we have Contact

courtesy of Nascipio Filho: Hannah from the series “In Silence”

Toronto. We always appreciate the efforts of our favourite editor, Rita Godlevskis, of PhotoEd.

Rita recently sent a notice out of her activities at PhotoEd including a section on this year’s Contact festival sponsored by Scotiabank.

I took the liberty of displaying the photo at left by Nascipio Filho – just one of the many photographs on display around the city this year.

If you haven’t already done so, be sure to see the fine works on display at Contact 2022.

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a niche in time

Modern version of Chevalier’s landscape lens in Canon (or Nikon) mount.

Toronto. For the past couple of decades, die hard film (analogue) fans have flocked to our fairs and auctions to buy and use old cameras and film. The folks at Lomography have aided and abetted these die hards with cameras, lenses and films that allow people to dabble in photographic history and take photos reminiscent of over a century ago.

They have announced that the original Daguerreotype two element lens is coming on market again next month or so in either a black or satin aluminum mount designed to fit the modern digital camera (a Canon EF mount or Nikon F mount). The focal length has been shortened to 64mm and through the use of waterhouse stops, modern enthusiasts can use the lens not only at f/16 (f/15 originally) but at increments as wide as f/2.9 with all the glorious distortion corrected by stopping down to f/16.

From their most recent announcement I pulled this material, “Daguerreotype Achromat 2.9/64 Art Lens Aluminium Black, Canon EF Mount.

“A Modern Twist on a Revered Photographic Classic – enjoy the unique aesthetic of this historic Art Lens in a sleek black aluminium finish for your Canon EF mounts or mirrorless cameras using adapters.

  • “Enjoy the ethereal aesthetic of the Daguerreotype Achromat in a lustrous onyx black finish
  • “Experience the premium quality craftsmanship of the Lomography Art Lens family
  • “Discover a modern twist for the world’s first photographic optic lens
  • “Unlock total creative freedom and advanced experimentation”

Focal Length: 64 mm
Lens Aperture System: Waterhouse Aperture Plates
Closest Focusing Distance: 0.5 m
Lens Focussing: Manual Focusing Ring
Available Apertures: f/2.9, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16
Filter Thread: 40.5 mm
Lens Material: Multi–Coated Glass
Lens Body Material: Anodized Aluminum
lens_family: Daguerrotype Achromat

Estimated shipping: 2022-06

The post title is a riff on an old proverb, “a stitch in time saves nine“.

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selective lighting – no sync cable needed

article on special aerial shutter in 1945

Toronto. The photo at left is from an article in the June, 1945 issue of Popular Mechanics. As the war in the Pacific neared its end (the war in Europe had already ended a few weeks earlier), American techies continued to work on aerial cameras to improve the images taken and reduce film waste.

One idea was this special shutter – on the camera at lower right but enlarged and shown at the centre of this photograph. The shutter saved film by allowing an exposure to be snapped only by the light of the ‘bomb flash’ from the aircraft carrying the camera – remaining insensitive to extraneous lights such as search lights, flak, etc.

A big thank you to my good friend, George Dunbar, for sharing this bit of history with us. Today, digital smartphones have simply made wires, glass photo cells, and mechanical devices forgotten bits of historical nostalgia for those of us who can still remember such things.

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a brilliant idea

1933 ad for a Voigtlander Brilliant TLR as an auxiliary still camera

Toronto. For most of the 20th century, film reigned supreme in photography. In 1933 for example, the cheap Voigtlander Brilliant TLR camera was touted as the “The New ‘Good Companion’ for Movie Directors” in the April, 1933 edition of the magazine, International  Photographer.  The ad suggested that a director could snap a scene as a still whenever he felt it worthy while his cameraman continued to record the move version.

This idea was done with many cameras over the years, sometimes with a still camera mounted directly on the movie camera set up. More recently, video cameras that record directly to solid state memory had an option to grab a still of any scene recorded – on the fly by simply tripping an auxiliary shutter – without stoping the video recording.

A thank you to good friend, George Dunbar, for suggesting this ad which brought to my mind other movie/still options used over the decades.  Modern day smartphones have lots of photo/camera options. I recently saw a movie short that had a massive movie/still ‘electronic’ camera featured as a ‘wave of the future’ – now-a-days a shirt or pants pocket can hold a ‘tiny’ smartphone with all the predicted features and more built-in!

We are blessed to live in such exciting times.

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be still, my heart

Kong a top the “Empire State building” holds Fay Wray while fending off airplanes

Toronto. I don’t remember when I first saw the movie King Kong, but I was transfixed by the adventure. Years later I was astonished to learn that some scenes of the huge ape were shot with a six inch model of Kong. The stills portray a fighting monster climbing the Empire State building in NYC with poor Fay Wray in one hand while he tries to battle the pesky bi-planes buzzing around his head.

In the article about King Kong from the March 1933 issue of International Photographer, you can see just how remarkable the movie was back in 1933. An amazing story about the making of an amazing movie!  Talkies, the Empire State building, and airplanes were all relatively new at the time.

A tip of the hat to our roving photographic historian, George Dunbar, for not only unearthing this tale but for sharing it with us. Thank you, my good friend!

