Zoomin’ into 7th heaven

Toronto. We held our seventh COVID-19 inspired exec meeting via ZOOM (This could be the beginning of a wonderful friendship as Rick said in Casablanca). A big thanks to Celio for arranging the meeting once again. Key changes are shown below. Toronto is in stage 3 at present as we enter the second wave of COVID-19. Sadly ALL events are cancelled at least until 2021. Our monthly meeting venue (North York Memorial Hall) is closed to events by the city until at least December 31, 2020.

PHSC News will go out shortly for October. Sign up at news@phsc.ca for a free pdf copy. Members get specials plus the journal via pdf. Contact me if you are a member and HAVE NOT seen the pdfs. Some members have unsubscribed to MailChimp; some emails are invalid; and others have no email on file with the society. Any questions? Just drop me a note at info@phsc.ca (we are looking at alternatives to in person meetings).

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bigger than Texas …

a huge digital camera from SLAC courtesy of CNET

Toronto.  … and even Ontario! CNET reports that SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory recently announced the world’s largest digital camera. The article on CNET is, “Scientists capture world’s first 3,200-megapixel photos” and states, “They successfully test the focal plane on the world’s largest digital camera, which will eventually help explore the cosmos.”.

Modern day digital cameras have sensors far smaller, topping out under 100 megapixels. We first learned of these giga size images in November 2008 when Felix Russo of PhotoEd spoke on his Gigapan system and modern day panorama images. He later took a 750 megapixel shot of some laggards in the audience (including me).

In November of 2015 I did a post on the Gigaplex system and its 2,100 megapixel photos. The Vancouver shot was captured in 2011 at the Canucks hockey game outside the arena. I also linked to a mountain scene shot in 2013, but you need the Adobe Flash plug-in to see it (Flash is history now).

My thanks to my friend, Russ Forfar, up in the wilds of Southern Ontario.

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those wonderful old home movies

how to see home movies – a MoMA magazine video

Toronto. I recently did a post on “1839 and all that” featuring a short video on daguerreotype restoration from MoMA in New York City. This post borrows from MoMA magazine once again, this time a 10 minute video showing home movie clips interspersed with shots of four MoMA folk discussing home movies and how to see them through out the video.

Home movies were first taken to capture family events but in time they became an historical statement of the times shown. Have a look and see the home movies in a fresh light. While these clips seem to be entirely American, we can all remember taking some home movies here too.

Again, I thank my good friend George Dunbar for suggesting this link to me. While most clips appear to be 8mm and somewhat fuzzy and off colour, they are valuable in showing how the average person viewed his world last century when 8mm struggled to gain a foot hold in this world of still photography.

The modern smartphone of today takes crisp videos automatically, perfectly balanced for colour and exposure. Most users have no idea how challenging movies were a half century ago when tiny frames on a skinny strip of colour film captivated families.


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copy, copy that!

c1919 drawing of triode = book page copied

Toronto. In  the early 1900s, some American companies sold fancy copy machines, that relied upon photography, to prosperous companies. Their machines snapped and recorded material directly to photographic paper, which was sometimes developed and fixed automatically.

But not everyone could afford these machines. For example, I was just a little child during the second war and I can remember watching a teacher make handwritten exam sheets using an indelible pencil  to write a master sheet in purple.

This sheet was rolled on what looked like a shallow tray of stiff jelly making the words and letters reversed in the “jelly”. A number of blank papers were individually rolled on the “jelly” and peeled off showing purple words and letters now right way around.

In the late 1950s/early 1960s at work, we had a mimeograph machine. A clerk typed instructions on a gestetner master sheet (stencil) that was wrapped around the machine’s drum. These office machines all disappeared when Xerox copy machines came on the market later on. Initially computer-connected scanners were expensive stand alone machines. Today, all-in-one inkjet printers (scan, print, and fax) are dirt cheap squeezing out most of the stand alone scanners.

I made the copy that post a year ago. At the time, I was using a digital camera and copy stand to record negatives and a scanner plus the Image Capture app to copy prints, papers, book pages, etc. A few decades earlier, I used some Leitz accessories to copy papers and book pages both at home and at the Reference Library.

My thanks to friend and fellow PHSC member George Dunbar for sharing this February 1917 article in Electrical Experimenter magazine showing how one company used a camera set up to do copy work. George found the article while researching for photographic history. Below you can see the machine discussed in the article. The lens and prism are on the right facing the copier platform below.

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simplicity again

Kodak has a better idea …

Toronto. In the late 1960s, Kodak aggressively pushed its ads to capture the low end of the home movie market. My October 14th post, “eulogy for simplicity” showed one ad Kodak used in this approach.

