August 29th, 2011

Been toying with the nutty notion of taking my interior documentation slightly more seriously by curbing the usual “phoning it in” style of camera work and post production editing that my blog laziness prefers. In a tiny step towards that end, I picked up a basic vintage Minolta 50mm f1.7 lens for under a hundred bucks and then went all nerdtown around the house, shooting updated vignettes and detail images in an experimental fit of fixed focal lengths, big ‘ol apertures and shallow depth of field.

It’s an unending roller coaster of crazy excitement around here.

After shooting a ridiculous amount of images and putting the f/stops through their paces, I ended up attempting to explain bokeh to my exhausted dogs, who clearly couldn’t give two craps.

Come on. It’s not like those two could really grasp the concept with their teeny brains and total lack of interest.

After years spent in art school shooting film with vintage SLR’s and medium format cameras, I have a fondness for those 1970’s Japanese lenses that got shelved with digital. The allure of going Sony for a camera body was the lens mount compatibility with vintage Minoltas – meaning – I can stick old film lenses on my digital camera.

This vintage 50mm turned out to be both fantastic and stupid affordable. Of course, to feed my weird lens obsession, I keep an eye out for old camera gear bags at estate sales or while thrifting, because have you seen the prices on new lenses? It’s madness.

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  1. anne b. on 08/29/2011:

    these pictures speak to my ceramics-loving heart.

  2. Sara on 08/29/2011:

    I love these pics. I have a GF1 panasonic Lumix and bought Voightlander Cosina lenses, because I’ve never owned a camera with interchangeable lenses. I love it, because it helps me sees things anew. Your camera, or house, has great light. I love your shots. The pillows on the gray couch, are they for sale anywhere, or one offs?

  3. Ashley on 08/29/2011:

    Ugh, your photos (and home, for that matter) make me green with envy…so, so gorgeous.

  4. L on 08/29/2011:

    You can keep the camera (never have gotten the hang of f-stops) but please, can we trade lives?????

    Gorgeousness in every direction, I swear.

  5. erin@designcrisis on 08/29/2011:

    I have never loved tinsel as much as I do now.

    And I feel you, fellow photo nerd. If I could just hook up my 7×17 antique large format camera to a digital back, I think I might be in business.

  6. attalie on 08/29/2011:

    Your house looks amazing right now! The images turned out great too…you are clearly talented with the new camera 🙂

  7. Suzy8track on 08/29/2011:

    Looks Maaaahhhvelous!

  8. Ashley on 08/29/2011:

    Love the duvet in the first photo and second to the bottom. Mind sharing where you found it?

  9. Soul pretty on 08/29/2011:

    Oh…picking up my camera right now…well, maybe after lunch…thanks.

  10. Tara on 08/29/2011:

    I am dying for all of these. DIE! ING!

  11. Luz on 08/29/2011:

    I made the exact same camera plunge recently as well. I love me some Japanese lenses! Aren’t they just SO FUN!?

  12. peggy on 08/29/2011:

    These photos are gorgeous! And please do tell about your foil chandelier in the dining room. It’s awesome. Did you make that?

  13. Julie on 08/29/2011:

    Loser question – where’d ya get that cute leather bag in the 8th row down?

  14. Jill on 08/29/2011:

    I couldn’t agree with you more about old lenses. And old cameras, as well. After tiring of the sheer volume of digital photos a couple years ago, I went back to all-film-all-the-time. Or at least most of the time. There’s something about those old lenses paired with old film cameras that’s just more magical.

    Anyhow, great photos and glad you’re feeling inspired! 🙂

  15. the brick house on 08/29/2011:

    Sara – the pillows are from Ikea and the old Crate & Barrel outlet.

    Ashley – its from west elm:

    Julie – I got my purse Marshalls about a year ago. I have no idea who made, some leather company.

    Peggy – It’s a table skirt that I just strung up on my lamp after it fell of the wall.

  16. Tim Young on 08/29/2011:

    What kind of fan is that in the first pic? Looks vintage? I like it.

  17. THE BRICK HOUSE on 08/29/2011:

    It’s a Vornado – they still make them today, but I grabbed mine while thrifting.

  18. Kat on 08/29/2011:

    It’s embarrassing how stupid excited I get when you have a new post. I love everything. I have a camera bag with vintage minolta lenses (from my vintage 1st camera) waiting to get a new body. Or I’ll sell them and fix my car – its a toss up.

  19. Mo on 08/30/2011:

    These are amazing, o.k. I guess I need to start saving for a 50mm lense. I love the duvet, I’ve been stalking it for a while. Just gorgeous, isn’t is so great to take the time and appreciate your wonderful surroundings and all the hard work you put into it.

  20. Sue on 08/30/2011:

    thanks for sharing

  21. Karen McRae on 08/30/2011:

    Nothing like a great lens. Lovely and inspiring!
    I’m craving some infra-red film myself.

