goin’ to the fair …

May 2012 – at the Soccer Centre. Ed gets ready to do a photo shoot

Toronto. Today’s the day folks. Hustle on down to the Trident Hall and visit the PHSC spring 2023 fair. At left you see an executive of the PHSC photographing a young lady (that year we had a display as well as the show).

Remember, at the Hall today, you can get stuff for your collection – film or digital. Or perhaps a bit of added user gear. Or both!

Free parking, lots of bargains. Lots of food. Admission is down right cheap! Our fair chairmen, Mark and Clint have worked to bring you a rewarding event this spring. Hard to imagine anyone who is into cameras, images, photo history, etc. not visiting  our fair today.

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trying for the gravy train

Tackling TV instead of ducking it

Toronto. When TV hit the big time, radio and movies were predicted to die. Fortunately both survived TV. In any case companies relying on the movies tried to expand their market by hopping on the TV bandwagon.

Among them was a retailer of a major motion picture camera maker – Auricon. In the August, 1953 in an ad placed in Popular Mechanics, the camera retailer, BERNDT-BACH, Inc. pushed a cheaper Auricon to movie neophytes as a means to make money by shooting TV films complete with synchronized sound.

A big thanks to my good friend, George Dunbar, for spotting and sharing this advertisement with its ideas on tackling the impact of Television head on. PS – visit our fair this Sunday for collectibles and user gear. You may find a great movie camera and more!

NB. The closest song I recalled that fit was one called. “Video Killed the Radio Star“…

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when ‘BC’ meant battery-capacitor

the days of battery-capacitor flash guns that worked even with nearly dead batteries

Toronto. One of the nagging things affecting the wide use of flash bulbs was the risk of having dying batteries when the old camera and flash were dug out to be used for an event.

For a brief period of time (before cheap and small electronic flashes appeared) someone came up with the clever idea of charging a capacitor and using its EMF to trigger the flash bulb.

Then, a nearly dead battery would just mean a bit longer to charge – a sign that the battery was about to expire, but the flash bulb would still trigger and recording the ‘event’ would be a success. By the way, if you don’t have this old fashioned accessory in your collection, you may find one at our spring fair this coming Sunday.  Come on down and join in the fun. You may just discover that missing piece for your collection (or user need).

This ad for Kodak in the September 1953 issue of Popular Mechanics was typical of add-on B-C flashguns and brackets. A big thanks to my good friend and fellow PHSC member, George Dunbar,  for discovering and sharing this bit of history. Today, our cameras and smartphones all have tiny electronic flashes built-in and ready to go into service any time they are needed – if you remembered to charge the camera or ‘phone …

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whatcha doin’ this Sunday?

our editor, Bob Lansdale, catches a snooze after the 2017 spring fair!

Toronto. Like many of us, come on and join in at the Spring Photographica-fair! Meet old friends, get some added pieces for your collection, buy some stuff for your film or digital gear.

Now that COVID is well on the way to being but a distant smear on history, we are holding spring and fall fairs on a Sunday at the Trident Hall.

Click the above link for poster and directions for the Spring Fair this coming Sunday.

Don’t don’t miss out on the fun and food at this grand event in the west end of the big smoke! Lots of food, free parking, bargains, and like minded people ready to chat and visit.

See you Sunday!

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shooting at the moon

Full moon. December 2010 with Sony NEX-5, tripod, remote control and a Leitz Telyt 200mm lens plus a conversion ring

Toronto. Happy Victoria day to all. According to the TV, this holiday’s name eludes most people these days as they seem to be non-British folk. The actual holiday is celebrated the first Monday on or just before the 24th. Initially, it was celebrated in Canada as Queen Victoria’s birthday. It has since been designated as the day we celebrate the birthday of the reigning Queen/King of England and the commonwealth.

Meantime, back to the post title. Eventually we all seem to decide to take a photograph of our moon. This is best done during a full moon and with a camera and telephoto lens sturdily mounted on a tripod. The moon at that time is surprisingly bright. It reflects our sun in the darkness of the night sky. In the above photograph, I used software to crop and sharpen the image captured by my little Sony mirrorless digital camera.

The moon or other celestial bodies can be included in a photograph to add charm and peace. If you haven’t yet tried your hand at ‘moon shots’, try some out. Our fairs (our spring fair is this coming Sunday May 28, 2023) are a great source of telephoto lenses and tripods. Come on out and visit – you may find ‘must have’ items for your collection too!

