Eric G. Rose – Where It's At

Protected: A Kodachrome Odyssey

by on Nov.27, 2019, under Location

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Putting out the Laundry

by on Nov.14, 2019, under Location

Nothing is as fresh as the smell of fresh laundry set out on a clothes line. As I traveled all over the world one of the things I really enjoyed was seeing clothes swinging in the breeze as if they were doing an ethereal dance to some unseen celestial orchestra.

Even in countries where clean streets are rare and poverty is everywhere it’s amazing how childrens’ school uniforms are always so crisp and their shirts so white.

I was walking down a dusty hot dirt road in Honduras in the 90’s and was in dire need of a drink of water. Why I was there and thirsty is an entire blog in itself! I paused in the shade and noticed a woman hanging out her laundry. Her motions were rhythmic and she quietly hummed a song only she knew the words to.

She noticed me and beckoned me to join her on her porch. I guess I looked a bit like a hound dog and she took pity on this ill equipped gringo. Once I climbed up to her porch she ushered me to an old rickety chair in the shade provided by her tin roof. Without saying a word she fetched me some water and sat down beside me. Once I refreshed myself and felt a bit more human I thanked her. She didn’t speak English, which didn’t surprise me considering where I was, but between us we had a great conversation using our hands and smiles.

This kind spirit got me another glass of water and then went back to hanging her laundry. Again she began humming and following some sort of rhythm her mother had probably taught her when she was learning to hang laundry.

The whites were shockingly white, not a stain anywhere and everything smelled oh so fresh.

One half hour later I was on my way after exchanging hugs and many thank you’s.

This angel of mercy reminded me of my own mother who use to hang our laundry out on our backyard clothes line. The same rhythm, the same humming, the same wonderful clean smells.

While my mother’s “unmentionables” were hung in the basement on a wooden drying rack, everything else was sent outside. Winter was the only time this pattern was changed. The new fangle electric clothes dryer in the basement was then put to use.

Unfortunately the clothes never smelled as good as when they came in off the clothesline.

It’s sad in our area there is a restrictive covenant forbidding us from hanging out laundry in our backyards. Probably lobbied for by the energy companies no doubt.

My wife and I did a Mediterranean Cruise a month or so ago. Beyond the usual must see locations in Italy, Greece and Croatia the thing that stuck me the most was seeing laundry out on clotheslines. Clotheslines everywhere!

While I stood and took in these floating, waving sculptures of multicoloured humanity, I was jostled by the hoards of tourists stampeding to the next Instagram worthy selfie. No one looked up at the drying clothes waving to them.

Dubrovnik was beautiful, the red roofs outstanding but what transfixed me was all the laundry. I took more photos of laundry than anything else! This started an informal photo project. From Dubrovnik on, it was drying laundry that really fascinated me.

Sure I have some quality images of the various locations we visited. Possibly in a later blog posting I might share them with you.

In this blog we are going to celebrate hanging laundry.

A CLOTHESLINE POEM
(Author Unknown)

A clothesline was a news forecast
To neighbors passing by,
There were no secrets you could keep
When clothes were hung to dry.

It also was a friendly link
For neighbors always knew,
If company had stopped on by
To spend a night or two.

For then you’d see the “fancy sheets”
And towels upon the line;
You’d see the “company table cloths”
With intricate designs.

The line announced a baby’s birth
From folks who lived inside –
As brand new infant clothes were hung,
So carefully with pride!

The ages of the children could
So readily be known
By watching how the sizes changed,
You’d know how much they’d grown!

It also told when illness struck,
As extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe, too,
Haphazardly were strung.

It also said, “Gone on vacation now”
When lines hung limp and bare.
It told, “We’re back!” when full lines sagged, with not an inch to spare!

New folks in town were scorned upon
If wash was dingy and gray,
As neighbors carefully raised their brows,
And looked the other way.

But clotheslines now are of the past,
For dryers make work much less.
Now what goes on inside a home
Is anybody’s guess!

I really miss that way of life.
It was a friendly sign.
When neighbors knew each other best
by what hung on the line.

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Equipment vs Talent

by on Jun.17, 2019, under Location

Using my Toko in the pool. Arenal volcano in the background and GG

{sarcasm} I am going to make a confession right up front.  My name is Eric and I can be a real dick.  What brings out my “dickness” the quickest are those suffering from small penis syndrome. You know the types.  They are the ones who need to have all the most expensive gear.  Or they have to let you know they have exactly the same gear that XYZ famous photographer uses or used before they died 30 plus years ago.  Then they run around trying to plug as many tripod holes as they can with said magical gear.  Oh ya and a big bushy beard is necessary if you are trying to be a serious large format photographer and of course you describe all your photos in musical terms.

