On Phenomenon and Lens Flare

After college, my first full time reporting job was with a school of metaphysics.

The responsibilities included covering the various classes, putting together a monthly magazine, and serving as staff photographer. Since I had been shooting for years already, I was most excited about being the camera guy.

The school had an SLR with a kit zoom that I could use. It was fine, but I'm picky about my gear. So I opted for my Contax 139Q with three Zeiss lenses: 35mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.7, and 135mm f/2.8. I loved that camera and the images I could produce with it.

There were two co-founders for this operation. One, a photography enthusiast himself, loved my work. He used to tap on the darkroom door when I was printing and visit with me while the images came to life in the developing tray. 

He would say, "I love the blacks in your prints."

The other founder wasn't so much of a fan. She was more of the mystical type and believed that metaphysical phenomenon was part of daily life. Her favorite pictures weren't mine. Instead she loved streaks of white light cutting through the frame. For her, those images proved the presence of energy.

This all came to a head when they were planning a tour to Egypt. I had never traveled there, and so wanted to see the pyramids. I was left behind in favor of another who shot with an inexpensive point and shoot camera.

My inability to capture phenomenon cost me the trip of a lifetime. Actually, my lens shades and optics with Zeiss T* multicoating were the culprits. 

I learned two lessons that year. First, know your audience. And second:

The perfect shot isn't always the best one.