This teaser ad shows another way Kodak tackled the low end market. In this case, it uses the high end and pricey Bolex as a paper tiger suggesting it was too complicated to give to a wife but hinted Kodak has a better idea.

My thanks to George Dunbar who unearthed this wacky ad while pursuing photographic history and shared it with me.

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Amalgamated Photo History Newsletters

Toronto. We issued the 5th in our series of exchange newsletters recently (since we are unable to hold our regular monthly meetings, members received this pdf version of the amalgamated newsletters from our exchange members who gave their blessing for inclusion in this venture. In this case it is a massive tribute to Cindy Motz of MiPHS as she has retired as president and editor of that august organization.

I hinted these packages were coming for members, ” … we elected to compile other material in pdf files ready to send to members IF they supplied an email address AND had a fast enough internet connection to receive the 2 – 10 mb or so pdf files. …”.

Well, the Volume 1-5 file (9.8 MB) went out yesterday. If you didn’t get it but you do get our newsletters, drop me a note (news@phsc.ca). I will verify you are a 2020/2021 member and send off a copy. If you are a current member and didn’t see a copy, please check your junk folder. This and all other specials will only be sent to paid members. Not one yet? No big deal – pull your plastic and use the PayPal set up at the top right of this web page. Note that we will continue to send our PHSC News to all who are on our MailChimp list – PHSC member or not.

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antique photographica sale tomorrow

Photographica Auction online tomorrow

Toronto. We have all been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Pharmaceutical houses world wide are rushing to find a suitable vaccine.

We are using remote meetings via ZOOM, adding pdf specials via MailChimp, and obeying the medical guidelines as much as possible. Only one PHSC in-person event has been held since the pandemic hit. That was our Trunk Sale at Trident Hall this past summer during the lull between the first and second wave.

Stereographica (Bryan and Page Ginns) of San Diego, CA are known by many collectors of photographica. Their latest online auction will take place tomorrow, October 24th with an online catalogue offered.

Our editor, Bob Lansdale shared this email he received from the Ginns. “Just a reminder that our sale of Antique Photographica ends this Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 3:00pm(1500hrs) Eastern Time (Noon Pacific Time).

“A ten minute countdown clock will be available towards the end of the sale. Once ten minutes has elapsed after 3:00pm without a bid, the sale is over. Each time a bid is placed after 3:00pm the clock will re-set and THE ENTIRE SALE WILL BE EXTENDED BY A FURTHER TEN MINUTES to give bidders the opportunity to respond. Please be advised that experience suggests that THE SALE COULD CONTINUE FOR SEVERAL HOURS BEYOND THE 3:00pm DEADLINE. ALL LOTS WILL REMAIN OPEN FOR BIDDING until the sale ends. Please remember to click the ?refresh? button on your browser to update the countdown clock.

“To check whether you are the high bidder, always go through the Sign-In procedure where your individual bidding page will be displayed. It will clearly show whether you are the high bidder or not. If there is an open box to bid on any given lot, you are NOT the high bidder. We would also remind everyone that there is a 10% buyer?s premium on the final price of each lot.

“If you have any questions please refer to the ?Auction Rules / Terms & Conditions of Sale? on the web site at: www.stereographica.com or e-mail us directly at: the3dman@aol.com or please feel free to call us at 518 821 3086.

“Regards, Bryan and Page Ginns”

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the power of photography

Families of the Dump by Gerry Yaum

Toronto. Back in September 2oth, I received an email from Gerry Yaum, an Edmonton AB photographer about his ambitious video and stills project called “The Families of the Dump“. I sent it along to a few PHSC members who replied the following day. On the 16th of this month, Gerry sent an email with further details and links to our editor, Bob Lansdale, in response to Bob’s suggestions. Bob graciously sent his message on to me.

Gerry’s video, “The Families of the Dump”  is up on youtube and is well worth viewing. Gerry also has a number of other videos posted on various subjects, many relevant to us.

Gerry writes the following about his “Families of the Dump“, video, “The idea behind this video is two fold, one.. to give a more interactive interesting educational experience for those that attend the exhibition [Living in the Margins] and two.. to put the photographs in context with a geographical location for the viewer. If they see the overall picture in video form it will be a bit easier to understand the photographs in their individual contexts.

‘The Mae Sot Project’ Artist Statement:

‘As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.’                                                                                                                                                   Nelson Mandela

“The Mae Sot Project (“Families of the Dump“) documentary photography series was made at the Mae Sot, Thailand garbage dump. At the dump approximately 400 people in 50 plus family groups live and work scavenging for recyclable goods. The families are made up of Burmese refugees mostly from the Karen ethnic tribe; who travelled illegally from Burma into Thailand. In Burma these people face political persecution and economic hardship, they came to Thailand hoping for a better life. 