To counter their unabashedly excessive and unnecessary, in my eyes, invidious consumption and elitism, I smile and proceed to produce images using the cheapest, second hand, thrift store gear I can find.  Plus I don’t have a beard, I cannot play the piano and I like to blast AC/DC in the darkroom.   Like I said I can be a dick sometimes.

I belong to a group of large format photograhers.  All really fantastic people.  We had one member years back who fell into the hero worship category.  He idolized one particular photographer.  In all fairness I rather like his idols imagery as well and I’m friends with him.  So this chap bought every single piece of gear his idol used with the exception of his light meter.  He studied his idols photographs, even bought some and purchased his books.  I am sure the pages are dogged eared.  Several trips to Mecca to bask in the glory of his idol ensued.

After a day out shooting with the group our idol worshipper couldn’t understand while his images were technically perfect, but were for the most part underwhelming. The rest of us were able to come up with interesting, expressive images shooting in the same location.  I am sure he would drive home in his expensive German vehicle and shake his head.  Do not get me wrong this guy was a super nice photography buddy, and generous to a fault.

He just didn’t understand you cannot buy talent and vision.

Now I have to admit I have spent many hours going over Edward Weston’s various books. Including the Daybooks. While I really enjoy his imagery, reading the Daybooks was akin to meeting one of your hero’s. Not always a good idea. There were many photographers who have surely influenced my creative tendencies. However I have never asked any models to lay naked in sand dunes. Canyons yes, sand dunes no.

A while back my sweetie took me to Costa Rica for one of my milestone birthdays. Since weight was an issue my Toko wooden field camera got packed along with Rodenstock 150, 210 and 300mm Geronar’s. Plus an old Schneider 90mm SA. The Geronars were picked due to their light weight and stellar performance when stopped down by one stop. All lenses were picked up at bargain prices on ePray. Did I mention I’m a Scottish / Taurus. My thriftiness is not only genetic it’s controlled by the cosmos. Some people call me cheap. I call it a predestined lifestyle.

While I’m a sucker for punishment even I knew I needed something besides the large format camera for casual vacation pictures and street photography. So my trusty plastic fantastic VC Bessa rangefinder was packed.  The Bessa was outfitted with a 35mm Color – Skopar pancake lens.  I also packed a Leitz 90mm Elmar f4.

I picked the Bessa up used from a local camera store and bought the Skopar new (yes it hurt).  I have used the Skopar on my Leica’s as well and there is absolutely no difference in image quality between bodies.

We travelled to Costa Rica with our good friends who have been doing professional photography for close to 30 years.  They produce some of the most exquisite images I have ever seen.  On this trip each of them had their usual pro gear.  At the end of the trip if you threw all the prints on the table and tried to pick out the Bessa shots from the pro Canon shots it would have been impossible.  If you knew us well you might be able to pick out our shots based on our unique ways of seeing and creating our imagery.

Fellow tourists fawned over my friends big Canon and L series glass and you could almost hear them tittering when looking at my lowly Bessa.  Many of the tourists had better cameras and glass than most of the current crop of professional photographers I see these days.

I am sure some of these tourists produce stunning imagery, but I think the majority produce technically perfect “I was there” photos that could have been taken with a Panasonic point and shoot or smartphone.  For most of them I feel the fancy pro camera is a fashion and status accessory.  Check out this link and you will see what I am getting at:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veblen_good

There are times when having the best gear available is a must.  Professional photography is one such instance.  When I was shooting commercially, I shot with pro level gear starting with the original Nikon F and Hasselblad systems.  I had multiple bodies of each for backup.  They took a pounding and each produced tens of thousands of images.  They also got cla’d on a regular basis.  These were the tools of my trade.  That and thousands of dollars in lighting gear, studio space, colour processors and on and on.

I did not buy Nikon and Hasselblad because of hero worship or to show off.  I bought them because they did the job and did it well.  Day after day, month after month.  I bought my last Hasselblad body in 1976 and it’s still going.  My last Nikon F got the bad end of a hostage taking situation I was photographing.  At that time I had two Nikon F2’s and the last of the original brace of Nikon F’s.  My last pro level Nikon film camera was the F5.  I still have that one too and it still gets used.  I was offered an F6 but after using it for a month I gave it back.  It just didn’t work for me.  In my opinion the F6 was built for the status crowd rather than working professionals. Sure it had some improvements but I felt it was a light weight pro camera.

I was lucky I got to do what I love, photography, and get paid well for my product.  I hit it at the right time but by the end of the 80’s I could see the hand writing on the wall.  Unless I moved to a larger market, things were going to get tough.  I made photography my secondary income stream and jumped into tech.  Turns out it was a good move.

