Presepju. (Click on the photo for added detail.)
Recently I have been playing around with my dad’s old cameras, cleaning them up, etc. One of these is a Zenit TTL 35mm SLR with a Helios-44M lens. This was my first introduction to SLRs back in the ’80s, and the concept of a camera where you can actually see through the same lens that takes the picture was to me ground-breaking. You can know before you shoot just how the photo will look – including depth of field, and, critically, whether focus was right. Back then cameras were manual focus, and you normally had to guess what focus distance to set. Anyway, this particular lens was basically your standard kit lens, a (prime) 58mm f/2.0 which translated as normal field of view and fast. I found out recently it’s basically a Soviet copy of the Zeiss Biotar design.
It turns out fairly easy and inexpensive to hook this up to my modern Canon camera with a M42 to EF adapter. They also make these with the necessary electronics for focus confirmation. That is, you still need to focus manually but at least the camera will tell you if you’re there. Now I already have a 50mm f/1.4 but that’s mostly used by R. Besides, who can resist fitting a vintage lens if it’s already there?
So I hooked this up the last time we visited R’s parents and took a few photos there. I think this was the first. R’s mum had already decorated for Christmas, and this is the traditional presepju with its nativity scene.
I took this photo handheld as a single exposure. Post processing involved a selective monochrome conversion layer to focus attention on the tiny baby Jesus, and a desaturation layer to reduce saturation in the little colour left.
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