Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

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Now That’s True Vintage

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Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII

This is Desirae. She’s a friend, a fellow blogger, and an expert on all things vintage. Met her today out among the rolling hills of San Francisco to do a brief one-hour photo shoot. Seeing her step out of her front door immediately blasted me straight into the 1950’s. With perfect afternoon weather and a gorgeous model to work with, I was feeling pretty good about the shoot right from the start.


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII

Desirae’s outfit is remarkable, not only because of its 1950’s styling, but because everything she has on is truly vintage, as in made 60+ years ago. Even her stockings are true vintage. Seriously, she’s that good!


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII

We originally planned to head to some specific and well known places in the city, but since we only had an hour to work with, we decided to just explore her own neighborhood on foot and make images along the way. Since I JUST finished this shoot only hours ago, I’ll need some time to process the images, but here’s a brief sampling from the time we spent together. Enjoy!


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VRII

On a side note, I used my new 24-120 f/4 VR for most of the shoot and was so very impressed by its performance. The images from it have such great contrast and the range was perfect for both wide and tight portraiture.

As I mentioned, Desirae is an avid blogger with a truly interesting site called Ruby’s Rose. The blog is a fictitious diary of a girl living in the 1950s, and it strictly adheres to events that occurred during that decade in real time. It’s really fascinating, so check it out at rubysrose.blogspot.com

Also, see more images from the shoot on my gallery page at www.jonathanflemingphotography.com!

Neco Tabi, By Akane Ono

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Nikon D300s + Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 Micro at f/4.0, ISO 500 1/60 Second

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 Micro at f/4.0, ISO 500 1/60 Second

Yesterday I received a meticulously wrapped package from Japan in the mail: a pair of photo books that I purchased from Akane Ono, a very talented photographer I know through Flickr. Akane is primarily a chemical (film) shooter, which in itself impresses me a lot because I haven’t touched film in more than a decade and I think I’d be afraid to try it again! The kind of look that can achieved with film, however, can have a very organic and grainy feel that is often very difficult if not impossible to replicate digitally. She seems to do an immense amount of travel, as her photo books present images from places like Bangkok, Osaka, Tunisia, Taipei, Cebu, Hong Kong, and Santorini, to name a few. Yet her style is very cohesive, and she has a very distinct and focused point of view as a photographer. Why?

Because, as she describes in her Neco Tabi #1 photo book, despite the beautiful surroundings and interesting, new people she encounters in her travels, she finds herself drawn to the local cats that roam the streets of the beautiful destinations she finds herself in. The resulting photography is a wonderful collection of beautiful images of fascinating environments that just happen to have cats in them!

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 Micro at f/3.0, ISO320, 1/80 Second

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 Micro at f/3.0, ISO320, 1/80 Second

As I flip through the pages of Neco Tabi #1 and #2 (both for sale on Akane’s Website), it amazes me that the street scenes and landscapes she captures would be very pretty even if they didn’t feature little feline critters, and so it boggles me how she is able to create these fantastic compositions AND make sure there are also cats in each shot. That’s what I call artistic vision. I often hear that it’s a great creative exercise to give yourself photographic assignments that focus on something specific, as it can enhance your creativity. It seems that because of her specific dedication to meeting new feline friends in different parts of the world, Akane has simply developed a natural ability to interact with and photograph these creatures in a very creative and sort of photo-journalistic way.

I can’t get within 15 feet of a cat in the city without it scurrying away. How she manages to get so close to these animals without them bolting off, and snap photos of these creatures with what seems like their full cooperation…another mystery. But my favorite thing about the Neco Tabi series is that I really do feel like I’m getting a taste of what it’s like in all of these other countries, and I’m doing it from a cat’s eye view!

I think my favorite photo among all the others in both books would have to be a shot of a brightly lit, old and weathered alley in Tunis. Taken from a low angle, you see a small, wheeled cart and a cardboard box sitting on top of a battered brick floor. Right in the middle of the alley sits a small white cat with a blank look on its face, staring right at the camera. Cute! But as you let your eyes move from the white cat and over to the right of the frame, you see a very old and worn door open, with rubble on the ground at its opening. Also staring straight at the camera, you then see another tiny cat, so very small and well camouflaged among the rubble. I could have sworn that first cat was the only one in the photo when I first looked at it, but somehow the composition naturally leads your eye to the second, well concealed one. So brilliant!

I won’t show you the photo, because you really should buy her books and see it for yourself!

Akane’s Blog

Akane’s Flickr Page

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 Micro at f/2.8, ISO200 1/125 Second

Nikon D300s + Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 Micro at f/2.8, ISO200 1/125 Second