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get some halifax-shun

end of an era in Halifax, NS

Toronto. George sent me a few photos the other day including this gem from the Nova Scotia Archives Photo Collection. This is simply another example of the importance of photography in recording history and the ability of archives to hold and display such photographic resources.

I wonder who today would otherwise know that in March of 1949 tram-car service in the main part of Halifax was ended?

Thank you, George Dunbar, for discovering the Archives and this photograph.

Note. The title of this post is a riff on the 1965 song sung by the Rolling Stones, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction“. While I tend more to Beatles, the ‘Stones song brings back memories to me as it was often played on radio back then.

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do you remember Kodachrome?

1953 – A Kodachrome slide carefully exposed in bright sun

Toronto. From the late 1800s to pre WW2, colour was a huge challenge. The additive colour process was very slow. Mosaics and fine screens were used to record and display colour photographs.

Colour photography was revolutionized in 1935 when Kodachrome subtractive colour film came to market. While faster than the old processes, it was still slow and contrasty but with an  incredibly increased resolution.

Kodachrome development was so complex (numerous baths, tight time and temperature demands) that customer bought both film and processing with exposed film returned to Kodak for processing. Shades of the original Kodak Camera of the 1880s!

Eventually the American government intervened and film price was separated from the processing cost opening the door to third party developers.

The following year, Agfa in Europe marketed a subtractive system. The proprietary system used larger molecules resulting in a simpler development process and a difference in colour emphasis than Kodachrome. After WW2, spoils of the war included the Agfa process, opening the somewhat faster, less contrasty, and simpler development to all.

With the Agfa style films, it was possible to bulk load colour 35mm film and process it at home, something that was ‘beyond the ken’ for Kodachrome.

In the summer of 1953, Kodak advertised the ‘magic’ of Kodachrome colour and the many Kodak products that recorded and displayed the Kodachrome slides. A grateful thank you is in order to George Dunbar for his discovery and sharing of the above two page June 1953 advertisement in Popular Mechanics.

As all thing eventually must, Kodachrome disappeared from the market. The last processing run in North America was the end of 2010 followed/preceded by other colour transparency films.

Today, with digital technology many have never sat in a darkened room to view projected slides. Smartphones create tons of colour images seemingly without effort and seconds later all chosen images can be sent next door or around the world at the touch of the screen!

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golden rule days

Gordon Bay School c1905/6 in Muskoka Area of Ontario

Toronto. Remember your grade school days? My dad went to a little one room country school. At his school, children couldn’t attend unless they could walk the miles from farm to school house. He was seven when he started school. Until then, he was home taught by his mother.

This photo, enhanced by George Dunbar, is courtesy of the Humphrey Museum in Parry Sound.  As mentioned in earlier posts, museums and archives are a rich source of photographic images and history. In this case the Museum is located in Northern Ontario.

A big thanks to George for finding and sharing this piece of Canadian history and the idea of searching for school images.

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another way to make money …

a book for a quarter – and a sleeve from Westinghouse flash bulbs

Toronto. … with photography! Weegee in NYC last century seemed to find many ways to make money from his photography besides taking street photos at night of crimes, etc. –  like books and promotions.

George Dunbar writes, “Weegee, one of the greatest examples of an entrepreneur extraordinaire.

“He appeared in this ad for flashbulbs in Popular Mechanics Magazine, March 1953.

“It wouldn’t be surprising if he received a few year’s supply of Westinghouse bulbs for this.”

Many of our readers remember Arthur Fellig (a.k.a. Weegee) and his night time shots on the streets of New York with his Speed Graphic and flash gun. We owe my friend and fellow PHSC member a hearty thanks for finding and sharing this 1953 ad about a promotion between Weegee and Westinghouse.

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an upside down view – February 1953 article in Popular Mechanics

Toronto. When I saw this article sent to me by George Dunbar, it reminded me of two things: the movie shorts about  ‘Our Gang‘ and the Saturday Evening Post sketches by well known illustrator, Norman Rockwell.

Anyone who studied optics or anatomy knows the world we see is really upside down, and righted by our brain. Modern generations often have smart phones – even grade school kids – and no idea that the old film field cameras with a ground glass back for framing and focussing show the scene reversed and upside down! Photographers of that period were use to the ground glass image.

A big thank you goes to George Dunbar, that great photo historian, for finding and sharing the article with us.

Note: This post is in memory of an old 1960s band called, “Spanky and Our Gang“. Here they sing one of their top songs on Sunday night’s Ed Sullivan Show, “Sunday will Never be the Same“.

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