Halifax Explosion Dec 6 1917

100th Anniversary of Halifax Explosion

Toronto. Just after 9 am in the morning, 100 years ago, Halifax was rocked with a massive explosion that killed almost 2,000 residents – mostly children and youths – and severely injured some 9,000 more.

A French munitions ship from NYC was docking at Halifax before heading across to France and the Great War. As the ship came down the narrows to the docks, the outbound Norwegian vessel, Imo, was heading for NYC to load clothing and food for Belgium. The unloaded Imo accidentally  rammed the Mont-Blanc setting fire to the chemicals on the deck. Minutes later the cargo in the holds went off.

The explosion was seen, heard, and felt many miles away. During rescue efforts the next day, Halifax and Nova Scotia were subjected to a blinding snowstorm.  Go to CTV’s W5 to see reporting of this event.

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News from the guys out West

Voigtlander Vitessa 35 mmm camera

Toronto. The Western Canada Photographic Historical Association (WCPHA) send their latest newsletter.  Along with notes on the add-on frame viewers, and Voigtlander Vitessa 35mm camera, the folks announce  their Christmas get together tomorrow, December 6th.

A friend of ours had a jammed Vitessa, but the cost of repair even for me was more than a working Vitessa in cosmetically excellent condition would cost at the time. They kept the defunct camera as a family memento.

Click the icon at left to read and print the newsletter.

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Graflex Journal Issue 3-2017 now available

Massive 5×7 Press Graflex
compared to a Hasselblad

Toronto. Ken Metcalf down in North Carolina has released his third and final edition of the Graflex Journal for this year.

Issue 3 covers The Graphic 35 Electric (Michael Parker), The Press Graflex (Jim Chasse) as shown at left, Images of America book review, Graflex Identification Cameras (Ken Metcalf), Graflex Ads (George Dunbar), and John Adams letter to Tim Holden in 1983 (in part about the Big Bertha camera).

Click the above text link to read or print this issue. Enjoy!

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Photographic Canadiana 43-3 is coming

PC Journal 43-3

Toronto. Okay all you folk who are members – the latest exciting issue of our favourite journal will be packaged late this week!

We have the Toronto Notes column up front covering the first two fall meetings. This column is followed by a lengthy synopsis of Natalie Banasazak’s thoughtful thesis on the earliest architecture photographs in exhibitions (in England) and the business model early architects used to sell copies of the photographs.

Bob Lansdale then offers his insightful article on the history of acetylene illumination. The fall fair report and photos are next followed by two book reviews, Write! Shoot! Edit! by Deb Patz and 19th Century Photographic Lenses by Corrado d’Agostini. As usual there are lots of inserts for last minute news items, etc.

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and then there was the smartphone…

comparing light for
iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone X
telephoto lens

Toronto. When I first bought a Sony F-828 camera at the end of its production and marketing, I bought my wife a thin, pocket sized Sony point and shoot T7 with a 3:1 Zeiss zoom lens and a 3.3 megapixel sensor. The F-828 had an 8 megapixel sensor and a beautiful Zeiss zoom lens. The camera was massive and heavy. Both took jpeg files and used different batteries and chargers.

The recently announced Apple smartphones (caution: the linked   Macworld site has a ton of annoying ads) have a higher pixel rating, two lenses and stabilizing circuitry, plus automatic colour balance, exposure, aperture and speed settings. The camera in the iPhone X is 12 megapixel – twice the size of my decade-plus old F-828 and nearly 4x that in my wife’s T7, The two lenses are about equivalent to a 28mm and 56mm camera lens.

The clever aspect is this: The wide-angle has a larger aperture so if the light is dim and the telephoto is selected, the camera uses a cropped version of an image taken with the wide-angle lens instead!

And anyone who owns a smartphone usually has it with him, ready to snap a family or even a news-worthy photo. So the question is, with smartphones, “who needs a camera today”?

You can learn more on family photos by hearing our December speaker, Dr Jennifer Orpana of the ROM who will speak on Family Photo Archives!


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the era of digital cameras

Two simultaneous injections are easier on the tiny patient

Toronto. The trend from the beginning of photography in 1839 was improved simplicity and accuracy. Today, with the era of digital photography, the making of a photograph is simplicity beyond belief: Focus, exposure, light balance, speed, and aperture are set automatically on the fly.  Images appear on the camera back instantaneously. Shaky? Blurry? Poorly framed? Shoot again!

No need to print – send to friends by email or internet. Just store it on a computer and for the truly old fashioned, a few quick presses of computer keys (and a few seconds), then the computer’s inkjet printer shoots out a copy – even on a print-like 4×6 inch piece of glossy or matt paper if you so choose.

The above image was taken by me back in 2012 with a Sony digital camera. The subject was my baby granddaughter being immunized in her doctor’s office. A Kodak moment indeed!

To learn more, come and hear our December speaker, Dr Jennifer Orpana of the ROM who will speak on Family Photo Archives!

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Dr Orpana of ROM on Family Photo Archives

Dr Jennifer Orpana of the ROM

Toronto. PHSC Meeting, Wednesday, Dec 20, 2017
Christmas Snapshots from the Family Archives
Dr Jennifer Orpana of the ROM

Come out and listen to Dr Orpana speak on the Christmas snapshots in the family archives held by the ROM. Bring along your own Christmas Snapshot to share with the group. And enjoy the annual gift exchange and silent auction (my thanks to Bob Lansdale for producing the announcement posted below).

The public is always welcome. Go to our Programs page for directions.


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snap-shots for the common man

Me and my pooch
Allandale Station in background

Toronto. in the 1900s photography took off. Almost everyone could afford a Kodak and shoot family photographs. My dad took this snap c1940 with his trusty Kodak Jr Brownie Six-20 folder.

Like millions of families world-wide, my father photographed every day life so we would have a record years later. These family oriented snap-shots demanded the use of Kodak roll film and a Kodak camera – folder or box. While some alternative cameras and films existed, the vast majority of families used Kodak products. We are all familiar with that old bromide, A Kodak moment…   

See if you can find an old shoe-box of black and white prints showing special family events and relatives over a half century ago. And for more on the topic, join us in December when Dr Jennifer Orpana of the ROM will speak on Family Photo Archives!

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enjoy Photo News 26-4

Photo News 26-4

Toronto. A few weeks back, I had the pleasure of bumping into Norm Rosen at our fall fair. Norm is the editor of the magazine PHOTO NEWS. Then just last week, I enjoyed Norm’s latest opus at breakfast – the magazine was a free insert in my Globe newspaper for that morning.

The focus of the latest issue was Snow – a common Canadian commodity at this time of year. Previous issues are now online at the Photo News website. This issue should be up as well in a few weeks.

Check this and all issues for timely tips, and arresting articles and photographs by leading photographers. This is a rare magazine giving precedence to Canadians – even the ads, all of which I found interesting to me.

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Let George do it

Mr George Eastman
of Rochester NY

Toronto. The dry plate process as described by Dr Maddox quickly reached North America and served as the basis for George Eastman to quit his bank job and establish the Eastman Plate Company in 1881. He had experimented with dry plates even before the pivotal paper by Dr Maddox in the BJP. A few years later, he began making and improving the roll film on a flexible backing. The earliest versions were called stripping films since the developed emulsion had to be stripped off its backing and placed on glass to be contact printed since the film first used was optically impure.

In 1888, Eastman came up with the ubiquitous Kodak roll film camera and his famous slogan you press the button and we do the rest. Quick improvements in camera and roll film finally made photography a universal hobby. Finally, anyone could snap a decent photo. Almost all photography was black and white, but reasonably fast – and very easy!

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