The Photographic Historical Society of Canada

Show and Tell 2010
Various Members
Program date: December 15, 2010

Clint Hryhorijiw
Clint co-ordinates

Robert GutteridgeMarley's ghost
Robert Gutteridge

Lorne Shields
Lorne Shields

Ed WarnerGraphics right angle viewerEd Warner and sliding back accessory
Ed Warner

Shelton Chen
Shelton Chen

Christopher LansdaleBox Tengor
Christopher

John Morden - BlurbEvolutionJohn Morden and iPad eBook
John Morden

Clint with tintype
Clint + Tintype

Felix RussoPhotoEd Wedding IssuePhotoEd Architecture
Felix Russo

Bob Carter with NEX-5Bob Carter with Chinon ES-3000
Bob Carter

Show and Tell is our popular year end program complete with a Christmas gift exchange and in recent years, a silent auction. This year-end series of short member presentations was hosted and co-ordinated with excellent taste by our president Lewko (Clint) Hryhorijiw. NB: Clicking on all but the panorama images will pop up a larger view.

Bob Gutteridge started us off with a lesson on Life Model Slides. Popular in the late 1800s, they were the precursors to movies and for a time shared screen time with them. Made in a series of 3 to 50+ using live models against a backdrop, each series illustrated a simple story - temperance, lover lost at sea, unrequited love, or even illustrated a popular song - the forerunner of the music video. The slides came with a keyed script to be read aloud along with the show.

Robert's "Ghost of Marley", produced in 1889 or earlier by York & Sons, consists of 24 slides plus two effects slides. The series is shown using a biunial projector - one projection system shows each slide while the second one shows the effects slide creating a crude animation. In Marley, the ghost effects slide is inserted in the second projection system with the gas turned down. As the gas is slowly opened, it gradually brings the ghost into view superimposed on the main slide. Click HERE to see a great Dutch (English text) site on magic lanterns.

Lorne Shields followed with an interesting military bicycle panorama.The first recorded military cycling was in the late 1880s in Europe. Canadian cyclists were active in both the Boer War and the Great War. Lorne's panorama shows the 2nd Divisional Cycle Corps of the Canadian Expeditionary Force at the CNE in 1915 (photographed by the Panoramic Camera Company, 239 Victoria St., Toronto). Each soldier has his own bicycle - mostly Planet and CCM makes.

2nd

Ed Warner offered another of his restoration gems. He began his talk by showing a traditional Graflex 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 with accessories sticking out all over it and a large flash like they use in the movies. He then moved on to his main subject - a restored 4x5 Graflex beater he picked up at one of the late Larry Boccioletti's outdoor sales. This one caught Ed's eye because of its bronze hardware. Starting the restoration, Ed peeled off all the mangled leather exposing the pock marked wooden body. Wood filler smoothed out the imperfections and surplus screw holes. A dark green leather renewed the camera's skin and a few handmade accessories and adjustments completed the project: a home-made Linhof-style swing and tilt back, a sliding back made from a Toyo back, and a waist level viewer made with an element from an old lens and a mirror mounted in a thin wood box (see image at left). Ed made one other modification. He machined the camera's bakelite lens mount to enlarge it to the near-universal 4 x 4 inch opening. (CAUTION: Don't attempt to cut ANY bakelite without using new sharp blades. Even slightly used blades guarantee broken bakelite.) These changes gave Ed a camera that looked good and accepted any of his collection of lenses and shutters including the Linhof board shown here.

Shelton Chen had Karsh photographs on display at the back of the room including some stills from two 1963 movies - "Zulu" and "Lancelot and Guinevere". And during the evening Shelton generously gave everyone a package of postcards from his recent Karsh show in Shanghai.

Christopher Lansdale showed three Zeiss Ikon Box Tengor's that grandfather Robert Lansdale won for him at the recent Engel's auction. Christopher began with a brief history of the formation of Zeiss Ikon after the Great War when Germany struggled to rebuild its manufacturing base including the vital camera industry to earn money through exports. Unfortunately, it was a time when radio was drawing interest away from photography (according to one amateur photography magazine). The Box Tengor line was one of the survivors as Zeiss Ikon whittled down the vast number of seemingly near identical camera models fighting for market share [shades of the auto industry's recent rationalization and model name reduction]. Christopher's three models are 1) the early 54/14, 2) the 54/2, a later c1928 model, and 3) the 56/2 which was made from 1930 to 1948. While these are box cameras they are very well built and have attracted a Flickr user group.

Fred Warner
Fred Warner
Kiev Front View
Kiev Front
Kiev Back view
Kiev - back covering
Kiev top view
красная звезда
Tessar f=2.8 cm
Tessar f=2.8cm

Fred Warner continued the old days theme with two items: A Rare Zeiss lens with the original lens cap, the famous Zeiss wide-angle 2.8cm f/8 Tessar, an uncoated model dating back to 1937. Fred pointed out the tiny lens elements set into the large uncoupled Contax lens mount.

