CONFUSION: FAUX FISHEYE WITH A DOOR PEEPHOLE
These images were shot
door peephole, which I picked up at my local Home Depot. I put the peephole into a lens
cap, which I put on a Vivitar Series 1 24-70mm zoom. To use this combination, it
is necessary to use the closest possible focus (using the
"macro" setting) on the Vivitar.
The optical quality of this
arrangement is, predictably, absolutely horrible. Nothing is in good
focus, and much is in exceptionally bad focus. So little light gets
through the combination of
lens and peephole that slow shutter speeds are required, and thus motion blur
can be a problem (I haven't tried a tripod yet). Flare,
and aberrations caused by imperfections in the plastic lenses in the door
peephole, are an additional problem.
Still, there is something about the way these images look that speaks to me. Perhaps it has to do
with the fact that my eyes are slowly going to hell. Without my
glasses, the world that I see is no longer as sharp as it was when I was
younger. Beyond that, the blurring, streaks, flares, and distorted
textures, all create a kind of surreal feeling. When
combined with the linear distortion caused by the "fisheye"
effect of the lens, it can make these images seem like snapshots out of a
Or, at least, that's what I'm trying for.
only digital modifications I have
made to these images are some
adjustment of contrast, brightness and saturation, and a "circular
crop" to remove the parts of the frame that are not covered by the
image. The peephole creates a roughly circular image which covers only the
middle of the 35mm frame area. Talk about vignetting!
The circular image created by my
lens+peephole combination is a reminder of the fact that, in actuality,
all camera lenses produce a circular image area. In most cases,
though, the circular image is much larger than the rectangular space at
the back of the camera body where the film is held, so that the full
circle is never shown on the film. This is just as well, since even with
good quality lenses, the sharpness drops off at the edges of the circle,
and the perspective also becomes distorted. The rectangular images
produced by such cameras are simply the middle of the circle, where the
image quality is at its highest.
Confusion"? Bad pun. The images are circular, and they're
a little confusing. "Circle of confusion" is also a term
used in optics, and is particularly important in the optics of
photography. A description of the concept of the circle of confusion
can be found here.