In part 2 of our look at this Iwerks Omnimax huge wide angle lens we paired it with the medium format Fujifilm GFX 100 camera. See the cool results shooting street portraits at the Grand Central Market in Los Angeles. Jay P explains more about the lens. Check out what we got for our final images!
Hi, this is Jay P. Morgan. Today on The Slanted Lens I’m down here at Grand Central Market. And I’ve got my super wide Iwerks lens f/2. I’m going to do some portraits down here of the different vendors and their stores. But I also learned a lot about this lens since the last time I did a lesson.
I’m going to talk all about the things that I’ve learned and exactly how this lens was used. And really what its main purpose was. It’s supposed to project light out of the lens, but I’m going to be taking the light that comes into the lens and capture the image into the GFX 100. The GFX 100 gives you a fabulous sensor size, a large sensor. So I see a complete centric circle there, it really is a 180. So let’s go shoot some portraits in the Grand Central Market.
Most of the information I have here is from Don Iwerks himself working with Kurt Swiska. Kurt saw the video and they talked together and figured out exactly what lens this was. They’re all as surprised as I am that I have it. They said, “how in the world did he get ahold of that?” I got it from a lot sale when Iwerks left Burbank.
So there’s a couple of things that they taught me about the lens. First off, it’s called an 870 format, meaning that 70 millimeter print film with a frame size of eight perforations, that’s eight perforations up the side.
It’s an f/2.0 lens, which means it’s going to have very shallow depth of field. But it’s in that one plane that matches exactly the cinema dome where it was projected. It’s 180mm x 160mm focal length.
That indicates it’s asymmetrical not variable. And also it was used to project the image wider rather than taller.
So that’s a lot of fun facts about this lens. But you know, what’s fun about this lens to me, is just taking really weird pictures with it and great portraits. So let’s take a look some of those portraits.
While I’m doing this kind of run and gun portraiture, I love a light on the stand, I use the LitraStudio light.
And I can just take this and I just barely kind of feather it to get a little light on the face. I don’t want to light this too directional. That’s too much shadow. Or sometimes I’ll just go straight in as close to the camera as I can with the light. And just coming up over the camera is going to give me a nicer look at their face. And I turn it way down. So it’s just a nice soft light on their face. So just something to take with you. If you don’t have that everything’s just a little too dense and too dark. But you don’t want to feel like everything is harshly lit either.
Don’t be afraid to ask people if you can photograph them. Most people really want you to photograph them. Most people are pretty excited about it. So don’t be afraid to say, “Hey, can I take your picture?” Carry some business cards so you can give them a card. They can then reach out to you or you can get their number to be able to give them the prints of the images that makes it worth their time.
But just don’t be afraid to ask people. It’s super important just to be open and fun and ask and most people are going to say yes.
When I’m shooting a portrait of somebody and I have a little bit of time with them, I like to ask them some simple questions. Especially if I don’t want other people to hear the question. I’ll ask them something like, “Is there somebody you really like in your life? I want you to think about that, as I take a few pictures. I want you to look in the camera, as if you’re looking at this person that you really appreciate, that you really like or that you love.”
There’s a moment right after you say something like that to someone that they kind of open up for a moment. They become a little bit more vulnerable. And it’s an interesting journey for people. They stop thinking about who they are, or where they’re at and what’s going on around them. And they start giving you a little more about them. It’s a great thing to watch.
So this has been a lot of fun. We’ve shot here at the Grand Central Market for most of the afternoon. It’s been fabulous to be able to be here, kind of noisy tonight as everyone’s wrapping up and going home.
But a couple of things I learned in this process. I do love shooting with this lens for a couple reasons. I get that huge wide angle of view, which is fabulous. I love that and it gives me an in context view of the person. In context to see their entire world all around them.
But also it’s a great kind of icebreaker. As I go to take someone’s portrait with that big lens they go, “Whoa!” and I say, “Can I take your picture?” They’re always into that thought. I try to be excited and energetic.
And say, “Come on, we can get some fabulous pictures.” Most everyone says yes. They just they respond to that if you keep them going and keep the energy up.
So I hope you learned some things. We talked about the lens and the origin. Don’t be surprised to see this lens again. It’s going to come up again. There’s no doubt about it. I’ll shoot it again, but probably on a different camera just to see exactly what it looks like.
So I hope you enjoyed this. Make sure you subscribe here. Leave a comment on our YouTube channel. I hope you learned some things about the lens and a little bit about portraits. So keep those cameras rollin’, keep on clickin’.