Dodge & Burn: Atlanta's Pollen through a Macro Lens

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Dodge & Burn is a series of photo essays documenting local culture with a focus on artful imagery, movement, and light.
I began photography the way any 20 year old should, by blindly purchasing an old Minolta XG-M and using trial and error to learn how to work it. This actually did have its benefits and by the time the shutter locked up I was able to get a decent roll or two. My next camera was a Minolta XD-5, famous for its Leica shutter. This is still my go-to film camera, but in the last year I have switched to digital, and recently upgraded to a Nikon D90 body, which is simultaneously sexy and badass.

In college (I was a poli-sci major) I would go to thrift stores frequently and every time I found a Minolta body or lens I would purchase it. Each new lens or body offered a distraction from the focus I should have been applying to my schoolwork. As my collection grew over my three years in political science, it became clear that I was pursuing a major that I had no interest in. The result, however, is a pretty outstanding Minolta lens collection.

I say this to convey the background behind these photos. I recently found my first Minolta lens; it was the kit lens for the XG-M, and is the most versatile lens I have ever encountered. One interesting aspect is that it can be converted into a macro lens. I also purchased a Minolta MD-mount to Nikon F-mount converter a few weeks ago to utilize my old lens collection with my Nikon D90. When it came time to consider the topic I would tackle for this Dodge & Burn my head flooded with ideas. Coincidentally, my head also flooded with snot in reaction to the record-breaking amounts of pollen we had recently. “I bet that terrible mess is actually kind of pretty in macro,” I thought to myself. And thus this photo set was born.

This is a study of the most horrid and influential thing to hit Georgia since Rick Santorum. Everyone I know was sick for weeks, while the picnics and barbecues we all should have been enjoying were put on hold. Everyone hates it, but no one really gets close enough to examine it. For this series of photographs I used a Nikon D90 body with a MD/F-mount converter. I also used a Minolta MD 28-70mm lens in macro mode at 4.8 aperture. The body was set to 200ISO and I used various shutter speeds. If I were smarter I’d have found my 50mm PL filter to cut out some of the glare, but I think it adds to the photos in the end.
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