  22. Cassie on 08/30/2011:


  23. Logan on 08/30/2011:

    Wow, I need to take a photography class. I love that potted cactus climbing outta there

  24. Conan on 08/30/2011:

    You know, Vornados were originally manufactured in my hometown of Wichita, Kansas. My grandfather worked for them in the tool and die department, and one of the things he made there was the little script logo that was attached to each fan. I have a few of them around the house somewhere that I should probably dig up. Anyway, I’m always a little bit pleased to see something that my grandfather had a hand in making still finding a place in the world.

  25. LZ on 08/30/2011:

    SAFARI CHAIR! WHITE LACQUER BEDFRAME! I need the story, I NEED more photos!! LOVE LOVE the 2 new-ish lamps as well. Fantastic changes and photos.

  26. John on 08/30/2011:

    Looks Great! You picked nice tid-bits of stuff that makes you yearn for more…

  27. marjee on 08/30/2011:

    these are great! Nice words too… those pups are two lucky beasties. Even though they taunt you with their misbehaviour…

  28. Nat on 08/30/2011:

    Love the handbag!

    I think I need a handbag blog as well xD

  29. Jimely Rosas on 08/30/2011:

    Wow nice house and great style 🙂

    Peace & Love.
    Jimely Rosas.

  30. Peggy on 08/30/2011:

    OMG! It’s not just talent; it’s TRAINING! Thank you for sharing the one, and then earning and sharing the second. Your generosity is earning you a spot in design immortality. You blend past and present so seamlessly and package it up so beautifully for your audience. For which we are immensely thankful.

  31. Natasha Williams on 08/30/2011:

    Beautiful shots! I especially love your pottery collection.

  32. mary on 08/30/2011:

    Oh my, what lovely photos. Tell me, where do you get those yellow pom pom flowers? Are they dried? I see them every where and want some, but I have no idea where to buy some.

  33. Husband on 08/30/2011:

    Have you ever thought about showing the messy part of your house/garage? I mean, I can’t imagine that your house is THIS perfect all the time I know mine is not. It might be fun?? My wife won’t let me do it on our blog 🙂

  34. Florian on 08/30/2011:

    Such pretty photos! It all looks lovely and YAY updates – lots and lots of changes! How DARE you to keep your private home secret from us for so long?

  35. Andrea Hubbell on 08/30/2011:

    LOVE these detail shots. My kind of photography. 🙂

  36. Heela on 08/30/2011:

    Hi, I was wondering what kind of sony camera you have…? I really like the idea of pairing digital camera with vintage lens…but of course the only experience I have with photography is the one class I took in high school. my little digital camera I have now is really not the right equipment for all the cool pictures I want to be taking 🙁

  37. THE BRICK HOUSE on 08/30/2011:

    I have a Sony in the Alpha series – there is a wide range of price points for them and the mounts are compatible with the vintage minolta maxxum lenses.

  38. kim roberts on 08/30/2011:

    Thanks for the eye candy, Morgan! I’m loving the pottery, and I’ve been finding some good pieces here and there lately. I’m sure it will get out of hand soon!

  39. Clement on 08/30/2011:

    Beautiful! Can I ask you what are those puffy yellow branches coming out thus pretty mid century ceramic? Love it!

  40. April on 08/31/2011:

    Okay, probably my favorite post you’ve done of ALL TIME!!!! My 50mm lens is my go-to and I try to shoot everything I can with it, it’s so delicious. Love your vignettes and all the details, the pool, the dogs, the textures. I just love it all.

  41. Tonia (@ChicModern) on 08/31/2011:

    I have my eye out on a new camera. I love the look of the table skirt as a chandelier. Such a creative mind.

  42. THE BRICK HOUSE on 08/31/2011:

    The yellow things are billy balls.

  43. my little apartment on 08/31/2011:

    I’ve been debating that West Elm bedding for a while and had kinda given up on it. then I saw this and it’s back on the “I Want” list.

    the place looks awesome! love the tinsel waterfall…

  44. Bandita on 09/01/2011:

    I have to say, I love all the unmade bed pictures that you take. I have adopted a “don’t make the bed unless people are coming over and might see it” mentality (partly to cope with the fact that my husband would never voluntarily make it anyway..)

    I don’t know if you have the same mentality or not, but I feel like an unmade bed gives my home lived in and comfy cozy character. I smile each time I see it (oi, my mother would shudder at the thought!)

  45. Amy on 09/02/2011:

    What are you using as a pool in the yard. It looks pretty awesome!

  46. Maggie on 09/17/2011:

    Love your little cactus! the photos look great. Did you have the pool before? did you love it over the summer?

  47. MarcoBerlin on 10/18/2011:

    Hey 🙂 I reaaaally like your site and always enjoy reading your newest posts in my google reader, btw I am from Berlin, Germany, so your site reaches out wide.

    I am always wondering what the name of your wood/glass tables is?! The ones where a glass plate is on top of a tree root/stamp. I love those tables and would like to try to find some in Berlin for me!

    All the best

  48. THE BRICK HOUSE on 10/18/2011:

    People call them all sorts of things, burl, root, driftwood…
    became popular in the 70’s – there are tons here in California.

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