Back in the 70’s the pros in my area use to have a photo contest.  You could only use one single fixed lens camera and one roll of film and submit one print.  Brownie’s, Instamatics, and folders were dug out of the junk drawer and loaded up.  You had one month to produce your work of art.

The results were mind blowing!  A group of professionals who knew how to work with light, lens aberrations, film characteristics and composition produced stunningly creative, expressive,  well printed and presented images.  These images had impact.  They said something that spoke to your core.

It shows that artists who know how to work their medium and have an artistic vision beyond trying to copy the latest “viral fad” on Instagram can produce noteworthy art irrespective of the value of their equipment.

As I said before, you cannot buy talent and vision.  Neither with equipment, education or workshops.

Oh and one more thing, just because you have a lens that gives you razor thin DOF, that does not make you a professional portrait photographer.  Whatever happened to getting the subjects nose and ears in focus in addition to BOTH eyes?  Oops, there’s my dickness showing again …….. {/sarcasm}

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I love slide rules!

by on Nov.08, 2018, under Darkroom, Film, Life is Good, Tools, Uncategorized

I love slide rules. I have no logical explanation at all. During my summer break between 5th and 6th grade I taught myself how to use one. I still have fond memories of sitting in the back of my dad’s Buick while we were driving on summer vacation.  Slide rule instruction sheet on my knee and the treasured yellow plastic 12 inch slip stick in my hands.  I can still smell the plastic.

Darn teachers in 6th grade math class wouldn’t let me use it. In 1973 I started my first classes in electronics engineering. We were forced to use slide rules for the first year. No problem!  I was in heaven! Calculators were just becoming a staple in the engineering world and most of my peers were lusting after the latest HP  or TI. Not me, I loved my slide rule. To me using a slide rule well was like playing beautiful music on a guitar.  Naturally I had to admit the HP was better and faster, but it just didn’t have a soul.

Once we hit second year the rush was on to leap into the 20th century.   I organized my classmates and we made a bulk buy of the latest TI wonderlator.  My beloved slide rule went into the infamous junk drawer only to resurface when I was looking for something.

I have kept my 12 inch and pocket 6 inch slide rules all these years. Just couldn’t part with them. But alas I need to downsize. I have finally made peace with it and have decided to get rid of my 12 inch Geotec and it’s lovely leather case. This one actually didn’t get used much (I had several) as my pocket one was my main workhorse.

I draw the line at my 6 inch slide rule.  That one will go into the oven with me when I die.  One use I have found for it is calculating things in the darkroom.  No need to worry about the batteries failing or a bright screen fogging some paper or film.

It seems many of my fellow photographers on http://photrio.com share my enthusiasm for slide rules.  And here I figured I was the odd duck.

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Three Strikes and You’re OUT!

by on Oct.02, 2018, under Cameras, Darkroom, Developing, Film, Location, Scanning, Vision

The Tree

Three strikes and you’re out.  If I had followed this baseball rule I would have given up on a dream.

When I was growing up we lived near an abandoned apple orchard which happened to be at the end of a wonderful and mystery filled hike through a dark forest.  Well that’s the way my five-year-old mind remembers it.

Over the years I would venture down to this oasis away from city noise to just sit and think.  Close by is the Bow River so I could skip stones if I liked, or in later years shoot gophers with my trusty Daisy BB gun.  I also found that there was one particular tree that seemed to speak to me.  Not that I heard voices mind you, it just seemed to be a good listener and when I leaned up against its sturdy trunk or climbed into its strong boughs many of the answers I was looking for just “came” to me.  This tree became my spiritual conduit to whoever was at the other end.

Fast forward 60 years and I was down in the same park, visiting the same tree and to my amazement there were several people who came by and paused just long enough to put their hands on the huge trunk and close their eyes.  I was not the only one!

Like all things that live, someday this tree will die.  As will I.  I felt like I needed to capture this majestic tree in a way that shows off its glorious stature.  Those that have their own special tree will get it and I wanted to create an image that will live beyond both the tree and me.

As someone who has been an avid photographer for close to 55 years I have several photographic options with which to accomplish this mission.  Should I shoot digital, 35mm, medium format or large format?  What about colour or should it be in black and white?  The fall colours are out so the obvious choice would be colour.  However, would the bright colours take away from the strength I wanted to show?  After about a week mulling this over I decided that black and white was what I wanted.  Of course, this didn’t eliminate any of the equipment options.  Since I wanted something of a more permanent nature this in my mind eliminated digital.  Just think of Betamax.  Ok now we are down to only film options.  To get all the detail and tonality I wanted I decided large format was the way to go.