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to colour or not to colour – that is the question

Ronnie, the Bren Gun Girl (during WW2)

Toronto. Now-a-days most photos are taken in colour. Black and white is just one of the ‘special effects’ that can be used. Some apps like Photoshop even let you adjust various colours to be darker or lighter shades of grey. Some military photos were actually taken in colour as we heard back at our November 19, 2011 presentation on “WW2 Colour Photographs” by Shannon Perry.

Before the 1970s (or so) most photos were taken in black and white. Once taken, prints could be made and then ‘colourized’. During the war, color photographs became popular for magazine covers and special purposes. In this regard, many monochrome prints of WW2 scenes were colourized both during the war period and after.

The cut-line for the print used in this post names the subject and the person who colourized the print but not the photographer, saying, “Veronica Foster, (b.1922 – .2000) popularly known as “Ronnie, the Bren Gun Girl”, was a Canadian icon representing nearly one million Canadian women who worked in the manufacturing plants that produced munitions and materiel during World War II. (Colourized by Paul Reynolds. Historic Military Photo Colourisations).

Thank you to that good friend and fellow PHSC member, George Dunbar, for finding this photograph and sharing it with us. The post title is a riff on a line in a famous play by that bard of centuries ago, William Shakespeare.

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when a built-in range finder was news

ad for the Leica D model in 1932

Toronto. Since  before the Leica, Leitz made and sold various range finders. In  the summer of 1932, Leitz announced a new model of their tiny camera with the range finder built-in. A magnification of the scene compensated for its short base. The little gem could be used with selected lenses up to 135mm focal length. Beyond that, a ‘mirror box’ accessory was used (longer lenses than 135mm and mirror boxes came to market a few years after this camera).

Leitz were die-hards firmly believing a squinty view through a range finder was better than any other option since the range finder focussing was more accurate for lenses up to 135mm and therefor all photographers would prefer the range finder.

Single lens reflex cameras a few decades later told a different story.  The ad above at left is from the June 1932 issue of American Cinematographer magazine courtesy of my good friend, George Dunbar, who shared it with us. Outside the USA, of course, the model D was defined world-wide as the Leica II.

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another important job for photography

Fairchild K-18 Aerial Camera with 24 inch lens

Toronto. The May 1945 Popular Mechanics has a small article on the use of the Fairchild Aerial Camera and its 24 inch lens over Tokyo. In the waning days of WW2, America was getting ready to end things in the Pacific with its historic bombing of Japan (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) with the world’s first atomic bombs (dirty bombs that exploded radioactive uranium to make  a lot of heat, lesser elements, plus a lot of dangerous radiation).

Work was underway in the southwestern states to perfect the bombs while mapping and weather forecasting technology watched over Japan. George Dunbar discovered this piece of photographic history from that bellicose period (sound familiar) and shared it with me.

Now, nearly 8 decades later and far wiser about bombs, war and radiation (Three Mile Island; Chernobyl; etc), we still have demigods who haven’t learnt or refuse to learn of the terrible dangers to the world if radiation is once again cut loose – be it by accident or design.

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it’s a wide wide world

Legendary Peaks, Three Peaks, Dolomites, Italy – copyright by Daniel Trippolt

Toronto. It’s time again to enter your pano shots to the Epson Pano Awards for 2022. Daniel Trippolt was chosen as this year’s top amateur photographer. The photo at left is an example of his work.

Daniel writes, “I was born in 1992 and come from Carinthia / Austria. I discovered my passion for photography when I was 12 years old when my father gave me my first camera. Every free second of my free time was used to take photos of everything and everyone. From animal photography to sports, architecture and portrait photography, I tried everything and found my greatest passion and hobby in landscape photography. Here I am very much into hyperreal landscape photography, which distinguishes me from most Austrian landscape photographers.

“Landscape photography has become a huge part of my life, even if I don’t have as much time to invest as full-time landscape photographers. The Corona [COVID] crisis in the last two years has limited my landscape photography hobby a lot. Which is why I’m all the more happy about my success in this competition.

“In 2017 I could finally buy my first digital reflex camera and since then I have not stopped learning and perfecting myself in this beautiful art being able to combine my passion for photography and nature, until now I have not stopped documenting myself in an autodidactic way learning to understand light and perfecting my technique in the use of the camera as well as in the subsequent digital edition of my images which for me is something fundamental. My specialty is landscape photography but I have also developed a special interest in architectural and wildlife photography.”

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shine a light on me

shadow in the garden

Toronto. One of the most important things in photography is lighting. The choice of illumination sets the tone and atmosphere of the resulting image. Natural light aficionados  have it easier – choose the angle and framing for the best shot. Close-ups can use a light tent, or careful placement (and a single light source).

Studio perfectionists have it much harder. Lighting must be chosen to cast the right shadows; to brighten the right areas; to set the overall mood the photographer wants to capture.

On the How-To Geek website, the post called, “The Best Photography Lighting Kits of 2022” is a review by ELIZABETH HENGES of the article by JOHN BOGNA. Have a look at the available lighting gear John recommends.

The post title is that of a song by BANNERS.


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