Architecture, Interiors, Technology

Architecture with the Zeiss 35mm PC-D

There are plenty of people who would suggest that you can’t shoot architecture with a 35mm and you need a 24mm or wider.  I used to be in that camp too some extent but I have found that with a shift lens on a full frame body you can do a lot with a 35mm lens. It helps that I’m beginning to ‘see’ in 35mm for the first time in years thanks to starting my Little Chef project with the Zeiss 35/2.8 on a Sony A7r – partly because it’s a retro sort of field of view, typical of the compacts available in the chain’s 1980s heyday, and partly because it’s still my favourite lens for the system in terms of overall ‘feel’.

As well as having this very special lens I’m also lucky enough to live in a vibrant city with some amazing architecture and architectural events. So, when this year’s serpentine pavilion coincided with the launch of the V&A Museum’s new entrance I decided to challenge myself to shoot them both exclusively with the Zeiss PC-Distagon on a relatively new-to-me Canon full frame body.

This session was also the first time I’ve really shot architecture with intent for some time and I enjoyed both the lens and the challenge, though it’s slightly flawed. Having a very short throw between ∞ and 3m is bonkers in a lens that will be primarily used for critical shooting of buildings. Other than that the lens certainly wasn’t a limitation, easily matching the 50 Megapixel sensor of the Eos 5Ds when it was properly focussed and held steady – the latter being key as resolution increases. In all honesty I would place the Zeiss ahead of the Canon 35/2 IS for sharpness but perhaps that is to be expected as the Zeiss lens is designed for critical sharpness and low distortion where the Canon is more of a street shooter. The other issue is that when the PC-Distagon flares it’s not the nicest flare I’ve ever seen – one image in the Serpentine set shows this very clearly.

Architecturally both buildings are superb, although I do think that there is a lack of seating space in this years Serpentine Pavilion as the structure itself doesn’t have the perching places that some of the others have, so it’s not as enjoyable on a busy, sunny day as some of the earlier ones.

First gallery is of the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter, by Amanda Levete Architects and the second Gallery is of the Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Diébédo Francis Kéré…

Gallery One – V&A Exhibition Road Quarter & Entrance.

Gallery Two – 2017 Serpentine Pavilion

Architecture, Books

A Simple Pleasure!

I know it’s been too quiet around here lately, life has caught up with me on a number of levels over the last little while and I’ve just not had the energy to dedicate to photography or blogging. Thankfully we managed a really great holiday in France & Spain over the last couple of weeks. More about the trip and some images will follow but not until I’ve been able to get the film processed, as I shot entirely with my Contax 159MM & a few of my Zeiss lenses.

We got back yesterday evening and while Mooching around in Artwords Bookshop on Broadway Market I found myself looking at the familiar to me cover of the book Designed for the Future: 80 Practical Ideas for a Sustainable World, on page 117 of which rests the image below… Taken with a very un-Contax Canon Eos 1Ds and 17mm TS-E with a fair bit of shift on.




A view of Edinburgh Castle on the 1st of January 2015. This was the day after my 5th wedding anniversary, which we decided to spend in Scotland as we got married on Hogmany 2009.

For 2015 I am planning to start the whole photo 365 thing again, I managed it for a while last year but it tapered off as the year went on. One thing I can promise is that the updates won’t be daily, even if the shots are…Fireworks_1800

Architecture, Books, Exhibitions

On Photography and Money

I just had a request, via flickr, for the image that heads up this page to be used in an academic book. It is, of course unpaid usage with a credit. I’m accepting as I like to get my ego stroked as much as the next guy and it’s an image where any number of similar shots can be found, so it might as well be my image as someone else’s.

Mind you, I would love it if – just for once – there was a suggestion of Payment in an image use request. After all, I paid handsomely for the 1Ds and the Canon 17mm TS-E shift lens and travel to make those images. It seems the only way I can bring money in is via print sales, but that’s tricky too as people are kinda resistant to buying photographs. Sure I’ve exhibited and sold my work but for an unknown to put on a full scale exhibition, even in the cheapest gallery space, you maybe cover venue, printing, framing flyer and private view costs…

I guess my problems are small beer compared to those facing guys who make a living from this, with their day rates being constantly undercut. Also Digital has taken the quality of everyone’s snapshots to a different level (I know my images are much better now). It makes sense that so many are moving into videos as it absolutely requires better understanding of lighting, storytelling and camera skills than most people are willing to learn.

I guess I’m lucky to be able to make images for the love of it underpinned by a day job with a good salary.

Media-tic, Barcelona

Media-tic, Barcelona


Cuban’s – 15 images

Just for fun, and since Ming Thein’s latest post reminded me of my own trip to Cuba, I’m posting some of my shots from a Light & Land workshop I did in there a few years back… I exhibited these couple of years back and made a couple of print sales too.

For the record, I took an Eos 1Ds and the Holy Trinity of Canon L glass. If I did the same trip I reckon that about 75% of it could be done with the Zeiss FE 35 & 55, supplemented by a 135 and my 24mm TS-E.

Cuba 15 5441267985

Cuba 14 5441871796

Cuba 13 5441872076

Cuba 12 5441268887

Cuba 10 5441269357

Cuba 11 5441872722

Cuba 09 5441873270

Cuba 08 5441873522

Cuba 07 5441270151

Cuba 06 5441270337

Cuba 05 5441874246

Cuba 04 5441270871

Cuba 03 5441271149

Cuba 02 5441874962

Cuba 01 5441875248