When I went up to Vermont in April with Erica Jay and Nadine Stevens to attend the reception for the “Skin” exhibition, I also did a photo session with them one morning. One of the things I did in that session was to try out the 35mm fisheye lens that I had bought for my Pentax 67 camera a few months before.
This wasn’t the first time that I used the lens. Shortly after receiving it, I put a roll through the camera with it on a stroll around my neighborhood. The lens seemed to work fine, but I wanted to use it now for something that was more than just a test. Of the six rolls of 120 film that I used that morning in Vermont, three were with the fisheye.
Here you can see some of the results. This lens is a full frame fisheye. It yields a rectangular image, not a circular one. Should it really be called a fisheye? Well, to approximate the equivalent focal length of a 6×7 cm lens in 35mm format, one should take the focal length and divide it in two. Therefore, divide the 35mm focal length of the lens (not to be confused with the 35mm camera format) by two and you get an equivalent 35mm format focal length of about 17 mm. I guess that can be considered a fisheye.
Sometimes the results didn’t feel like it was something from a fisheye, with the expected bent, curved and bowed lines. That’s because those bent lines didn’t seem to be there. Typically with such things, objects in the center of the frame aren’t distorted but those closer to the edges are. Indeed, we can definitely see that in the second photo, with the trees at the top definitely bent inwards.
The other two photos may have some distortion, but perhaps because of the way the images are composed, they just don’t seem that way, although the wide angle effect is evident.
Either way, I hope to use this lens in a judicious way – not for the sake of doing something that looks weird or different in some way, but to help extend the ways I can put my photographic and artistic vision on film.
(What I can’t figure out, though, is how the baseball cap I was wearing in photo #3 turned into something resembling Darth Vader’s helmet when it became a shadow.)
About Dave Rudin
Dave Rudin is a fine art photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. He specializes in art nude and travel photography, using black & white film and making silver gelatin prints in a darkroom.