I have both a 4×5 wooden Shen-Hao field camera and a Cambo 4×5 monorail.  I anticipated I might have to use some fairly extreme rise to get the tree top in, so this kicked out the field camera as an option.  Now for lenses.  I decided to pack a Nikon 90mm WA, Rodenstock Sironar 150mm and a Dagor 300mm lenses.

Being that I am retired I had lots of time to scout things out and decided to take my Crown Graphic equipped with a 127mm Kodak Ektar and Kodak TMX 320 film down for a quick recon mission.  A friend had given me three holders already loaded with TMX320 so I decided to use them.  I shot all 6 sheets from various angles and lighting conditions as we had partial clouds that day.

It was one of those magical photographic days.  The sun was making the fall colours explode in all their multi coloured brilliance. Exciting shadow patterns between the trees teased and made me wish I had loaded up more film.

I got home and headed straight into the darkroom.  It had been a while since I had used my darkroom, so it was nice to be back at it.  I commenced mixing up my favourite developer PyroCat-HD from a liquid mixture obtained from The Photographers Formulary.  If there is one thing I loathe it’s dealing with powdered chemicals.  I had some fixer already mixed from a previous printing and film developing session I had done several months ago.

I use hangers rather than a rotary drum not because I think they’re better; it’s just that I am familiar with them and I have a distrust of anything that requires electricity when it comes to developing my film.  Quite frankly I have the same qualms about cameras.  Batteries are evil little beasts that fail at all the wrong times.

Less than twenty minutes later (11 minutes in PyroCat-HD, 30 seconds in water stop and then 5 minutes in fix) I turned the lights on.  To my horror the images were black! The film had been exposed to light before I had received it.  On top of that I had found one of the sheets of film had been loaded into the holder backwards.  Strike number one.  On top of all that I had no tequila in the house with which to drown my sorrows.  The horror of it all.

After I finished beating myself up for being such a fool I set to loading up three new holders with TMX320.

A few weeks later I ventured out again.  This time with the Cambo monorail and my bag of lenses.  I did two different setups on the tree exposing three sheets of film.  To get the rise I needed for the tree I attached my Cambo bag bellows.  Fortunately, the Nikkor 90mm wide angle was just right for the job.  You see I had a playground just behind me and I could not back up any further to get the shoots I wanted from that vantage point.  Next, I found a beautiful row of Spruce trees with wonderful shadows.  I switched to a Rodenstock 150mm Sironar APO for these shots and just left the bag bellows on.  Two sheets exposed there.  With my remaining sheet of film, I had planned on trying to create an image of the railroad tracks near the park so ambled over there and setup.  Naturally a train came along so I figured I would just incorporate it into my image.  I shot it at ¼ of second to give the train some blur thus showing it was in motion.

I was quite happy with what I shot and rushed back to my darkroom.  Again, I mixed up my PyroCat-HD and poured the fixer into its tub.

Twenty or so minutes later I was done and with some trepidation turned on the lights.  Again horror!  The images were very dark and muddy looking.  Plus, all the ones where I had used the bag bellows showed signs of fogging.  I double checked my meter and it was spot on.  I suspected the fixer was bad, so I cut off a piece of 35mm black and white film and chucked it into the fixer.  Waited 5 minutes and turned the lights on.  Indeed, the fixer was in its final stages of a slow and merciless death.  And still no tequila!

In all my years of photography I have never had such a series of misfortunes.  I firmly take credit and responsibility for all of it.  But really??  This was now becoming a mission!

The very next day I loaded up three more two banger 4×5 film holders and set out once again to capture this blasted tree.  I was beginning to think there was some higher power that was either trying to teach me a lesson or just did not want me to succeed in this quest for THE image.  I had struck out twice.  If I strike out again, that’s three.  Does this mean I just need to be sent back to the bench or heaven forbid the minors?

I drove the 45 minutes to the park, parked my Kia Soul (see I do have soul) and with a sense of foreboding unpacked my camera gear.  I decided to stick to angles that did not require my bag bellows.  Eliminate one problem, check.  No fancy angles that require lots of rise, check.

Hiked into the park, said hello to the grounds keeper who by now thinks I’ve been dealt a few balloons short of a party.

The light was fantastic, there are no little urchins running around getting into my shot.  I have it in the back of my mind God is messing with me.  I make four exposures of the tree.  One setup I actually bracket, something I never do.  The fear has set in.  So, three different angles of the tree are done, now out to the railway tracks.  I make one image there.  Without the train it’s not that special.