Fred next discussed the strange Kiev camera on which he had mounted the Tessar. The Kiev cameras are based on the old Zeiss Contax III and IV. After WW2, the Contax factory was in what became the Russian zone of Germany and its contents were subsequently moved to a factory in the Ukraine where these cameras were made right up to the 1950s. The Kiev cameras seem to be very rugged but not as finely made as the earlier Contax cameras. This Kiev was covered with what looked like horse hair. Whether it is an original Kiev model or a fake, the camera was a worthwhile acquisition at about $80 from an Eastern Europe source, refurbished and in good condition. Fred noted that the signature in English only was unconventional. The signatures are usually in Cyrillic or Cyrillic and (smaller) in English. Also some one had engraved the words "красная звезда" on the top left shoulder of the camera. Clint, who is able to read Cyrillic languages, identified the words as "Red Star". The Russian seller on Ebay claimed to have no idea of its provenance. (In recent times, there has been a flurry of custom made and fake cameras finding their way to the West.)

Christmas Gift Exchange

At this point we took a break for our traditional Christmas gift exchange between members who brought a wrapped gift. Bob Lansdale recorded the group while I took the above panorama photo of Bob at work using the built-in panorama function of the NEX-5.

John Morden discussed self publishing projects he and wife Sonja completed during the course of their ongoing post graduate studies at York University. The first item was an 8x10 paper-back book they published through Blurb. The book consists of 14 essays and 14 loose photographs. This novel approach was taken after neither John nor his wife and their friends was able to unanimously associate each essay and photograph. Now each reader gets to choose the relationship as he sees it.

Their second book, published in early 2010 through Blurb Canada, is based on an 1890s lecture on evolution. A professor at the University of Connecticut had a script sheet from an 1890s lecture slide show but no slides. John and Sonja obtained a copy, reprinted the script verbatim, then created their own photographs to accompany the script...

This spring John attended an OCAD seminar on "The future of the book". The first speaker boldly stated "the book is dead" and by the end of his lecture, John agreed - books are now historical objects. With this mindset, the couple wrote their third book in an electronic format, especially for reading on the iPad. John showed the book, casually flipping the pages back and forth on the screen with a flick of his finger. John pointed out that the web makes it easy to distribute books to a wide international audience.

His book is free to all who would like a copy, which generated some debate on the viability of this approach commercially. John said he found electronic publishing an interesting experience, harder than it first appeared. He had to address the speed of the page flips, device parameters, screen layout, and file optimization in addition to the usual creative content concerns. John has about 200 books and over 2,000 photos on his iPad.

After his talk, there were a number of questions raised on using the iPad rather than a dedicated eReader like Kindle, issues of copyright, possible loss of the material through media and electronics obsolescence, portability vs device-free readability, etc. Fred Warner chipped in and waved his Android phone, which like the iPod touch I have and the iPhone Felix uses, is also a very capable eBook reader.

At this point in the program, Clint Hryhorijiw took a moment to show his prize item for this evening - a very large tintype portrait that he found in an antiques mall while visiting Columbia Missouri last weekend. The tintype measures some 10 x 13 inches - some of the audience stated that even larger tintypes exist - rare but not uncommon.

Felix Russo titled his talk as "What I learned this year and will learn next year", speaking on current interests in photography as reflected in his magazine, PhotoEd. The Spring 2010 issue featured wedding photography and included Maggie Habieda (Fotographia Boutique). Check out her web gallery to see just why Felix is so enthusiastic about this young photographer - and come to see her at our March 2011 meeting.

The theme of the Fall 2010 issue is architecture. An article by Felix in that issue investigates "heure bleue" - that photographically magical period around sunset when the sky forms a rich saturated blue background to the city buildings and city lights. Felix investigated the blue hour by setting up a tripod at Bloor and Pacific in the Junction. He took a series of shots every 10 minutes for half an hour before and after sunset to the delight of passers-by. He found the best time to capture the blue hour effect was 10 minutes after sunset.

The Winter 2010 issue features photographic art pieces by Richard Koenig of the University of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Examining the nature of a photograph, Richard calls these "mind pictures". For example, a portrait which includes a photograph of the photograph, and a gallery display that combines a physical object with a photograph of the object. By combining the photograph's 2D representation with the object, or part of it, gives a mixture of two and three dimensionality.

