Dateline 5 February 2017

May Savage Trophy

Jill Flower

In memory of May Savage, a greatly missed long-term member of the society, her family donated this beautiful trophy. It is a splendid example of wood-turning from burr elm.

Photographs by Peter Flower

They requested that it be awarded for a 'Natural Beauty' picture. The committee have determined that this shall be selected by the judge for the Annual Exhibition prints, irrespective of class, to include both colour and monochrome. May was well-known for her excellent print work and supported environmental causes. Just two examples of her excellent monochrome prints, rephotographed from the originals, are shown below.

© May Savage

 

Action this day !

A reminder that the 'Get Creative' event is scheduled for 13 March 2017. Time NOW to get busy adapting and/or combining the images provided by Jill Flower, using Photoshop, Picasa, Hipstamatic or whatever application you prefer. There were some incredibly ingenious images in the last competition, so we expect even more this time. 

Don Morley

Two items -

First, an appeal by Don for possible help - “Wanted, so as to get some order out of the chaos! I desperately want to purchase some old fashioned film type negative film strip files or better still books. I need 35mm and 120 negative film file sizes and as many as I can get please AND I will even pay money! Don Morley 01737 763765.”

Second, news that is not strictly photographic but indicative of the esteem in which he is held by an organisation that is associated with his second passion – motorcycling. He has been invited, and accepted, to become the next honorary president of the 'Association Of Pioneer Motorcyclists' (APMC). This was founded in 1928 and with a membership mostly made up of some of the most famous motorcycling names in history. Don will become their 49th president. The letter recording Don's acceptance mentions his renown as a photographer and author of many books, as well as his participation in many different forms of motorcycling competitions.

This is yet a further recognition of Don's long-term dedication to a form of sport that he has has pursued, and recorded photographically, over many decades.

Leica M10

Techman

The Leica M10 is a 24 megapixel full-frame, manual focus camera with a coupled rangefinder focusing system, a tunnel-type optical viewfinder, no video mode and not even a USB socket. It is the thinnest digital M digital camera to date. Compared to earlier M models it has an increased ISO range of ISO 100 - ISO 50,000, an ISO setting dial on top of the camera, wireless connectivity and a joystick control. Rear controls are kept to a minimum, including Play, Live View, Menu and the joystick control. A 2GB internal buffer allows continuous shooting mode of 5fps. The Leica M-App enables image transfer between phone and camera, and those with an iOS device have the advantage that the latest OS will be able to handle DNG files. The application also allows remote control of the M10. The camera, body only, will be available at a cost of £5600.

Many photographers appreciate the dimensions of analogue M-Camera models for their perfect ergonomics and their fit in the hands. The Leica M10 marks the return to precisely these dimensions. The following image, courtesy of Leica, illustrates the similarity between an earlier (film) Leica M4 and the current digital M10.

Comment

PF

I watched a video of 'Leica: A Celebration of Photography' event at Leitz Park, Wetzlar, when the new M10 was ceremonially marched into the room. Ironically, despite the fact that many attendees were sporting their own Leica kit there was evidence of many recording the event on smartphones!

New Fujifilm models

Techman

These new models were introduced in mid-January.

X100F

The Fujifilm X100F is the company's fourth-generation fixed lens camera with an APS-C sensor. It retains the same rangerfinder design of its predecessors, but adds an AF point joystick as well as an ISO dial on the top plate. The 35mm equivalent f/2 lens is retained, as is the unique hybrid viewfinder and fixed 3" LCD screen. The camera has a new 24.3 megapixel CMOS sensor along with an updated image processor. It has an electronic shutter with a top speed of 1/32000 sec. Wi-Fi is also featured.

X-T20

The Fujifilm X-T20, follow-up to the X-T10, now has a 24 megapixel X-Trans APS-C CMOS sensor, improved image processor, and new autofocus algorithms. The compact body is made of a magnesium alloy and the top plate has direct controls for exposure compensation and shutter speed. On the back of the camera is a 3" touchscreen LCD as well as a high resolution electronic viewfinder. 4K video capture and Wi-Fi feature as well.

XP120

The Fujifilm XP120 is a compact camera designed for the outdoors. It is waterproof to 20m/65ft, shockproof to 1.75m/5.8ft and freeze-proof to -10C. It uses a 16.4MP BSI-CMOS sensor along with a 5X, 28-140mm equivalent lens. It has a 3" LCD display, interval shooting and Wi-Fi. It is available in blue, sky blue, yellow and green.

Panasonic FZ82

Techman

This new bridge camera was announced in early January but is due for availability in March at a price of £329. The FZ82 is an update to its FZ72 superzoom camera. It has the same 60x, 20-1200mm f/2.8-5.9 zoom lens but adds an 18 megapixel sensor and updated processor, bringing the video specification up to 4K. With 4K comes Panasonic's assortment of 4K-driven modes including Post Focus, Focus Stacking and 4K Photo. High speed video has been added as well, including 240 fps 640 x 480 and 120 fps 1280 x 720 options. Other features include 10 fps bursts (with focus locked), a 3" 1040k-dot touchscreen LCD, electronic viewfinder and Wi-Fi.

Pentax KP

Techman

Ricoh has announced the Pentax KP, the follow-up to the K-3 II, which features a new 'high sensitivity' 24 megapixel sensor and improved in-body image stabilization system.

The new CMOS sensor allows a top ISO of 819,200 and an electronic shutter up to 1/24000 sec (the mechanical shutter goes to 1/6000 sec). The KP uses the new 5-axis 'Shake Reduction II' IBIS system, first seen on the K-1 full-framer, which offers up to 5 stops of stabilization according to Ricoh. The KP uses the same autofocus system as the K-3 II, with 27 points, 25 of which are cross-type. The body is relatively compact, sealed against dust and moisture. It has a pentaprism viewfinder with nearly 100% coverage as well as a tilting 3" touchscreen display. The KP can shoot continuously at up to 7 fps. It also has built-in Wi-Fi. It doesn't have an HDMI port, instead using something called SlimPort, which can send HD video over a micro USB port. A dongle for HDMI is available at extra cost.

The KP will be available in a choice of silver or black in late February for £1099 body-only.

Fujifilm GF670 film camera

Techman

This rangefinder film camera was introduced in 2008, and was discontinued in 2014. However, thanks to a cache reportedly found in a Fujifilm warehouse the public, possibly limited to America, will soon be able to purchase new units of this discontinued model. The information comes from The Phoblographer which reports it was informed about the matter during a recent Fujifilm event in New York City. B&H Photo's website lists the GF670 as 'back-ordered' with an availability date of early February. The price is currently listed as $1799 and includes a one-year warranty.

Ferrania P30 Black & White Film

Techman

Further evidence of a potential resurgence of interest in film is shown by FILM Ferrania's announcement of the ‘rebirth’ of its P30 black and white film, which will be made available soon as a limited 'ALPHA' edition. This 80 ISO panchromatic offering is described by FILM Ferrania as ‘motion picture film for still photography,’ reintroducing the P30 stock first launched by the company in the 1960's. According to the company, its pre-production batch of film presents ‘various defects’ like contrast issues and scratches, but these issues will not be present in the finalized commercial film product. These problems are clearly evident in an early set of images.

Quiz Night – 23 January 2017 – Les Dyson, Colin Hodsdon, Marion Gatland and Grahame Singleton

Report by Peter Flower

There was a slightly disappointing turn-out for this event, which was a pity because the four members posing the questions had obviously put considerable effort into providing a varied and interesting set of questions to be answered. There were three teams, each of four members, competing. The chosen names for the teams were the A-Team, Eyore and F-Stop. As a departure from the usual award system, which resulted in the winning team having to run the next year's event, Les announced that this honour (!) would fall to the losing team. This would overcome the questionable practice of the potential winners deliberately posting low marks in the final round.

Les started off with a series of questions that were based on photographic subjects. Ones such as 'name the camera setting missing from this list - Program, aperture priority, manual' were not difficult (speed priority), but others such as the date that the very last Kodachrome film was processed were more difficult. Also there was a question about the number of Hasselblad cameras that had been left on the moon by NASA astronauts. (Refer to Footnote 2 below for comments)

Colin then posed a series of more general questions in a two-part sequence. The second was particularly intriguing in that some apparently varied answers were required which gave a clue to an overall theme for the final question – how were they linked? The answers were in fact all the nicknames for league football teams, such as Norwich (Canaries) and Arsenal (Gunners). The last one was difficult, based on the rank of the soldiers in 'It Ain't Half Hot, Mum'. How did 'Private' fit in as a clue to the final answer?

After the tea break the projector was switched on for the remaining two question sessions.

Marion showed a sequence of thirty bird photographs, of which we had to identify twenty. Forget about simple identities, like herring gull or robin! However, knowing that Marion often visited Cornwall for her holidays it was not difficult to guess that a Cornish chough would feature somewhere. (Note: The chough features on the coat of arms of Cornwall, proudly sitting on top of the crest flanked by a tin miner and fisherman as a striking reminder of Cornwall’s proud traditions) As if things weren't difficult enough John Fisher asked if Marion wanted the Latin names for each species! The final series of questions had been set by Grahame. Iconic photographs were projected that had to be linked to their authors. Grahame had very kindly provided the names of the photographers, prefixed by a letter to link to each image. However, as Eric Morecambe famously (almost) said 'All the right names but not necessarily in the right order'! Although most of the photographers were well-known Grahame had not always chosen their most well-known images. The following one created problems because so many thought that, being Paris, it was the work of Cartier-Bresson, whereas it was in fact by Elliott Erwitt. (Refer to Footnote 2)

Photograph from internet source – acknowledgement to Elliott Erwitt

Les provided information on the running scores throughout the five rounds. At round four F-Stop were well ahead, with Eyore second, and the A-Team (of which I was a member) lagging two points behind. Fortunately, we were able to link more photographers to their iconic images and score ten points against the five for the other two teams, which elevated us to second place. The F-Stop team (John Gall, Peter Tucker, Jill Elliott and Alan Thorpe) were overall winners, followed by the A-Team (Stephen Hewes, Peter and Jill Flower, and Gerry Stone), and with Eyore (John Fisher, Paul Renaut, Louise Barker and Anthea Post) coming last, but with the honour of winning the valued privilege of organising next year' s event.

Thanks to the efforts of the organising team, the variety of questions and the good-natured banter from the competitors this was a very entertaining evening.

Footnote 1

Coincidentally, it was a quiz about iconic photographers and their images that was the subject by me of the first-ever digital presentation at a society event. This was a quiz that I set in 2003. I don't have a record of the actual date, but I do know that the images which were presented were taken on 15 May 2003. I did not have a digital camera at that time, but used the JVC GR-DV3000 camcorder which could take still photographs on an SD card at 1.92 MB. At that time Jill was working for Legal & General at Kingswood and was able to borrow a digital projector for the evening. I detailed this event in the report entitled 'The first and the last' in Newsletter 84. One of the images shown in the picture collage of that event was the same Cartier-Bresson photograph of men looking through a fence that Grahame included in his series. Perhaps his best-known photograph is that of a man leaping across a pool of water. What many people do not realise is that there appears to be another leaping figure on a poster in the background, as shown in the cropped picture.

Photographs from internet source – acknowledgement to Henri Cartier-Bresson

Footnote 2

Regarding the number of Hasselblad cameras left on the moon, in my article in Newsletter 89 I quoted an internet site that reported all 12 cameras being left on the moon. Les obtained his answer of 11 from another source. This is where it starts getting complicated!

This photo provided by Galerie Westlicht in Vienna shows a Hasselblad 500 camera which was part of the equipment carried by the 1971 Apollo 15 mission and claimed to be the only camera ever bought back from the moon. It was put on auction Saturday, March 22, 2014 and was sold for nearly 760,000 US dollar. Westlicht identified the new owner as Japanese businessman Terukazu Fujisawa. It said the owner of an electronics chain placed his winning bid of 550,000 euros by phone. (AP Photo/Galerie Westlicht)

The gallery initially described the Hasselblad as the only camera ever brought back from the moon but later said it was one of several, after some experts questioned that claim.

I found another source with a much more detailed story -

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-mystery-of-the-only-camera-to-come-back-from-the-moon

Regarding the final Kodachrome film, there is another complicated story. The last roll of Kodachrome film was processed on 30 December 2010 by Dwayne's Photo in Parsons, Kansas. Dwayne's Photo was the last remaining lab that could develop the film. The roll was shot by shop owner Dwayne Steinle. However, in an earlier announcement, on 14 July 2010 it was it was revealed that the last produced roll of Kodachrome was developed for photographer Steve McCurry on assignment for National Geographic magazine. The 36 slides will be permanently homed at the Eastman House in Rochester, New York.

Hasselblad update

Peter Flower

In Newsletter 89 I reported on speculation about the takeover of Hasselblad by Chinese drone maker DJI. At the time of writing there is no confirmation of this rumour, but a formal announcement (27 January 2017) regarding Perry Oosting, CEO of Hasselblad, adds weight to the suggestion that changes are in progress. Oosting who oversaw Hasselblad’s dramatic turn of fortunes over the past two years is to step down shortly. Perry Oosting is widely credited with extracting the company from one of the worst periods in its 75-year history by finding new investors and helping to modernise the brand’s range with the H6D and X1D cameras. Oosting was a member of Hasselblad’s Supervisory board before taking the helm in January 2015. After a long period of creative stagnation and persistent rumours of financial crisis and hostile take-overs, not to mention some very poor branding decisions, Hasselblad made some real progress under Oosting and surprised the world with the first hand-held medium-format mirrorless system last year when it launched the X1D.

Kodak – missed opportunities

Peter Flower

We have written before about the problems that led to the downfall of Kodak. I recently watched a video in which employees of the company expressed their sadness at the closure of the huge Kodak plant in Rochester, New York state, and the affect on the local economy. Two important former figures in the company also explained the background to decisions which influenced matters. The principal fact is that the company relied so heavily on conventional film photography, with sales of film, chemicals and paper, plus cameras, providing huge sales and profits. As late as 1976 Kodak commanded 90% of film sales and 85% of camera sales in the USA.

In the video Steven Sasson spoke about his invention of the first digital camera at Eastman Kodak in 1975. It weighed 8 pounds (3.6 kg) and had only 0.01 megapixels. The image was recorded onto a cassette tape and this process took 23 seconds. His camera took images in black-and-white. As he set out on this project of the electronic camera, what he envisioned for the future was a camera without mechanical moving parts. However, much to his disappointment Kodak dropped the product for fear it would threaten their photographic film business.

Size comparison with modern compact and the first-ever digital photograph

John McCoy also spoke about his involvement with the development of another product, the Kodak mc3.

This pocketable device, measuring 4.1”(H)x2.6”(W)x 0.9-1.5"(T) combined facilities for videos, music and digital pictures in the one unit. The promotional material claimed “The new Kodak mc3 is the first portable unit that combines digital video with virtually unlimited recording, an MP3 player and a digital still camera together for less than $300. Thanks to its full-colour reflective 1.6-inch LCD screen, users can preview and review their video and pictures easily and accurately, even in bright sunlight. With Arcsoft Video Impressions software for video editing and albuming, users can combine their video, pictures and music to create unique multimedia movies or music videos. The mc3 can record more than 20 minutes of non-stop video in Quick Time format on a 64 MB CompactFlash card.”

The mc3 was unveiled at the DEMO 2001 show in Phoenix, Arizona, on 12 February 2001. On the face of it this device, moving on from the cassette tapes and other larger recording methods of devices like the Sony Walkman, was a winner. However, there appears to have been lacklustre follow-up by Kodak and relatively few sales were made. Later that year, on 23 October 2001, Apple released their first version of the iPod.

The rest, they say, is history.

Miniature Marvel – the Compass Camera.

Peter Flower

This image gives little impression of just how small it is, but although it takes 24x36mm images (equivalent to 35mm) it is roughly the same size as a modern GoPro camera in its waterproof housing. It is a rectangular aluminium-bodied rangefinder camera. The body is machined from a solid block of aluminium, measuring a mere 30 ×53 ×70mm in size with the lens closed, weighing 220g (7¾oz). It was designed by Englishman Noel Pemberton Billing, made by Swiss watchmaker LeCoultre and sold by Compass Cameras of London. The camera was launched in March 1937. Around 5000 were produced and it was at least available in London until 1941 when production was prevented by war. The Compass was extraordinarily well-equipped for such a small package. It had two optical viewfinders, one at a right-angle, a ground glass focusing screen with a folding loupe, a built-in lens cap, three filters, an extinction meter and a spirit level. There was also a rotating fitting for the tripod bush in the base with five click stops allowing for panoramic and stereo pictures. The retractable lens was a 35mm f3.5 Kern anastigmat with a shutter speeded from 4.5s. to 1/500s.

Be prepared to be amazed by the design and the impressive range of features which are shown by the video (about 16 minutes) at this link -

https://www.dpreview.com/news/8778477255/get-to-know-the-compass-camera-an-ultra-compact-pocketable-film-camera-from-1937

Fellowship: An end or a beginning – 30 January 2017 – Bob Turner FRPS

Report by Peter Flower

Bob Turner is a familiar face to those of us who have been with the society for many years. He has given previous talks to the society as well as being a judge. The last 'encounter' with Bob was when he judged the Albany Cup competition in February 2016. This is an inter-club competition that the host society, Guildford, holds on an annual basis. 8 clubs took part. As reported by John Fisher in Newsletter 78, Reigate came a very close second to Windlesham & Camberley (one club!). With the passing of time the disappointment of coming second has become more bearable and we have forgiven Bob for not awarding us first place!

This evening's talk concentrated on two of Bob's distinction panels that were successful with the RPS. Although both of these had been submitted as print panels they were shown to us as projected images, having been rephotographed from the originals. As a result of the reproduction process and the fact that the images were projected ones the quality of the original prints was diminished. Fortunately, Bob had brought along the full set of 18 black and white prints from the FRPS distinction panel and these were displayed at the mid-time break. As a result we were able to admire the full quality of these prints. In addition to these panels we were shown a number of Bob's photographs from his travels. Most of the photographs were from some time ago and had been taken on film rather than digital. This was possibly the most interesting aspect of viewing these images, in that the ability to manipulate them was much more limited, and that they were an example of how fashions change. It is difficult to define, but there is a different 'feel' to the older images which lends them added attraction.

Bob started the first session by showing colour images from his ARPS panel together with photographs taken on his travels. These photographs were taken in Morocco and Bob added some humorous tales of his experiences of trips to this part of North Africa. Those of us who have been there, and to similar countries, will have experienced the same 'sales techniques' as Bob. Every local is a guide, and might even be official if they have created their own badge! The offer of help with directions to a destination will inevitably lead to stopovers at one or more traders in the souk. Bob mentioned an occasion when two 'guides' had a violent argument over which one was going to accompany him and his experiences of haggling prices in a Fez carpet emporium. Examples of images taken are shown below.

© Bob Turner

Another location to feature in this panel was The Epcot centre in Orlando. The uneven mirrored tile exterior provided an image similar to a 'joiner'. The palm tree shadows on a rounded wall also attracted his attention.

© Bob Turner

Many years ago a trip to Yemen (a journey that would be inadvisable today) provided more interesting images and memories of encounters with the locals. The first picture shows a purchase being made of gat (also known as Khat) a leafy plant which acts as a stimulant when chewed.

© Bob Turner

Bob commented about his FRPS panel of black and white prints. His first attempt was rejected, so he modified this by substituting a number of the images. A common theme running throughout was the inclusion of a person within the scene. His choice of having some of these 'walking out' of the frame would probably give rise to criticism in more recent times. A classic example is that of the person at the bottom of the semicircular steps. There is actually one photograph that does not include a person, but the shadow of a tree at the end of an Orlando wall could be mistaken for a silhouetted one. Another Orlando picture, with a man framed in the centre, was Bob's favourite of this set. Two pictures utilise mirrored surfaces to add some mystery to the images.

© Bob Turner – Steps, Shadow on the wall, scenic building, mirrored image

© Bob Turner

Rounding out this small selection of images are some more taken on travels abroad.

© Bob Turner – Colourful scenes on Etna

Having taken some general views of a beach scene on the Athens riviera Bob then went down to take some close-ups. He was amused by the group of people who had not only lined themselves up, but also done the same with their sandals!

© Bob Turner

The street scene with an open case also provided some interesting reactions.

© Bob Turner

As mentioned previously, Bob is a judge, but this does not necessarily mean that his photographs adhere to the accepted norm that would gain approval from other judges. In many respects they were a reminder that the transition to digital photography has not been totally beneficial. Bob's talk provided a refreshing reminder that it is the seeing eye of the experienced photographer that results in the most interesting images.

Comment – Technology

PF

Mention of Morocco reminded me of an incident on a recent visit to Marrakech which highlighted the fact that England is not necessarily a First World country. At Christmas, in rural Suffolk, I had attempted to phone seasonal greetings to friends in the West Country and Wales. Mobile phone signals were virtually non-existent. I finally found one bar showing on my phone on a remote farm track (near a tree which I don't think was boosting the signal!). More recently, in a remote region on a luxury coach journey from Marrakech to Essaouira I was able to utilise the wi-fi to pull up the Society's web site and check the readership numbers of the latest Newsletter.

Monthly Theme Competition

Stephen Hewes

Announcement made at the Saturday Natter meeting -

Many congratulations to Les for his winning shot ‘A Rose by any other name’, aptly named for our Pattern theme chosen by Rosemary. Les has selected a topic close to his heart as this month’s theme – COFFEE. To be interpreted as you wish - people drinking it, beans, making it, a cup of it, where it's sold, etc etc.

Happy snapping! Stephen

Les's winning shot -

© Les Dyson – A Rose by any other name

And finally . . . . . . .

Keeping with the theme of iconic photographs, this was another one which featured in my quiz of 2003. The 'Twickenham Streaker' was LIFE magazine’s “Picture of the Year”, it won a World Press Photo Award. The photo was taken at an England-France rugby match at Twickenham in February 1974 by Ian Bradshaw.

Image from internet source. Acknowledgement to Ian Bradshaw.