I’m actually a bit nervous about souping these shots.  Three strikes, that would be a killer!  So I procrastinate, something I do quite well actually, and put off going down to the darkroom until the next day.

Once I get my courage up and venture into the darkroom the first thing I do is mix up new fixer and developer.  I always treat PyroCat as a one-shot developer.  It’s so cheap trying to stretch it does not make any sense.

The lights are out and it’s time to load the hangers.  Again, I spend 20 minutes in the dark thinking crazy stuff like if this attempt fails I will just sell all my camera gear and take up billiards.

Once the lights get turned on I pull one of the hangers out of the fixer and with some trepidation hold it up to the light.  I could almost hear a celestial host singing a song of triumph!  An image, a good image, well exposed and developed and most importantly fixed.

In the end I was not struck out.  That game may have gone into extra innings but in the end, I got the winning run!

What did I learn?  The main lesson learned is not to take anything for granted and not to be over-casual about things even though you have done them a thousand times over the past five decades.  The other lesson is not to put yourself under undue pressure like a three strikes mentality.  Each attempt is a learning experience, not a failure.

You might not see anything special in the images I made but they are special to me.  I learned long ago that if there is not something special in your subject that gets you excited you might as well leave your camera in its bag.  You will only be making “I was there” photos or worse yet what I refer to as “museum” photos.  It was only my passion and love for the photographic medium and my desire to express something through photography that kept me going.  While I shoot both digital and film it is only film that gives me a really organic high when I am creating imagery.  Just remember to load your own film and insure you are using fresh chemicals.  Oh and remember to actually put the developer concentrate into the water, but that’s another story.

The Tree welcomes all
The Trinity
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How I Sharpen Images for Web use.

by on Sep.28, 2018, under Cameras, Developing, Digital

Several people have asked me to provide a quick tutorial on how I sharpen images for https://photrio.com. It all came about due to a great image that a user uploaded that looked unsharp. I knew having seen his work in person his image would have been tack sharp.

The problem was he didn’t know how to sharpen the image prior to uploading. I took the liberty of downloading his image and applying the technique I thought would yield the best results for that particular image. The improvement was very noticeable by those that viewed it.

The method I used is best suited to images that have distinct edges. It’s also great for portraits where you want the hair to look more natural and not all mushy.

As I mention in the video there are a number of ways to sharpen an image and each procedure has its uses but sharpening images should not be considered a one size (technique) fits all. That’s part of our craft, learning what works for a particular image and the presentation you want. One further advantage of the procedure I follow is that you can customize where the mask actually applies the sharpening.

I have to apologize to Sean the owner of Photrio.com, I kept referring to Photrio as PhotoRio. Bad Eric, bad!

So here it is I hope you can follow along, I’m not a professional voice over instructor lol.  The image in the video was taken using a Panasonic G85 with 14-42 G Vario lens.  The file was in RAW format.

 

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RIP Ricky

by on Aug.04, 2015, under Location

ericgrose_ricky_roadside_1000

Ricky, may he RIP

My sweetie and I did a two week trip down the Washington and Oregon coasts last month. For the most part the weather was not what I wanted for the images I wanted to make so in the vain of making lemonade etc. I did this image.

We had passed this memorial several times on the way to and from side trips to beaches and coastal towns. Finally I just had to stop and make an image of it.  These types of roadside memorials are not common in my part of Canada.

The symbolism doesn’t need any explanations, I’ve never been a very deep photographer, but it was fun shooting it. One of the images actually has the cross and the name square in the drivers seat, very creepy. Not knowing what caused Ricky’s demise I didn’t want to symbolically tarnish his memory so haven’t used that image. But gee it sure looks cool.

The shot was taken with a Panasonic GX-7,  a 14-42 Panasonic kit lens both majestically sitting atop my trusty Berlebach tripod.

I also inadvertently caused quite a bit of consternation with motorists who were screaming around the corner. I guess they thought I was a photo radar cop. So while the cross did nothing to slow anyone down, my presence with a camera did the job. Ricky’s mission may somehow now be complete.

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Pixel Peeping is a WASTE of time!

by on Mar.12, 2014, under Camera Review, Cameras, Digital, Location, Photographers, Travel

COSMOS-FOX

A scene from the Fox show Cosmos, copyright Fox

Your always humble struggling artist/photographer/blogger has had an epiphany!  Indeed the cosmos aligned even without the help of Seth MacFarlane and his new Cosmos series.  What pray tell has ripped the blinders away from my clouded eyes?

Pixel peeping is a waste of time.  There it is, I said it.

What do most of us do when we test out a new camera or lens?  We take a shot and then zoom into 100 percent magnification to see if it is sharp enough.  I’ve done my fair share of pixel peeping myself.

