Testing New Lens: Rokinon 14mm f/2.8

Last week my new lens arrived from B&H Photo: a Rokinon 14mm f/2.8  super wide-angle. My primary use for this lens will be for astro-landscape photography, star-trails, and traditional landscapes here in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. I’ve been eying this lens for a number of years since my astrophotography mentor, Wilson, started using this sweet lens.

But, our weather here in the Northwest hasn’t been too cooperative, with below zero chill factors and overcast skies filled with snow, so I haven’t ventured into the mountains our out onto the Snake River Plain. Instead, I

stayed indoors and the other day ventured into my colleague’s visual communication experimental letterpress lab. I’ve always been fascinated with metal and wood type and she has some really neat large displays of type in her lab. Here’s a diptych shot under available light with my Nikon D800 with the Rokinon 14mm super wide-angle lens. Enjoy!

Letterpress type in ISU's Visual Communication Experimental Labe. © 2013 Terry Ownby.

Letterpress type in ISU‘s Visual Communication Experimental Lab. © 2013 Terry Ownby.

Independence in Black and White

Earlier this summer I went on a photo shooting trip to Independence, Missouri with Dr. Tom Mitchell’s editorial photo class. Every time I visit the town square, I feel as though I’m in time warp back to the 1950s. And, it always feels like Black and White! Here’s a few B&Ws from that outing that visually express the nostalgia I feel for that locale.

© 2012 Terry Ownby

© 2012 Terry Ownby

© 2012 Terry Ownby

© 2012 Terry Ownby

Additional views of Haghia Sophia and the Blue Mosque

Situated in the beautiful Sultanahmet Square (Sultanahmet Meydani) about 300 meters apart the Haghia Sophia and the Blue Mosque face each other. Both structures are historical-cultural gems within Istanbul. The Blue Mosque dates back to the 17th century, while the Haghia Sophia has its first construction date during the 5th century. Adjacent to these architectural  wonders is the remnants of the Hippodrome, which was once a huge stadium in the heart of the Constantinople. This was originally built during the 3rd century and after Emperor Constantine enlarged it, the stadium was reported to hold up 100,000 spectators.

Here are a few more photos depicting various views of the Haghia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

Interior view of the nave looking up towards central dome. Included are mosaics of seraphims and Islamic calligraphic roundels. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Looking up at the central dome of the Haghia Sophia (Church of Divine Wisdom). In addition to beautiful tile-work, frescoes of the “seraphim” angels can be seen along with gold Islamic calligraphy in dome center after conversion by Ottomans during 15th century. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Mosaic of the Virgin and Child with gold gilting in dome above the mihrab ( a niche that faces Mecca). © 2012 Terry Ownby.

This is a detailed view of the dome above the mihrab, which has the image of the Virgin Mary and Christ Child. This is either a fresco or a mosaic (it appears to be made of small tiles, suggesting a mosaic). © 2012 Terry Ownby.

This view was taken from the first upper level and shows intricate tile-work in the domes, along with a mosaic of an angel in the distance. © 2012 Terry Ownby

Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahment Camii) with Turkish pennants in Istanbul, Turkey. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Blue Mosque courtyard with visitors qued for tour, Istanbul, Turkey. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Interior view of Blue Mosque showing Iznik Turkish tilework, Istanbul, Turkey. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

Blue Mosque interior view with chandelier and Iznik blue tiles. Istanbul, Turkey. © 2012 Terry Ownby.

New York City: Spring Break

For a number of years, a colleague from the Art Department has encouraged me to join him with some of our photography students on his annual trip to New York City during our spring break. This year I finally had time to take him up on his offer. We started recruiting students during the fall semester and when our trip began, we had 14 students (9 were photography majors). It was a five day/four night trip and we were based in mid-town Manhattan, just a couple of blocks south of Central Park.

Using the subway system allowed us to easily navigate from the Upper West Side to Brooklyn. Times Square was visited a few times in the evening for great photo ops. We also did the typical tourist activities, such as going up the Empire State Building, standing in the center of the Grand Central Terminal, visiting the 911 Memorial, and dining in Chinatown and Little Italy. Since I’m a food photographer (and foodie!), sampling international fare was on my list of quests. I managed to sample Irish, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, and Turkish cuisine that would be impossible to find locally. The Spanish tapas and seafood paella in Greenwich Village at the Spain Restaurant and Bar were by far my favorite indulgence!

From a photographic standpoint, we saw lots of great images, both historical and contemporary at venues such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art, the NYC Public Library, and the International Center for Photography.  Names such as Frith, Baldus, and Atget were some of the more historical work viewed, while Weegee and Grey Villet helped transition to more contemporary imagery, which included Cindy Sherman, Greg Girard, and Francesca Woodman.

Below are a few of my favorites from the trip, enjoy!

Lower Manhattan in the fog.

Some of my students outside the Met.

Shopkeeper and his market in Chinatown.

"Christmas Story" relived!

Fog moving in on the Empire State Building.

Midtown Manhattan with the Hudson River.

Lower Manhattan at sunset.

A quiet moment at the NYC Public Library.

The 911 Memorial fountains at dusk.

Chasing light…

Yesterday was cold, cloudy, and foggy. It’s day’s like that which provide great light and it’s usually incredibily soft. This kind of light is great when it comes through windows of old houses like the one I live in. I love the way it bounces off doors and walls and gently cascades down the stairs. So when I turned around in my office chair and say the light playing in the hallway, I had to stop what I was doing and pull out the camera to start shooting. I never tire of the way light bounces through old hallways and I’ve been chasing this type of light since my undergrad days back in the early 1980s.

Once I felt I had explored enough of what was happening in the hallway, I stepped down on the stair landing and started shooting out the window that overlooks my neighbor’s old house. Again the soft light and hoarfrost clinging to the trees were photographic delights. Who says you have to travel to far-off exotic locales to create images? One needs to be able to create work close to home because it’s all in our personal vision. The most exotic places on earth aren’t going to give you beautiful images if you have no personal vision and being able to see the light. Ultimately, it all comes back to the light and how we interact with this magical substance. I’ve been chasing light now for 35 years and never tire of the pursuit.

© 2008 Terry Ownby

© 2008 Terry Ownby

© 2008 Terry Ownby

© 2008 Terry Ownby