Lomographer Katie Small, who has previously been featured for her LomoChrome Purple shots and her film souping results, is back today to tell us all about her recent Daguerreotype Achromat Art Lens shots. The Portland, Oregon-based photographer put our lens to the test by shooting it in array of different conditions, from creating color gelled portraits, to concert photography, and natural landscapes.
Let's take a look at her spectrum of shots and hear about her first impressions of the lens.
Hi Katie, welcome back to Lomography Magazine! Can you tell us a bit about what you've been up to since your last feature?
Last month I went to the Sundance Film Festival to write about film premieres and interview filmmakers. Overall that was really humbling and inspiring.
What did you decide to shoot with the Daguerreotype Achromat?
What was your first impression of the lens?
It's hefty! And you have more equipment to carry around with you due to the need to manually set the aperture with a slide plate.
What was your favorite feature of the lens?
I like the soft-focus. It's definitely context dependent but I think it gives a nice dreamy effect.
Do you have a favorite shot taken with the lens?
I like the photo of musician Johnny Franco busking in Downtown Portland – the way the red lights behind him blurred out and the hint of motion with the people walking by in the background. Maybe the focus is a little softer than I would prefer, but it captures a certain feeling.
I also like the photos I took on Sauvie Island, the old tree with the barn in the background and the birdhouse on the mossy tree branch. I set out on this three mile loop, and it was supposed to be sunny, but then suddenly fog rolled in. All of the photos were taken in the first ten minutes, because after that it started pouring rain. I thought the rain might stop and couldn't decide if I should turn around or not so I just kept walking, and I ended up shoving my camera under my coat to try to keep it from getting wet. I had to walk the rest of the three miles like that. By the end I was soaking wet and annoyed, but I guess it was worth it?
Any tips or tricks for first-time shooters of the lens?
It's not very easy to lock focus, and even when you do, the effect will still be very soft. Something to consider when shooting at larger apertures.
Final thoughts on the lens?
Using this lens forces you to slow down. In physically setting an aperture with a slide plate, you lose some flexibility and have to be intentional with your exposure choices because you can't change your aperture as quickly. Slowing down like that in nature was intuitive. But then I tried street photography and photographing live music, and that's not a situation where you have the luxury of going really slow or taking forever to lock focus. So using this lens brings a level of mindfulness into the process that can be very grounding, but the situation should allow for it.
It's a unique design, and the challenge of using an antique-style lens is a fun way to mix things up. 64 mm is a nice focal length for portraits.