mounted on a Canon 1DX DSLR camera.

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lava

Zeiss 135mm f2 apo sonnar lens EF mount for Canon

Within 10 minutes of waking up this morning, a normal (beautiful, but normal) sunrise was replaced with this gigantic, dense, lava-like cloud. I haven’t been more wow’d by a sunrise in a long time. Taken with a Canon 5D Mark III and a Carl Zeiss 135mm f2 APO SONNAR lens mounted on a tripod and set to f/11.And, as with all the images on this site, this is straight out of the camera with no post-processing.

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see the lava collection

Want to see how this scene evolved over the next 60 seconds?

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painted

Zeiss 135mm f2 lens long exposure

The river looks as if the brush in ‘artist’ painted it, but it was a lens, not a brush, that did the painting. A Zeiss 135mm APO SONNAR lens was allowed to exposure this image for 20 seconds, and this is what it captured. The still reflections on top of the moving water created this painterly like effect, and I love the dramatic effect created by shooting in black and white as compared to the softer effect in color.

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painted in color

Zeiss 135mm f2 apo sonnar lens long exposure

Take a look at the motion of the water under the still reflections. It appears as if it was painted with several soft brush strokes under those beautiful colors, and the reflections themselves also appear to painted with a finer brush on top. This was taken with a very long exposure late at night, and it turned out so crisp and clear, but with a sense of softness because the motion of the water. I would love to see this as a medium sized canvas print, but it would also work well with a simple float frame. Taken with a Carl Zeiss 135mm APO SONNAR lens, f/11, 20-second exposure, tripod, remote trigger.

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grey

zeiss 135mm f2 manual focus apo sonnar lens

There is such a special grey light that only snow creates. Rainy days have a grey cast to them too, but it’s different than snow. There is a softness about the snow grey, and a dreariness to rain grey. It’s hard to describe, but the images feel completely different even though they have the exact same tonality. Take a look at ‘its just so’ and you might see what I mean. ‘grey’ is soft, grainy, and has a quiet feeling to it, while ‘its just so’ has a dreary somber feeling. They are admittedly different subjects, but they were taken at the same time of the day, and both shot in black and white. I could see either work being a nice seasonal floating canvas piece in any room with an earth tone decor.

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make a wish

zeiss 135mm f2 apo sonnar lens ef mount

Yes, this is a photograph. And no, there has been no photoshopping. This image was taken with a 30-second exposure at 3am using a Zeiss 135mm f2 lens mounted on a Canon 1DX. The camera remained stationary for the first 20 seconds of the exposure, and then panned right very slowly and steadily for the remaining 10 seconds to “draw” the tail of the moon. The moon was an enormous, beautiful crescent this night, and it was completely by chance that I couldn’t sleep and happened to notice it out the window. Incredibly rare opportunity, and this image has a prized place in my collection from now on. Make a wish upon the moon for the New Year!

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champagne

zeiss 100mm f2 makro planar manual focus lens for Canon

It’s strange how random things catch your eye sometimes. I saw this champagne cork leftover from a New Years party sitting by itself on a black marble countertop and boom, inspiration. It turned out to be a really fun image that would actually look great as a piece of background art at a bar or restaurant, or even in a den or library at home. Floating canvas would be the way to go since the image sort of floats in space on it’s own.

Taken with a Carl Zeiss 100mm Makro Planar lens, f/6.3, shot at the minimum focus distance. Super soft transition between the sharp subject and the soft out of focus background.

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I took a black and white version as well (because I couldn’t resist)…

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crystal clear

Zeiss 100mm f2 Makro manual focus lens for Canon

Since Christmas is my favorite holiday, I naturally found myself taking a million pictures of ornaments and trees, and I found something special on this shot. I was trying to capture the iridescence of the bulb itself, not necessarily the ornament, and as I was adjusting my focus throughout the viewfinder, I noticed that I could actually see myself in the glass. It reminded me of those crystal balls with the winter scenes inside of them that you shake when you’re a kid, except this one was crystal clear.

Taken with a Zeiss 100mm f2 Makro Planar manual focus EF-mount lens.

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warm

Zeiss 100mm f2 Makro Planar manual focus lens EF mount for canon

The title speaks for itself with this close up image of a candle flame taken on Christmas day. I love the shape of the flame itself as it’s frozen in time, and the detail of the wax around the edges. This would look great in a small frame or as a very large floating canvas statement piece.

Taken with a Carl Zeiss 100mm f2 Makro Planar lens f/2.8 mounted on a Canon 5D Mark III camera.

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wild night

photo layering with a Zeiss 50mm f1.4 lens

The title of this photo doesn’t need much in the way of explanation… just drink the one in the middle!

This is a very trippy rendition of what it feels like to have that kind of night. As you all know by now, I love photos that convey feelings and this one does it better than just about any other photo in my collection. ‘wild night’ would look amazing as a large floating canvas print. I used a technique called photo layering for this, but I did it all in-camera which worked out really great. I still have an awful lot to learn about layering, but I’ll have more on that later in the ‘experiences‘ section for those of you who are interested.

The image is a combination of three individual exposures taken at the same time while I physically move the camera over my subject. I used a Canon 1DX and the very painterly Zeiss 50mm f1.4, which is the perfect artistic lens for shots like this. You can’t accomplish this kind of effect with a lens known for it’s sharpness and clarity like the Zeiss 50mm f2 Makro. You need lenses that render their images more like paint brushes, and the Zeiss 50mm/1.4 and the Zeiss 28mm/2 are two of my favorites when it comes to artistic rendering. Both of these lenses take some severe beatings in online review forums for their lack of sharpness, but that’s just not what they’re made for. Every artist needs to know the tools in his toolkit.

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absolute

canon 1dx. Zeiss 135mm apo sonnar

Absolute quiet. Absolute stillness. This is a rarity in the city that never sleeps.

This was taken in the middle of the night from a high vantage point looking east out over the East River towards Queens with a long 25 second exposure. I used a Zeiss 135mm manual focus lens mounted on a Canon 1DX and a tripod with a remote trigger. My focus point was on the solitary street lamp in the center of the image which produced a beautiful sun star effect. Sometimes this image looks like there’s a secret meeting going on down there within that little group of trees, and other times it just looks calm, still, quiet, and cold.

I love the clarity and detail that this lens captures invariably… this may end up being one that I frame for my personal collection.

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snowmage

Since we’re having a very white holiday season this year, I decided to try my hand at cold-weather photography and see what I could come up with. The hardest part of shooting in the winter is the lighting, especially while it’s snowing. Everything is so monochromatic that it’s almost impossible to get an interesting shot with color photos. The sky is grey, the clouds are grey, the ground is grey, and even the light has a grey tone to it. To get around that problem, I decided to play with contrast instead of color, with out-of-focus areas instead of in-focus, and with an old-school nostalgic look instead of a sharp modernistic one. Before I started thinking out-of-the-box with this project, my photos were totally uninteresting. Turning to the idea of using the camera like a brush instead of like an instrument got me a nice winter collection… a snowmage if you will…

“leaves”

zeiss 50/2 makro planar

If you didn’t look closely, you may have believed the title of this photo and found it to be quite uninteresting. I came across this scene of tiny birds having breakfast in ray of sunshine peeking through a barren tree in the late Fall in Central Park. It’s ironic that this image seems like nothing more than a boring photo of dead leaves on first glance, but if you look closely the amount of detail captured by this lens is incredible, and the way the light rendered is stunning. Taken with a Carl Zeiss 50/2 Makro lens.

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