Eyes wide open

Bike Path, O’Neill Park copyright 2022 Douglas Stockdale –

Today I have a new-to-me (slightly used) 28mm f/1.8 Canon lens for my 5DMk3, which I took on my walk this morning to look again at the decommissioned WWII/Korean War landscape I live on. For a number of reasons.

For my project Gardening for Ordnance, I have been primarily working with expired 120mm film in my Hasselblad. What I don’t current own is a 50mm Distagon, which would creates a very similar visualization as a 28mm lens on a full frame DSLR like my 5DMk3. Thus, I wanted to see if investing in a wide angle lens for this project would make sense, and this Canon lens is currently about half the price of a very old 50mm Distagon.

Plus, I wanted a prime lens of this focal length for my DSLR, so for me, this was a win-win. One thing that I did wax back and forth about whether to invest in the older Canon DSLR camera platform, versus the whole idea of chasing the latest and greatest mirrorless systems. Regretfully, duplicating the mirrorless equipment for what I currently use is beyond my budget, so since I really do not need to have a mirrorless camera right now I can continue to make minor investments in the 5DMk3 system, which just seems to make economic sense to me. Btw, looking back to my earlier 35mm film days, a 28mm lens was my first additional lens that I had purchased, which I think was a Vivitar probably about an f/2.8, so a I have a bit of experience with this prime lens focal length. Since I did not fancy myself as a street photographer, I did not want to buy a 35mm focal length, which was ‘the’ idea focal length for street photography being touted at the time. Maybe still is…while for me, the 28mm focal length provides a wider vision that correlates with what I can see that seems to include my peripheral vision. Going a bit wider, say a 24mm lens, then I start to encounter more issues with distortion. Thus, the 28mm for me is a sweet lens that enables me to see (& photograph) a more expansive landscape, and probably looking at the image above, it may not be very evident that this was created with a 28mm lens.

Regarding this lens, I think it is a potential winner, with some caveats. For my first photographic check with the new lens regretfully indicated that it too has the all too common issue of this particular lens with slight corner softness when using it wide-open. Stopping the lens down to f/6 seemed to cure this issue. Alternatively, when needing to photograph at a wide open aperture of f/1.8, a slight cropping of the image by nicking off the soft corners works as the center of the lens is really tack sharp at that wide open aperture.

One other aspect that I was evaluating with this photograph are the parallels of this decommissioned military site with the mental health condition related to anxiety. When this bike path was being constructed in the O’Neill Wilderness Park in 2003, the construction crews kept digging up WWII bombs and Korean War practice rockets, which caused them to halt the project until someone with metal detecting equipment could clear the area of the ordnance. Looking at this photograph, one might not detect the underlying angst and issues related to old buried military ordnance, much like looking at someone and not realizing that they are dealing with anxiety. On the surface, it all looks normal. The only potential clue is the warning sign on the side of the pathway lurking in the shadows. Likewise, many of the warning signs for anxiety are also lurking in the shadows and not very evident.

Cheers & make every day an Earth Day



Pre-publication SaleThe Flow of Light Brushes the Shadow, an artist book from Singular Images Press, the artist book is $50.00 USD (regularly $60.00) & the Artist Special Edition (book + print) $100.00 USD (regularly $125.00), plus CA taxes for US sales and shipping. This special price ends in July. Message me, doug@douglasstockdale.com or singularimagespress@gmail for shipping details and PayPal invoice.

Call for artwork:

SouthEast Center of Photography (SEC4P) open call for the exhibition The Green Environment, being juried by Douglas Stockdale. Submissions are now open and Submissions Close 7/31/22. For more information about the exhibition, here.

Book workshop:

Southeast Center for Photography (SEC4P): Creative PhotoBook workshop (Sold Out), a virtual event on Zoom; November 5 & 6 and 12 & 13, 2022, 10am – 1pm, EST (3 hour session each day, with a week between the weekend sessions to work your book-dummy). Wait list available for sign-up.


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