Nikon Nikkormat FTN - Eric G. Rose Photography - BlogLet’s back up a bit and look at history and how things have changed.  In the old days if you shot Kodachrome 25 with a Nikkormat FTN or an F5 using the same lens, the image will look identical.  The only thing different between the cameras was their feature set.  The same could be said in broader terms between a Nikon F2 and a Canon F1 using their respective 50mm f2 prime lenses.  Again feature sets and “religion” were the only differences, not image quality.  What little differences they did exhibit could be fixed today in PS.

For the most part all of the major manufacturers made very high quality lenses with very minor optical differences.  Most system choices were made due to features and system depth if that was important to you.  Any pro worth his salt could make a decent living using Nikon, Canon, and  Pentax.  The choices were more limited in medium format, but again each of the major players made very good cameras and lenses.  Features, reliability and system depth were the main deciding factors.

4 bit Convertor - Eric G. Rose Photography - BlogWhen did all this pixel peeping or bit crawling start.  I suggest it started with the advent of CD’s.  The first CD players used very crude codecs.  Those that considered themselves audiophiles cried and bemoaned the butchering of their favorite  LP’s.  All that “air” and spatial quality was missing not to mention how sharp and peaky the sound became when played through the leading CD players of the time.  A crop of “digital” speakers were flogged to the masses.  Sound familiar?  A new lexicon had to be added to the audiophiles repertoire; bit encoding.  How many samplings were made per second.  The higher the bit rate the more accurate the reproduction, or so it would seem.  The study of and the acquisition of the best analog to digital, back to analog, converters was now necessary.

We had been sensitized to the axiom that more bits are better.    That philosophy was embraced by the camera manufacturers to ensure consumers would be set on a pixel treadmill.  So now pixels counted the most with camera features becoming secondary.

Kodak DC290 - Eric Rose Photography - BlogMy first digital camera was a Kodak DC290.  This camera boasted 2.9 mega pixels.  This yielded an image 31 inches by 20 inches approximately (according to the Kodak data sheet).  I made plenty of 8×10’s from the DC290 and was pleased with the results.  The prints from the DC290 were not as good as an optical print from a good 35mm negative, but acceptable.  Numerous images were also used in corporate websites.   Next I blew through several Nikon and Canon P&S’s.  Digital cameras to me were still toys.  The real work had to be done with my film cameras.

Pixel count was ever increasing but the features were still limited.  My first semi-pro DSLR was the Nikon D70s (6 mega pixels).  I have made 11×14 inch prints from this cameras that are stunning and equal anything I could do with my 35mm negatives.  I have never tried to do 16×20’s from the D70s only due to a lack of demand.  The feature set was more to my liking than comparable pixel count P&S’s.  The ability to use my legacy Nikkor lenses sealed the deal.  I was now firmly in the digital camp.  The Kreonite went into the trash bin.  The size of the sensor now became important.  A 6 mega pixel APS-C sensor will out perform a 6 mega pixel finger nail sized sensor in a P&S.

Nikon D700 - Eric G. Rose Photography - BlogI would still be using the D70s if it were not for a row of dead pixels.  They don’t always disappear, but for my professional work it just was not acceptable.  Yes I could fix it in PS but the time overhead was too costly.  I replaced the D70s with a D700.  Wonderful camera, does everything I want it to and it replaced my Hasselblad.  I could now make prints up to 20×30 if I needed to.  Actually bigger if I really needed to but that’s not my market.

I recently bought a Panasonic GX1 from Frank Petronio.  It’s 16 mega pixels which is 4 more than my D700.  They tell me the technology has improved since the D700 was introduced and I should not see a huge difference between the two cameras under ideal conditions.  Micro 4/3rd’s is the new holy grail.

Well you can guess what was the first thing I did once I got the GX1.  I shot side by side images, GX1-vs-D700 and pixel peeped.  I tried all kinds of things, using the ultra sharp Panasonic 20mm f1.7 lens compared to the Nikkor H-C 50mm f2, putting the Nikkor H-C 50mm lens on the Panasonic etc etc.  In all cases the D700 won.  Not a big surprise as far as I was concerned.  Size does matter when it comes to sensors.

Panasonic GX1 - Eric G. Rose Photography - BlogThen I had a thought.  One of those hit your forehead in the middle of the night kind of thoughts.  Really the only thing that matters is what a print looks like.  I scaled the images to be identical looking and then sized them for 11×14 prints.  Guess what?  Both prints looked outstanding.  Only the kind of people who pick things apart to an absurd level on photograph forums could tell the difference in the prints.  The GX1 doesn’t have the DR (dynamic range) the D700 has but this can be fixed in PS for 95% of what I will be shooting.  Check out George Barr’s excellent blog posting on dealing with high key situations.

