Articles Tagged with: Nikon F5
NASA | Los Angeles Wildfires

Poor LA, burning again.

<i>The Station Fire</i>, mid-morning on Aug. 30

The Station Fire, mid-morning on Aug. 30

From the NASA website:

This image was acquired mid-morning on Aug. 30 by the backward (northward)-viewing camera of the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite. The image is shown in an approximate perspective view at an angle of 46 degrees off of vertical. The area covered by the image is 245 kilometers (152 miles) wide. Several pyrocumulus clouds, created by the Station Fire, are visible above the smoke plumes rising from the San Gabriel Mountains north of Los Angeles in the left-center of the image. Smoke from the Station fire is seen covering the interior valleys along the south side of the San Gabriel Mountains, along with parts of the City of Los Angeles and Orange County, and can be seen drifting for hundreds of kilometers to the east over the Mojave Desert.

Four years ago, I was shooting a wedding in Westlake Village, about an hour north of Los Angeles. The wedding was directly downwind from the raging Simi Valley fire at the time. It was like shooting during the apocalypse with the sky on fire, ash raining down and it was so dark even in the middle of the day, that I had to push all of my film. As a friend said when looking at the photo below,

Where was the reception? In Hell?

Heather & Chris, 2005; Simi Valley wildfire

Heather & Chris, 2005; Simi Valley wildfire; Nikon F5, 35-70mm, Fuji Pro NPZ © Doug Kim

Go into the gaps

Go into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too.
Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn and unlock—more
than a maple—a universe. This is how you spend the afternoon, and
tomorrow morning, and tomorrow afternoon. Spend the afternoon. You
can’t take it with you.

Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Hanoi, Nikon F5, 35-70mm, Agfa APX 400

Hanoi, Nikon F5, 35-70mm, Agfa APX 400 © Doug Kim

Dublin | Valentine Bolger, the Guinness Factory

I was wandering around the Guinness Factory in Dublin, checking out the old side streets and alleys to see if I could catch something. I had been in the factory the week before shooting an event and had made a note to return, because the parts of the compound are still extremely old and charming.

I met this gentleman, Valentine Bolger, in front of the tourists entrance to the factory, charging people to take photos with his old cart horse. His face was a weathered landscape. He had started working for the brewery as a teenager when they still used horses and carts in addition to the river boats to distribute the Guinness. He had been laid off years ago and with Guinness now under foreign ownership and the historic brewery in Dublin probably moving out of the city, he had much to gripe about.

I let him talk, gave him some cigarettes and took some photos of him. He didn’t mind the camera which afforded me a leisurely mini-session with him. His face was unmoving and very stoic, so the challenge became how to compose a shot of him and the amazing lines of his face without it being a straightforward, boring portrait shot, centered, background all bokeh’d out.

The images are below and the one I think is successful is the last which can be clicked on to view it at a higher resolution.







Shot with a Nikon F5, 28-70mm, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Willow Springs Racetrack | Turn Five

I spent two years shooting the club racing circuit in California and it was a challenge for numerous reasons. Technically and aesthetically, road racing shots are incredibly boring: the same shot of a guy on a knee at a turn over and over again. Even at some tracks, the racers complain that the track shooters take exactly the same picture of them at the same turn every year.

I wanted to convey the speed of racing. I picked one of the best turns in SoCal, turn five at Willow Springs racetrack for shooting. The turn comes after a succession of s-curves and is at the top of a hill so that the racers tend to accelerate as they get ready for a downhill s-curve then a big stretch of flat.

I was shooting film and trying for a whip pan effect. I didn’t want to track the racer and have him or her be in focus with the background blurred. I wanted the rider and the background both blurred with the racer and bike an intelligible smear on the frame.

It took several months and many rolls of film to finally nail down the technique which was to have the aperture shut down, almost at f22 in the bright California sun, and to shoot at sub 1/60 shutter speeds. I was also whipping so fast that I would press the shutter when the bike wasn’t even in the frame, then whip the lens right to left, following through so that my lens was almost behind me. There were many, many blurred empty frames until I started getting my timing right.

I must say after all of this effort, I think I finally created an image that conveys the sense of speed of road racing.

Nikon F5, 80-200mm, Kodak Tri-x

Nikon F5, 80-200mm, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim


This is one of those shots that when I saw the proof sheet, it was exactly how I visualized the image when i took it on the street. Film’s delayed visual response means continual surprises, good and bad, which is such a vital part of the process.

Cartier-Bresson said that his proof sheets contain such garbage that he would not show them to anyone. Ansel Adams would speak of finishing the day’s work, carrying his gear back to his car on a four hour hike, wondering if he managed to get anything.

It is an image that does not get a very big response from people that have seen it, yet it remains a favorite.

Galway, Ireland, Nikon F5, 35-70mm, Tri-X

Galway, Ireland, Nikon F5, 35-70mm, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Raining in Dublin

I had been walking and shooting all day when the gloomy heavy sky finally turned into a downpour. I was tired and the streets were emptying so there was less incentive for me to stay out shooting. As I headed back to my hostel, I passed this apartment on Lower Camden St., with this guy holding a pot out in the rain, trying to fill it with water.

I took their photo and we all burst out laughing. It is not a great image by any means and that day was not very productive, but I still smile when I look at this shot.

raining in dublin, Nikon F5, 35-70mm, Tri-X

Raining in Dublin, Nikon F5, 35-70mm, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim