Saturday, March 6, 2010

He Does It His Way

Don Felton with his 30 year old Nikkor 105 mm Non-AI lens mounted on a Canon DSLR.
Photo: ©2010 Anna L. Conti

Don Felton, owner and primary photographer, of Almac Camera here in San Francisco, has been shooting art work for many of the major artists, galleries and museums in the Bay Area for about thirty years.

Don is a very intuitive photographer and has never gotten bogged down in technical matters or equipment issues in terms of getting his work done. For years he shot everything from 8x10 to 35mm; always transparencies that were perfectly exposed.

His set-up has always been extremely simple: tungsten lights bounced into huge foamcore reflectors that he moves around until the artwork is lit just right. The results have always been superb.

When Don made the switch to digital he knew what he wanted. Rather than adapt his style to the digital revolution he took just what he needed from the booming technological advances that overwhelm most of us, and he never missed a beat.

Don shoots with two high end Canon DSLRs on which he has mounted his 30 year old manual focus Nikkor lenses. He never uses the light meters, the cameras are always in manual exposure mode. He opens up the lens, focuses on the art work ( I asked him if he used the camera's electronic rangefinder to verify focal and he asked, "What's that?), then he stops down to f/11, activates the self timer and starts bracketing shots in 1/3 increments of shutter speed. He operates his DSLRs the same way he operates his 8x10 view camera. It's a treat to watch him work.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don is a real local treasure. In the years he shot my landscapes and seascapes, I swore I never truly appreciated the color range of my own paintings until he set them up on his black velvet and got the lights on them.