Another thing the micro 4/3rd’s cameras don’t have is durability.  I fell off a cliff last weekend and my D700 hit a rock ledge pretty hard.  If suffered a few dents but beyond that the camera and lens functioned perfectly.  If the same thing happened to my GX1 I am sure I would have been picking up pieces.  Same goes for the new Sony A7R.  Again if I were doing something rough the minute difference in image quality between the D700 and the new full frame Sony A7R would not influence my decision.  The tougher D700 would get packed.  If I were going on a cruise, the Sony A7R would get packed.

I am going on a trip to Germany and Santorini in a few months.  I almost left the GX1 at home due to pixel peeping.  Glad I re-evaluated what really mattered, the final output, the print.

I feel we have come full circle.  Camera choices today should primarily be made based on features (important to you), system depth and durability.  For the most part you will not be able to tell the difference in prints made from micro 4/3rd’s, full frame and APS-C type sensors if printed by a skilled craftsman up to 20×30 inches.  The responsibility of proper exposure rests upon the photographer as it always has.  Digital sensors are just as fussy to over/under exposure as were transparency films of bygone days.

We can now spend more time putting the craft back into photography and less time pixel peeping.  Sensors have matured to a level where we should not waste a lot of time comparing one against the other.  At the end of the day whatever difference you “think” you perceive does not amount to a hill of beans once you print your image.  Check out the blog posting by Ctein on The Online Photographer.  Ctein is a master printer and has made prints from non-FX sensor cameras that would blow your mind.  It can be done.  There is no hiding sloppy craftsmanship behind sensor size anymore.  The one thing that cripples your FX camera is not using a tripod.  It does make a difference, even at higher shutter speeds.  That and cheap filters.  Don’t get me going!!

Will I take the GX1 on pro jobs?  You bet I will.  Will it do everything, no, but neither will the D700.  The trick is to use the right tool for the job.  Measure twice, cut once.  Put the craft back into photography!

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Balance

by on Jun.20, 2013, under Camera Review, Cameras, Digital, Family, Life is Good, Location

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This is a shot of my grandson doing what I did and probably any youth has done at his age, “walk the line”.  Growing up I lived very close to railroad tracks.  The “gang” and I would spend endless hours walking what we thought was miles on railroad tracks.  Shades of “Stand by Me”, a great movie.  Unfortunately we never found a body.  Or rather fortunately we never found a body.

About the most exciting thing that ever happened was a flasher jumping out wiggling his wiggler.  The two gals I was with, Val and Donna noticed him before I did.  Their fits of laughter alerted me to this pathetic guy.  Naturally we had to whip this up into a near death experience by the time we got home.

The gang was a close knit bunch of guys who all grew up together on our block.  Neil, Ian, Tim, Keith, Andy, Gord and myself made up this highly trained cadre of cowboys, army grunts, super heroes, explorers and whatever else it was we were pretending to be at the time.  Once we hit Grade 7, Junior High in this neck of the woods, we discovered girls.  So much for the close knit buddies, it was ever man for himself.

The day I took this photograph (yes TOOK it, not MADE it) I had ready to go my Nikon D700, Leica M3 and M5 and  a Panasonic LX-5.  The Panasonic won out.  I am totally amazed at the image quality this camera outputs.  The Leica optics are razor sharp and contrasty.  Dynamic range is tremendous giving me the ability to convert some images to Black and White.  I’m not all that fussy about colour imagery beyond accurate colour reproduction.  I am use to Kodachrome and it’s limited applications however when it comes to Black and White it better be good or it hits the for sale sites.

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It’s hard to show you the detail and excellent tonal range in this image.  It seems whatever algorithm WordPress uses really messes things up.  In the original image you can see every single eyelash and the background which was at least 7 stops darker than the foreground has plenty of rich luminous detail.

If you are looking for a very pocketable P&S I highly recommend the Panasonic LX-5.  I hear the LX-7 is even better.  I got my LX-5 new for $250 just before the LX-7 came out.  Frankly I was quite prepared to hate this camera.  I had already burned through Nikon, Canon, and Olympus P&S’s.  Image quality was dismal and most exhibited large amounts of chromatic nastiness.  My wife’s Canon G11 is a decent camera but way to heavy to carry in your pocket.  Check out what dpreview had to say about the LX-5 when it first was announced by clicking here.

So when I next decide to “walk the line” I will have my trusty Panasonic LX-5 in my pocket and adventure in my heart.

