King Solomon’s Temple

imageMasonic Temple, Woodbury, Connecticut © Steven Willard

The King Solomon’s Lodge #7 meets at the temple as it has done since it was built in 1839, but the Lodge actually dates back to a charter granted in 1765. I’m not a Mason, and have never seen the inside of the temple, but sitting as it does on a hill that over looks Main Street, it’s hard to to be unaware of its presence.

When Chris and I were first making plans to move to Connecticut I did a little research of some of the small towns and I found a small book which has since gone missing. In that book was a drawing of King Solomon’s Temple. While still living with Chris’ folks we would drive around the area of the state we had settled on searching for where we wanted to live. One such drive to Woodbury took us up Main Street right past the temple. I recognized it right away (it would be hard not to) and immediately felt a connection. That was twenty-five years ago and in all that time living in Woodbury I had never photographed the temple until yesterday.

Driving back to Woodbury from work with the setting sun at my back, I had a notion that I should stop by the cemetery on Main Street to photograph some of the headstones in what was becoming very dramatic light. But as I approached the intersection where I would have turned on to go to the cemetery I saw the temple in all its freshly painted glory and pulled into the parking lot across the street instead. As luck would have it I had the Olympus EM5 mounted with a lens I had not yet had a chance to use. I found an Olympus OM (manual focus for 35mm) in the basement where it had rested, foregotten from the time it had been given to me by someone who no longer needed it. I had ordered an adapter for M4/3 and it had come yesterday morning and this was the first time I used it.

If this image is any indication, I think I have a winner. This is an OM mount 50mm f3.5 macro in excellent condition. The focus action is silky smooth in a way modern autofocus lenses rarely are. It focuses easily using the magnify feature and image stabilization in the electronic viewfinder, even at f3.5, and being only f3.5 it is a very handy size that feels just right on the EM5. The front element is deeply recessed which negates the need for a lens shade. Of course a quality lens of this era should have well detented f-stops and depth of scale markings and this lens does, all markings are clearly etched and enameled. I bought the Fotodiox adapter online and immediately checked if it would focus to infinity, something that not all adapters allow. In fact it focuses just a bit beyond, but that isn’t a hardship, it just means I have to focus on infinity and not rely on the focus stop at infinity. The image quality is excellent by my standards.

All in all I think I really got lucky. The other lens I was given is a 35mm f2. I’ll have to try that one soon and let you know how it fairs.

Olympus OMD EM5 with legacy OM 50mm f3.5 macro, processed with Snapseed on my iPad Air.

Note: The effective focal length on M4/3 is equivalent to 100mm on full frame 35mm, not long, but long enough to keep perspective “distortion” to a minimum. Even so, I used the perspective correction feature in Snapseed to correct the keystone effect of shooting up at a building which is significantly higher than street level, even at its base. While Snapseed’s perspective correction is not as versatile as Photoshop’s it will do a surprisingly good job in many situations.

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