Schneider-Kreuznach Retina Xenon 50mm f1.9

I love the Schneider Xenon lens on my Retina IIc so when I came across this article My Favorite Lenses – Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon 50mm f1.9 DKL on the Lens Bubbles site it was something I started keep my eye open for. Eventually I found this one at a reasonable prize and picked up a DKL-Sony E mount adapter (so that I could use it on my Sony NEX 5n).

It’s a fairly low contrast lens, with the kind of color rendition I liked from my Retina IIc. It’s also a solid, well built and rather heavy piece of equipment and of course the adapter adds a fair bit to the size (in the picture the silver part is the lens, and the black part the adapter).

I must admit that I found it rather frustrating at first. I had some difficulty getting it to focus correctly. With these adapted vintage lenses I usually focus wide open and use focusing aids such as focus peaking and focus magnification. That didn’t seem to work with this one and I suspect that it’s because of its low contrast nature. Instead I had to stop the lens down, focus and then return to whatever aperture I needed.

It’s certainly a very sharp lens, even wide open.

One interesting feature is the red “ears”, which move as you change aperture to indicate depth of field.

Incipient blackberries.


Planters in our garden.

One other post also featured this lens: Chimney in the Woods.

Chimney in the Woods

If you walk in the woods around where I live you from time to time come across ruins, but it’s still always a bit of a surprise. I came across this chimney (with fireplace) just off the trail on Oscawana Island. I have no idea what it once was, and have been unable to find any additional information. Since the Island is directly opposite Oscawana Park (the old McAndrews estate with its numerous ruins) I imagine in might be connected to that.

The graffiti is a bit better than I usually come across (see: Croton Gorge – Why do they do this?), but it’s certainly not in the class of the graffiti I came across in Geneva (see: Geneva – Route de Drize, Graffiti)

St. Philip’s Church in the Highlands, Garrison

Yet another film photograph. I’ve always loved this church – largely because it doesn’t really seem to belong in the US. I’ve seen so many like it in my own country (the UK) that seeing this one really makes me feel at home, and a little nostalgic. In fact the church resembles, to a certain extent, St. Mary’s church in Sandbach, where I grew up.

This one has a rich history. According to Wikipedia:

The church was originally established ca. 1770 when St. Peter’s Church in Peekskill was granted charter by King George III. The wardens, Beverley Robinson and Charles Moore, decided to establish a parish to the north, in the area known as Four Corners, to serve families in that area. After a short period in another church and a parishioner’s home, a small wooden chapel was built where the present church stands. The current graveyard was also started at the same time. The new complex was possibly named St. Philip’s in honor of the Philipse family, original patentees of the area and Robinson’s in-laws.

The Rev. John Doty, the first rector of both churches, left for Nova Scotia after a few years as he was a staunch Loyalist in an area increasingly divided over revolutionary politics. Robinson, too, declined an invitation from his friend John Jay to swear allegiance to the newly created United States, and actively worked to support the British by organizing the Loyal American Legion and coordinating intelligence-gathering efforts. His lands and home were eventually confiscated by the new government of New York, and he left for England after the war, never to return.

A similar fate would befall half of St. Philip’s families, and the church was so despised locally for its Tory associations that legend has it a mob came together to burn it down at one point during the later years. They were supposedly dissuaded from doing so by George Washington himself, who stood at the door and said “That, sir, is my church!” In gratitude the stained glass window in the church’s vestibule depicts him.

A new pastor, the Rev. Charles Frederick Hoffman, arrived in May 1860. The completion of the Hudson River Railroad through nearby Garrison Landing had made the community more accessible to New York City and a desirable place to live for some of the most socially prominent families of the day, many of whom were congregants. Hoffman saw that the growing church needed a new building.

His congregation responded. Henry Belcher donated three acres (1.2 ha) for the building and grounds, and others raised $10,000 for its construction. The design came from another worshipper at St. Philip’s, Richard Upjohn, already famous for Manhattan’s Trinity Church. The new structure, a one-story Gothic Revival building of gray granite, was finished in 1861 and consecrated the next year.

In the decades afterwards, a carriage house and shed were built near the church. At the turn of the century, a parish house was built.

The picture was taken with a Fed 2 rangefinder camera and Fed 50mm f3.5 collapsible lens (based on the Leitz Elmar). I believe the film was Kodak Gold 400.

For a more complete history of St. Philips Church see (in a variety of different formats) History of St. Philip’s church in the Highlands, Garrison, New York, including, up to 1840, St. Peter’s church on the manor of Cortlandt by Chorley, E. Clowes (Edward Clowes), 1865-1949

Tarrytown Reservoir

As I recall this was taken in the early days of my camera collecting (September, 2011 I think) with a Zorki 4 rangefinder camera and a 50mm f/2 Jupiter-8 Former Soviet Union lens – one of the earlier chrome models. I believe the film used was Kodak T-MAX 400, but I’m not entirely sure. I believe this to be so because I have a note saying that it is. However, it doesn’t look to me like a picture taken with a Jupiter-8. It looks to me more like the other lens I was using around that time: an Industar 61.

A recent visitor to our garden

A type of woodpecker: a northern flicker. Specifically (if I’m not mistaken, which I might well be) a yellow-shafted flicker (Colaptes auratus auratus). So if it’s a woodpecker why is it chewing up our patio rather than pecking wood? Grab a worm on the patio or bang your head against a tree? I guess it’s an easy choice.

As usual when I’m taken by surprise or my subject is moving I messed this up. When I noticed the bird I grabbed the nearest camera, which happened to my Sony Alpha 500 with Tamron A18 AF 18-250mm f3.5-6.3. Without thinking I zoomed in to the fullest extent not thinking that it as was relatively dark outside and that the combination of large aperture combined with large lens meant that that pictures were certainly going to suffer from blur resulting from the slow shutter speed selected and my inability to hand hold the lens at that speed.

This is why I don’t do more wildlife photography. Still better than nothing though. I’ve never seen one of these before.