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This little Piggy went to Market

by on May.17, 2013, under Location

This little Piggy went to Market - copyright Eric G. Rose 2013

This little Piggy went to Market

During my illustrious career I worked in retail for a short time. The first time was when I was newly married and found I needed to work three jobs to get where we wanted to financially. The second time was when I thought, as a semi-retirement gig, it would be fun to work at Home Depot.  One of those bucket list things.

The first gig was in the menswear department at a national department chain store. With the exception of perverts spying on other men trying on clothes in the next cubicle and the odd couple thinking it would be fun to have sex in a change room people were pretty well behaved.  You never found garbage stuffed into merchandising racks or left in the change rooms.  People would actually come and ask you where the garbage can was.

Then jump forward 40 years to my gig at Home Depot. I was shocked to find that customers felt the displays were just very fancy garbage receptacles. We would find half eaten hamburgers, scrunched up snotty Kleenex’s and to top it off dirty diapers stuffed into merchandise.  I even caught one father letting his kid urinate into a display toilet.  As the kids say, WTF!  Please note that there are garbage cans all over the store and a public washroom.

Will that be Pretzels with your double double? - copyright Eric G. Rose 2013

Will that be Pretzels with your double double?

The biggest offenders are Tim Horton’s customers. By far! Unfortunately we had a Tim’s very close by. From what I heard it is one of the busiest Timmie’s in all of Canada. Good for them. I wish they would send their staff through the store several times a day to clean up all the coffee cups left all over the place. Well actually it’s not their fault, it’s their slovenly customers.

You might think that this problem might be typical in a hardware store. What with all these thwarthy constructions types and all. Not so.

It seems litter bugs have infested our usual grocery shopping destination, the The Great Canadian Superstore, owned by Loblaws. Country Hills location to be specific.  I generally find at least six to ten Tim Horton’s cups every shopping trip.

Didn't even try and hide this Tim Horton's cup! copyright Eric G. Rose 2013

Didn’t even try and hide this Tim Horton’s cup!

Driving around Calgary you can see hundreds of Tim Horton’s cups littering the roads every day.  What is it with Tim Horton’s customers?  Why are they so disrespectful?  I feel Tim Hortons should do more to educate these louts that it’s evil to litter.  It’s an affront to all of us that have to endure their piggish behaviour.  Just who do they think they are?  Do they feel they are entitled to have some poor minimum wage person clean up after them?

At Home Depot our staff was trained to keep their areas clean.  Generally our customers were not subjected to Tim Horton’s trash.  Unfortunately The Great Canadian Superstore either does not have enough staff to keep the place clean or it’s not a priority for them.  But then again why should we the consumer have to pay higher prices so retail establishments can keep their shelves clean of trash dropped by ignorant people?

Gee thanks for turning my stomach! Tim Horton's piggies - copyright Eric G. Rose 2013

Gee thanks for turning my stomach!

Do you have the same problem in your area?  While my American readers probably don’t have Tim Hortons in their area I am sure they have other popular coffee establishments.  In Canada Tim Hortons is a religion.  I’ve heard they have a 70% market share for coffee here.  With success comes responsibility.

On the official Tim Horton’s website they express their desire to reduce litter.  Here is what they say:

At Tim Horton’s, we are aware of the environmental impacts of our packaging and waste materials. We are attempting to deal with the litter issue in a variety of ways:

  • We have anti-litter messages on all of our packaging items, including a “Do Not Litter” message on all of our take-out cups. Sadly, many people do not pay attention to these messages but we continue to work with other members of our industry to tackle the litter problem in a meaningful and effective way.
  • To ensure a clean community many Tim Hortons restaurants sponsor local clean up events and activities in their communities.
  • We have waste reduction strategies to try and combat litter from its source. Tim Hortons is one of the few quick service restaurants to offer china mugs, plates and bowls to guests eating in our restaurants. This helps to reduce paper waste being created in the first place.
  • All Tim Hortons restaurants sell reusable Tim Mugs. And while a Tim Mug may not be a practical solution for all guests it does provide a good alternative. The incentive for purchasing a Tim Mug is that the first coffee is free (coupon included inside the Tim Travel Mug) and each refill gets a 10 cent discount (hot beverage discount applies to any travel mug fill).

Clearly these initiatives are not working.  Looks good and sounds good, but the effectiveness is woefully lacking.

It’s time for Tim Hortons to step up and become part of the solution, not just enablers of the problem.  Until I see Tim Hortons doing something substantial to re-educate their customers I will not be supporting the Tim Horton’s machine any longer.  No more Timmie’s for me.

Tim Horton's stands on guard for thee. - copyright Eric G. Rose 2013

Tim Horton’s stands on guard for thee.

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