From Russia With Love

Testing the Helios 44-2 58mm lens that I purchased from Ukraine’s SmarketUA on etsy. This lens is Russian made that apparently tried to emulate Zeiss lens. According to a Digital Photography School post, several companies made these lenses over several decades, in the millions of units, so they aren’t exactly rare nor expensive. For less than fifty bucks, I got mine in no time at all. It even came with an adapter for the Sony A7 and an Allen wrench to mount it! You can’t go wrong with that!

So, after the Chicago Marathon today (Oct. 7, Sunday), I went out to the Lincoln Park Conservatory to test this lens out. I thought, it would be easy to test this on flowers. I really was trying to see if the reported “swirly bokeh” which I really wanted to have also results from this lens. There are reports that it may happen in some, it may not happen in others. First of all, it is threaded – so that took a long time for me to mount it on the camera (I had to play around with a little screw, thankfully, the Allen wrench came with it.) It’s manual and the aperture setting is also manual. It took me a long while to figure it out. And because I have only one eye working (I am half blind), focusing was a little bit difficult.

But I got the hang of it eventually… and my results? Good bokeh but no swirling. Apparently, you never can get the same quality of pictures from Helios 44-2, and that’s why this is getting a cult following. I know some photographers who own a couple or more of this lens and really, for less than fifty bucks, you can’t go wrong.

Have a look!


Did about a 5-mile walk from Lincoln Park’s North Pond, through to the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Nature Boardwalk, then crossed over Lake Shore Drive to the beaches – Fullerton Beach and North Ave. Beach, then along the breakwater to the Near Northside at Chestnut. Lots of birds about including several green herons in the North Pond as well as in the Nature Boardwalk.

The skyline was not visible though because of the fog … which made photography of people on the breakwater very interesting.

Macro Shoot, Lincoln Park Conservatory

When I am out of ideas, I go macro. It always satisfies the craving for new perspectives.

And the best way is to go deeper into the private lives of plants, especially flowering plants.

Without the guilt of intrusion.

Shot these flowers at the Lincoln Park Conservatory with the usual suspects, Mark Marshall and Tim Karas, February 18, 2018.

Mark and Tim

Orchid Room Macro Photography

Part two of last week’s Drink and Click® Chicago’s macro photo shoot in Lincoln Park. We spent much time at Lincoln Park’s Conservatory peering at the private lives of ferns, orchids, and various other plants.

These are the photos I took at the Orchid Room of the Conservatory.

Fern Room Macro Photography

On Saturday, Jan 28, Drink and Click Chicago group’s macro shoot (February theme) was at Lincoln Park – Lincoln Park Conservatory, Lincoln Park Zoo and then at RJ Grunts. These were taken at Lincoln Park Conservatory’s Fern Room. The rest will be uploaded at a later time. Enjoy!