“I make my photographs in the dump and elsewhere for one reason, to tell the stories of forgotten people. It is important that their stories are told, with dignity and compassion. My goal is to show the common humanity we all share.

“Please help the children and families of the dump by donating to: www.eyestoburma.org

Gerry Yaum

Please note: It is best to use Garry’s videos on Youtube. He tells me the web sites are defunct or incomplete. Garry’s blog via the Analog Forever Magazine link has an error in the certificate raising a severe warning on my browser for the secure site (https). The http site is flagged as insecure (usual caution these days). The next day, browsing directly, his  secure blog site  https://gerryyaum.blogspot.com loaded without an issue.

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1839 and all that

Daguerreotype Conservation by Lee Ann Daffner at MoMA

Toronto. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Magazine in the Big Apple offers many interesting talks about photography. In this one, conservator Lee Ann Daffner of MoMA thoughtfully treats the tarnish on a c1842 daguerreotype by Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey.

Listen to this interesting video on our earliest process and how to clean and conserve these historic images. Thanks are due to my good friend George Dunbar who discovered this video while in the pursuit of photographic history.

NB. The title of this post comes from a riff on the title of a book I read as a youth called “1066 and All That“. It was a parody on English history and 1066 refers to the Norman conquest of the Island.

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a fine balance

smartphone colour balance app

Toronto. Modern day smartphone cameras have editors with colour balance and other colour effects built-in. The tiny cameras automatically set the colour balance to white as a starting point so few images need any editing unless the image creator wishes to work on them. Most users of smartphone cameras rarely bother changing the colour balance. The visible light spectrum is listed in degrees kelvin. Visible blue light is 6,000K while the old style incandescent indoor lights were a very warm 2,700K. The actual spectrum band affects the colour too. Some lights have broad spectrum like daylight, others are narrow so they give an odd look to things.

In the early days of transparencies, films and plates were so slow that daylight balance was all that was needed and we rarely even thought of colour balance. In the middle of the last century, transparency film speeds increased enough for both outdoor (sun) and indoor (tungsten) film to be offered. Flash bulbs coated blue could be used indoors with outdoor film. Filters of blue and orange/brown would allow either transparency film to be used under sun or tungsten light. The loss of speed with the orange/brown filter made conversion of tungsten film for outdoor use unpopular.

When colour negative film and colour prints arrived, colour balance was critical. Both paper, and film  had to be corrected during enlargement to avoid any unpleasant colour cast. The worst case was when there was one colour cast in shadows and a different one in highlights. Professionals often used a neutral grey card at the beginning of a film batch since enlarger filters, once adjusted, eliminated any colour casts for the same run of film and paper.

The arrival of digital technology solved colour balance automatically. While we were in transition from film and chemicals to digital cameras and computers, programs like Photoshop could balance out different casts in shadows and highlights. Digital cameras had settings for automatic white balance and for specific lighting. The transition to non-tungsten lighting is well underway. This means that in time all indoor lighting will be much closer to daylight. My overhead light and desk lamp are all ready LED. They use LED bulbs with a broad spectrum reaching a high of about 2,700K overhead and over 3,000K in my desk lamp. The digital camera white balance takes care of any correction needed to emulate the outdoor images.


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43rd world used camera fair (in Japan) video

43rd World Used Camera Fair in Tokyo

Toronto. In the summer of 2008, I changed the PHSC website to use WordPress. This change was to allow non-technical members to accept the webmaster position and be able to easily add posts and pages. My first post on August 15, 2008 was an article on the “Japanese Hand Made Camera Club” suggested by an email and catalogue sent to Bob Lansdale.

And a bit over 12 years later I have the pleasure of doing this post about a Japanese used camera fair video, once again thanks to an email from Bob Lansdale. PHSC member Jim Hall over in Guelph alerted Bob who send the link over to me. As the French say, “The More It Changes, … “.

Have a look and see how the folks in Tokyo are holding a fair in this year of COVID-19. Most use masks and all displays use large glass waist-high cabinets. All sorts of interesting cameras and lenses are offered.

NB. Anything in the A2 Hosting Media database (which I use) before 2011 seems to have been removed. I had to Google my August 15, 2008 attachment to the Coffee Grinder Camera and add back to it a template created by Matthew Campagna, www.theturninggate.com from my post. This template disallows any clicks to enlarge images.

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