When I was 25 I worked for a short time at a newspaper in Ottawa, Illinois called The Daily Times. It has since merged with a neighboring newspaper and become simply The Times. In my short time there, I shot well, in part because I was partnered with another young photographer named Harold Krewer.
Harold was friendlier than I was in those days, and more outgoing. In years since then, however, particularly after getting married, I am about as outgoing and friendly as anyone I know.
Harold and I loved to shoot news and sports. To add spice to our daily routine of grip-and-grins and rubber chicken luncheons, Harold and I would challenge each other to, for lack of a better term, shoot-outs. We would set out in opposite directions and meet back at the office in an hour with what each of us hoped would be the better image. We both shot well when we did this, and it kept us sharp.
One thing that became more and more apparent as this activity went on was that while I probably had an edge with telephoto lenses, particularly my 180mm, Harold established himself as “the undisputed king of the wide angle.” I can’t recall with total certainty, but I think his go-to lens was the Nikkor 24mm f/2.8, a staple in many photojournalists bags of the era. He made that lens sing. The angles and compositions he got with it were aesthetically and geometrically amazing.
Like all photojournalists, I use wide angle lenses all the time. My bread-and-butter lens on the job in the last few years has been the excellent Tokina 12-24mm f/4, which is a lens designed for 15x24mm image sensors, so its analog in the film era would be roughly 18-36mm. I’m good with it. I am not, however, the wide angle artist that Harold was.
I talked to Harold on the phone recently. He left journalism some years ago to pursue a career in his first real love, railroads. It was good to talk to him, and particularly neat that he remembered, word for word, the phrase, “undisputed king of the wide angle.”