Something Fishy

Years ago I got something called a “fisheye converter” for one if my lenses. It fit right onto the end of my kit lens and I really enjoyed using it. I would shoot lots of architecture and landscapes with horizon lines. It was limited by the mediocre speed of my kit lens – and as I acquired faster lenses it fell out of the rotation for me. I was just a cool novelty. A couple of years ago I passed it on to someone starting out with the same system. I forgot all about that lens and moved on to primes and lenses that had a wider use.


I hadn’t even considered wanting a fisheye again until I saw that Olympus had a sale on their 8mm f1.8 Pro late last year. I have been experimenting with night sky photography and thought that a fisheye might be a good addition to my kit.


What I hadn’t counted on where the many interesting things I could do with this lens. It has become a regular part of my kit. I take it everywhere. I shoot all kinds of things with it. It lets me change the way I see things.


Shutterbug Notes: You can control the amount of curve in your images by shooting close for more curve and further for less curve. You also can exaggerate the direction of a curve by shooting above or below it, to the left or the right if it. Using a fisheye lets you tell the viewer what you want them to see by curving around it or curving the subject itself – like shooting shallow DOF it lets you choose what stops the viewers’ eye. 

Chicago Curves

I have been to Chicago dozens of times. I often fly into Midway and get a car to drive to Grand Rapids for work. I’ve been to meetings downtown occasionally. What I had never done was explore this city without a work agenda. Recently I got the chance to do just that.

Chicago is a city of “broad shoulders” – it’s very angular, but every now and then it throws you a curve. With its sweeping heights and narrow vistas, it was the perfect opportunity to play with my fisheye and to do some night shooting with my fast 50.

Looking down LaSalle canyon at the Chicago Board of Trade Building – a 1930’s icon.

A fisheye view from under the canopy of the L.

One Way up LaSalle canyon.

The Rookery Building – Chicago’s oldest standing high rise, complete with a Frank Lloyd Wright designed lobby.


Bronze doors on the Northern Trust Building – circa 1905

A southern view of the city from the 103rd floor of the Sears Tower. Sorry, I just cannot call it by any other name than the Sears Tower.

A look down LaSalle

The W on Adams – a wonderful hotel with fresh caramel brownies in the lobby.

The Loop was undergoing renovations so this is the spot they dumped us to catch a shuttle. Still, an interesting vista.

Hamsters in the sky on the side of the Sears Tower.

The 112 Ladder and Truck in North Center

A classic Italian restaurant in the theater district.

A curve on the L

I couldn’t manage a visit to the city without finding something wild. A bird against the skyline for good measure.

The Snake Dog and the Great Flood

Yesterday was a productive one. The sun came out and I had daylight hours to tackle the great basement flood. The warm sunshine warmed my mood. There was much to be optimistic about, first and most importantly, my cellar was filled with rainwater, not sewage. I had the loan of a couple of different types of sump pumps, I had some cute rain boots from Eddie Bauer that I got for Christmas, and I had a friend coming by to help in a few hours. Things were looking up.20130203-131357.jpgThese boots made my smile, I felt like the Morton Salt girl on a sunny day with a sump pump. It’s amazing to see how much the clover is greening up already. 20130203-131426.jpgAs I watched the water flow I thought about the view back to the house. I ran inside to get my fisheye lens. I noticed that I had someone watching me.20130203-131528.jpgKirby doesn’t usually like to be photographed, he typically sees a camera and hides on the other side of the house. But something about the sump pump process intrigued him. Perhaps it was that I had a giant blue snake running across the lawn.20130203-131700.jpgKirby is the boss of the yard, and it’s his job to keep everyone safe from snakes. Since we live in the woods we get a few that invade the lawn in late summer and Kirby dispatches them all. The first summer he lived here he was bitten on the tongue by a copperhead and it was scary. Copperheads are not typically lethal, but a swollen tongue could compromise his airway. You would think that this would have put the fear of snakes into the boy, but no dice.20130203-131732.jpgSince that first encounter, Kirby has taken charge of the snake population on the mountain. Over the years he has been bitten about 10 times. I keep Benadryl and baby aspirin on hand as well as some antibiotics the vet gave me. One time I heard Kirby’s distinctive “snake bark” and headed outside it make sure he was ok. He had copperhead about 4 feet long in his mouth and was running laps around the lawn, he was letting all the other snakes in the woods know who was boss. I worried that he may have been bitten so I managed to lure him over with cheese laced with Benadryl. He snapped it up and went back to the dead reptile and continued his laps. After 10 minutes he fell asleep. I disposed of his trophy and took him into the house.20130203-131854.jpgI discovered that he had not been bitten, that was two summers ago and he has not been bitten since then either. Last year he dispatched at least 10 snakes that I know of. He’s a beast.20130203-131916.jpgHe’s also a slob. I think he’s like the character Pig Pen from Peanuts. He can come home from the groomer looking all white and fluffy, a silky joy to pet. Within minutes he will have rolled in the leaves or pine tar or something slimy and he is as much fun to pet as a tumble weed.20130203-132014.jpgStill, he makes me feel safe, what other 15 pound being can do that. I know he has it handled. He would never let a snake get anywhere near me. The other dogs know he will handle the situation. He is the Snake Killer, he is Kirby.

20130203-135237.jpgYou cannot deny his majesty. He is the king of all he surveys – within the confines of the radio fence. I was glad he was standing by yesterday to keep me safe from that big blue snake.

What’s in my Kit – What’s in your Kit?

I’ve been building my kit for about 3-4 years. The more I shoot the more I know what I still need. I’m fascinated by the mechanical nature of vintage equipment and I think my kit shows that – what’s in your kit?

What’s in my Kit.

via What’s in my Kit.