#374. Shooting Tortilla Flats, C-Sonnar Style

By pascaljappy | Travel Photography

Jul 08

Shooting Tortilla Flats.

As in shooting, rooty too too

Only authentic stagecoach stop to survive the 1900’s (source), this is one busy ghost town, nestled on the Apache Trail, just an SUV-throw away from Phoenix. One of several interesting dwellings that can be visited along the Apache Trail. You can still hear the echo of gunshots.


Under the glorious Arizona sun

As in shooting your heart out

Authentic it may be, the “town too tough to die” has a distinctly touristy feeling to it, these days, being home to the dollar-bill covered Superstition Saloon (named after the really superb Superstition Mountain).

But it retains great charm and hours of fun for a photographer. The Supersition saloon has been photographed a zillion times, but there’s always new angles, new events (July 4th being tremendous for flags) and even the rest rooms are decorated, if you dare take a camera in there.

DSC00653 DSC00644 DSC00643 DSC00642As in shooting oneself in the foot with a C-Sonnar

As regular readers will know, I sold almost all my (overly large) lens collection to finance the acquisition of a Zeiss OTUS 85/1.4 and a Zeiss Distagon 1.4/35 ZM. After a brief review of the Zeiss C-Sonnar 1.5/50 ZM that blew my mind, I decided to add this unexpected jewel to my renewed list of workhorse lenses.

The thing is, that tiny, tiny piece of glass is taking up so much space that the two others (not to mention the Distagon 2.8/15 ZF.2 that Zeiss have kindly sent me for review and hasn’t left my bag) are not seeing much camera time at all. 4 photographs on this page are made with the 35/1.4 ZM (codename Audrey) and the 4 others with the C-Sonnar (codename Cesar).

Audrey has the unparalleled delicacy that shows true colours and shadow subtlety that oozes through the photographs inside the saloon, above. Cesar displays bold contrasts and soft textures that is absolutely wonderful on portaits (below) and for creating impact when playing with light (top photo). I might be selling the OTUS (codename Hubert) if it doesn’t get used as much as I hoped but it would take something really surprising to make me part with Cesar !!!

Whadjathink ?
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  • Philberphoto says:

    Whooooo, nice pics! But the tale of woe continues. Now it is not the weather, it is the lack of use of the fantabulous 85 Otus, and the 15 ZF .2. Let me tell you, next time we meet, let’s compare Caesar with Bertha (Otus 55), and see if it is indeed the mouse that could… roar. Until then keep having fun, so that we can be entertained. Great fun to read…

    • pascaljappy says:

      Woe? What woe? It’s pure happiness due to the unexpected love affair with the C-Sonnar. But I’ll take you up on the offer 😉 That the sort of silly thing we like to to together 😉 No chance the C-Sonnar can compete with Bertha, but I’m pretty sure you’ll like the look of the C-Sonnar. Looking forward to it.

  • PaulB says:


    Welcome to the U.S., and Arizona!

    You have prestented some interesting images for your first post.

    Though you need to spread the goodness of the light around between your lenses.

    To do this you might want to try a technique I use if you have the time. When you arrive at a location decide which lenses you will use, decide on a route to walk, then walk the route one time for each lens. While doing this take your time and enjoy the place.

    When I do this, I also decide the order I will use the lenses. But I try to mix up the lens order for each location. This lets me become acquainted with each lens without being locked into a case of tunnel vision all day. Sometimes, in addition to changing lenses, I reverse the direction I walk; since some things really look different from the other side, and you never know who is walking behind you.

    • pascaljappy says:

      How interesting! Thanks. I’ll return to one or two of the places with a different lens.
      And thanks for the welcome. I can see why Americans are so proud of their country. Fabulous place.

  • PaulB says:


    If you make it to Sedona, go to the ET Encounter Diner. It was just on my TV, the Food Network, and looks really interesting. The southwest shrimp pasta dish looked worthy of trying.

    Not to mention it looks like a great photo opportunity.

  • Jock Cameron says:

    I, like you, have a love affair with my C-Sonnar on the Sony A7r. I have the Sony/Zeiss 16-35 for technical clarity and the Canon FD 85mm f1.2 for evocative portraits, but I just keep coming back to the C-Sonnar. Even in landscape and portrait situations when I think I ought to select one of my other lenses, the Sonnar has a magnetic pull. It is mystical at f1.5 and luscious at f2. When I see images in playback on the screen I get a tingly feeling all over! From a purely aesthetic point of view I have not come across a lens that feels more balanced or looks more sexy on the Sony A7 series.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Luscious at f/2 is exactly it. The photographs on this page were made at f/2, my favourite aperture. It medium format really has that medium format appeal. And your conclusion is what made me buy this lens. None of the others, however great, feel as suited to the A7 camera. Not bad, from the cheapest and smallest!

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