Moving on to what he will learn next year, Felix discussed first his Spring 2011 issue which explores a photographer's rights - where he can photograph and where not. Street photography à la Cartier-Bresson is alive and well. Felix pointed out that England, with the most street video security cameras has the most restrictions on street photographs. His Fall 2011 issue theme will cover environmental photography. In one article, photographer Andrew Stowicky, whose current project addresses energy, explores how photography is documenting the environment. Felix noted that energy ties in with the fall theme through its impact on the environment.

Finally, the Winter 2011 issue is a 3D special. Felix noted that a lot has changed since 2007 - Fuji has its affordable W3 camera which not only creates 3D images but lets you view them in 3D on the camera's viewing screen; a Russian has broken the code for certain Canon camera models and posted the steps on the web. Jail breaking a camera, like jail breaking a cell phone, gives the owner access to other features of the device such as recording images in RAW format, doing time lapse photography or even synchronizing two cameras for 3D. The jail broken cameras allow anyone to make a 3D setup with two under $400 cameras and some free software!

In closing, Felix stated 2012 is an open book and he is interested in suggestions on themes and writers. In response to John Morden's observation on the fate of the book, he noted the positive impact of digital publishing on photographers' portfolios. In the old days photographers had to prepare carefully assembled portfolios costing hundreds of dollars each to promote their work. Today, a DVD can be made and left with a prospective buyer for consideration.

Bob Carter wrapped things up this evening with "a tale of two cameras" - changes in camera design over the past 15 years. He showed his first digital camera (last image on left), a Chinon ES-3000, bought in 1995, a few years into the digital era, and contrasted it his new Sony NEX-5 bought in late August of 2010 (second image from bottom ). The Chinon was typical of the consumer cameras of the early '90s. It has a sub-megapixel sensor, an optical view finder and a built-in 3x optical zoom lens. No live view - or any viewing screen for that matter. All images have to be downloaded to be viewed, a painfully slow process. Today a mind numbing choice of cameras are available. Their design falls into two main styles: the ubiquitous compact point and shoot variety for the snap-shooter crowd and the much larger and complex SLRs favoured by professionals and advanced amateurs.

In 2008 Panasonic and Olympus got together to shake things up with a standard for a new class of camera. This standard, the micro four-thirds, envisioned a camera as compact and easy to use as the point and shoots combined with the image quality and flexibility of an SLR. The challenge was to squash down the thickness of the SLR to a bit over 20mm while retaining its large sensor, focal plane shutter, and lens mount. To do this, they eliminated the mirror-box, replacing it with live view technology driving a high resolution electronic viewfinder and live view screen.

The following year, the first micro four thirds cameras hit the market. The designs were reminiscent of film era rangefinder cameras. The 20mm lens flange to sensor distance had an added benefit. With a simple third party adapter, legacy lenses from film cameras work on the new cameras. These fixed focal length lenses are usually faster than the kit zooms, more highly corrected, have little or no geometric distortion, and are usually of a higher resolution giving corner to corner image sharpness. The down side is a crop factor of 2 (for example making a 50mm film lens effectively a 100mm lens) and manual focussing.

This year, Samsung and Sony jumped on the mirror-less bandwagon. Both elected to use the larger APS-C sensor rather than follow the micro four-thirds standard. This allowed them to design for a 1.5 crop factor and gives the possibility of even greater sensitivity and lower noise. The Sony NEX-5 is arguably the smallest of the new breed and certainly the most controversial. There is no viewfinder - Sony went with a high resolution articulated viewing screen instead. At 920,000 pixels it is nearly double the resolution of any other screen on the market. And no built in flash - it comes with a dinky little plug-in flash. The camera has only a few buttons and wheels with most functions in a colourful menu. The buttons on the top are dedicated. A shutter release, and a second one for instantly recording an HD video, an on/off switch and a toggle to switch between taking pictures and viewing them. On the back is the usual control wheel and two unlabeled buttons. The wheel and buttons are context sensitive - what they do depends on what you have chosen. And the bottom button along with some control wheel buttons can be set to the owner's preferred functions.

When a manual lens is mounted, a button switches to MF Assist. Press it once for a 7x magnification of part of the viewing screen and again for a 14x magnification. The magnified spot can be moved by pressing one of the four spots on the control wheel. Beautiful.

The evening finished with the results of the silent auction which was underway through out the evening and earned the PHSC nearly $170.


This page was designed in Dreamweaver CS5 on an iMac running OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard). Unless otherwise noted, images on this page were taken with a Sony NEX-5 digital still camera and subsequently adjusted in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom V3.3 and Photoshop CS5. Contents and all images are ©2011 by the Photographic Historical Society of Canada and may be used freely provided the source is clearly indicated. The images of Sheldon Chen and Bob Carter were taken by Robert Lansdale with a Nikon D70. Contact PHSC at info@phsc.ca if you would like more information on the items discussed on this page. Clicking on all but the panorama images will pop up a larger view.

Bob Carter

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