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24 April 2019

It was 82 degrees when we wrote this in the cool studio off the garden which we refer to affectionately as the bunker. That's about 20 degrees warmer than it has been around here.

Morning Light. Olympus E-PL1 capture at 1/100 second, ISO 320 and f8 on a Nikkor 43-86mm f3.5 zoom.

We knew it was coming, this blast of hot weather, so we got out of bed yesterday morning at 6:30, grabbed a camera and peeked out the window. We saw the gated community of luxury units on the hill behind us lit by the morning sun.

In our hands was the Olympus E-PL1 with a LensBaby Tilt Transformer coupled to a Nikkor 43-86mm f3.5 zoom. That particular lens has to be over 40 years old now. It was introduced in 1963 and sold through 1981, a best seller.

We learned a lot more about this lens with a quick Internet search than we did when we bought it years ago. In addition to the history of its development which confirmed we had a later edition, we even found a teardown and repair guide.

We picked it up used in the early 1980s. You can find one now for $60.

We used it on an Nikon FM2 for press assignments. It was wide enough for group shots and long enough to catch speakers at the podium, saving us from swapping primes.

It's not our favorite lens on our digital bodies because with 11 lens elements in 8 groups, it weighs 14.5 oz. But it's a great focal range and for Micro Four Thirds it starts from where the 14-42mm kit lenses end, its 43-86mm range providing the 35mm equivalent of 86-172mm.

And, in our case, it's now image stabilized, thanks to the E-PL1. Which makes that slow f3.5 aperture much more livable.

As we lined up the shot, we thought of those Painted Ladies of San Francisco, also known as Postcard Row or the Seven Sisters. No doubt you're familiar with photos of that row of colorful Victorian houses lined up at 710 to 720 Steiner St. on Alamo Square.

This isn't them, of course. Not even a distant relation, really. Instead of downtown as a background, there are Eucalyptus trees. Instead of quaint Victorian architecture, there's just multi-million dollar row housing painted earth colors.

It shouldn't be beautiful. But it was.

The cool shadow tones in the lower right are abruptly interrupted by the glow of morning. We only had to straighten the image and remove a few utility lines that looked like scratches.

It seemed to promise a better day. And who couldn't use that?

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