Eric G. Rose – Where It's At

Archive for February, 2012

Camera Review – Olympus 35RD

by on Feb.28, 2012, under Camera Review, Cameras, Film, Scanning

Yesterday I saw an announcement for Nokia's latest cellphone.  What makes this important to me was the claim it sported a 41 megapixel camera.  Should be interesting to see just what the image quality will be.  Being the contrarian that I am, I have decided to do an in depth review of a 64 megapixel pocketable point and shoot camera, sans phone.  This little modern wonder is the Olympus 35RD, produced in the 1970's.  To get 64 megapixels requires one further step, you must scan the 35mm film it uses.  I found this little beauty in an antique store here in Calgary.  It was just sitting there looking very lonely and forlorn so I just had to buy it and take it home. Cost me all of $10.  Yes my parents had problems with me bringing home puppies and kittens too. Front view Olympus 35RC - Reviewed by Eric Rose Fine Art PhotographyOnce home I fished out a roll of 35mm Fuji color negative film from the refrigerator and loaded this baby up.  The meter proved to be operational but the battery was leaking so I replaced it.  The shutter sounded good, no oil on the aperture blades and the foam seal around the back door looked soft and light tight.  Time to put it through it's paces. I am use to rangefinders as I have both a Leica M3 and M5 so focusing this camera was not a problem.  The patch could have been a little brighter but it sure beats the focusing patch in my Olympus XA.  The XA seems to have a cult following but it certainly does not have anything over this camera. The features I immediately recognized as nifty were the flash settings.  On the main aperture rotating ring there is a green thunderbolt.  If you are using a fully manual flash set the camera to this setting.  Then look under the lens and you will see a little tab where you can set the Guide Number (GN) of your flash.  From then on just focus and the camera will set the proper aperture (f-stop).  Heck we had to wait until the mid 2000's to get this kind of functionality on digital SLR's!  Another feature I appreciate is the ability to meter through filters that are added to the taking lens.  Many small rangefinders have the light sensor on the body rather than in the lenses light path.  If this is the case in my opinion it renders the camera useless.  For those of us that love to take manual control of a camera this little baby allows us that freedom as well.   Just move the aperture ring off of A for automatic, set your shutter speed and the camera's meter will suggest the f-stop you should use.  Makes it easy to bias your exposures plus or minus for tricky lighting conditions. The lens on the Olympus 35RD is a razor sharp 42mm f1.7.  Something or a rarity these days.  Fast lenses are not being produced by point and shootTop view Olympus 35RC - Reviewed by Eric Rose Fine Art Photography manufacturers due to cost and the new digital sensors being able to shoot in low light with ever better performance.  However I like the ability to use fast lenses for their wide open shallow depth of field look.  Something that is impossible to get with the newer cameras unless you spend mega bucks.  Many have said that the only way you can tell the difference between images taken with this lens and a Leica 35mm f 1.4 ASPH Summilux-M is through a microscope. The proof is in the pudding so to speak.  My usual method of testing any camera or lens is to take a bunch of real world photographs that will highlight any strengths or weaknesses of the test equipment.  I am not really all that interested in laboratory measurements and voodoo speak.  My main test criteria is for a camera and lens to be able to handle low contrast, high contrast, straight lines, edge to edge sharpness, focus accuracy and exposure accuracy.  Ergonomics, sound and just general vibe are also important.  One thing I must say is that this camera is so quiet sometimes I couldn't tell if it actually took the picture.  If this is something that is important to you then definitely seek out one of these little gems. On the downside I found it hard to focus with my glasses on.  It was possible, but worked better if I took my glasses off.  I didn't have to worry about scratching my $1200 pair of specks as the viewfinder has a plastic guard around it.  Hey Leica, learn something.  Maybe the later Leica's have plastic guards now but my M3 and M5 sure don't. The following photographs are scans of drug store 4x6 prints.  No Photoshop wizardry  has been added beyond making them look like the original prints.  You can see for yourself that this camera performs very well.  The detail in the shadows was exceptional while not blowing out the bright areas.  The glint on the bright silver tubing on the chairs was well controlled with nice little stars.  The camera's meter handled complex meter situations well too.   You can also see in the shot of the fence that there is no perceivable distortion or fuzziness at the edges.  Most shots were taken between f8 and f16. This camera really has a "vibe" factor of 4 out of  5.  The Olympus XA has a full house 5 but it harder to use and the image fall off in the corners is bothersome unless that is the look you are going for.  This little camera will find a place in my computer bag for daily film shooting.  Those poor Leica's are going to whine and moan I know it.

Sharpness test Olympus 35RC - Reviewed by Eric Rose Fine Art Photography

close focus test Olympus 35RC - Reviewed by Eric Rose Fine Art Photography

bright highlights test Olympus 35RC - Reviewed by Eric Rose Fine Art Photography

extreme exposure range test Olympus 35RC - Reviewed by Eric Rose Fine Art Photography

low contrast test Olympus 35RC - Reviewed by Eric Rose Fine Art Photography

 
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Dreaming of Spring

by on Feb.26, 2012, under Cameras, Family, Film, Friends, Location, Photographers, Travel

Eric Rose Fine Art Photography - Spring Crucus Photograph

My "Perfect" Crocus Photograph

As I write this, snow is swirling outside my office window.   Anyone who knows me well knows I hate winter.  Winter in Canada anyway.  October to May in the Caribbean, Thailand, Bali to name a few places would be infinitely more bearable.  Life is what it is and I am firmly planted here in Calgary Alberta, Canada for the foreseeable future. Today my thoughts turned to a right of spring I participated in for at least 30 years.  It was the search for the perfect crocus photograph.  According to Wikipedia: "Crocus (plural: crocuses, croci) is a genus in the iris family comprising about 80 species of perennials growing from corms. Many are cultivated for their flowers appearing in autumn, winter, or spring. Crocuses are native to woodland, scrub and meadows from sea level to alpine tundra in central and southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, on the islands of the Aegean, and across Central Asia to western China.  The name of the genus is derived from the Greek krokos (κρόκος). This in turn is probably a loan word from a Semitic language, related to Hebrew כרכום karkōm, Aramaic ܟܟܘܪܟܟܡܡܐ kurkama, Persian and Arabic كركم kurkum, which mean saffron or saffron yellow.   The name ultimately comes from Sanskrit कुङ्कुमं kunkumam, unless the Sanskrit word is from the Semitic one." As the weather warms and the snow recedes I keep an eye out for a faint burst of purple peaking through the native grasslands around Calgary.  I  inherited this crocus fascination from my mother. I think deep down she was just as depressed about winter as I am.  As a child I would tag along with her as she hiked through local grasslands looking for that "perfect" crocus.  Many years later and several hundred photographs of crocuses printed my mother rewarded my efforts by purchasing a crocus photograph from one of my photographic students.  This picture was prominently displayed on our living room.  In all fairness it was a very nice photograph (grumble grumble). My quest continued, now with a heightened sense of urgency, I had to replace that photograph in the living room with one of my own.  It was a pride thing.  The gauntlet had been thrown down. It never happened.  My mother died from cancer but at least she had a crocus photograph that gave her pleasure and reminded her of the great times we had together.  However my quest continued unabated. Jump forward a bunch of years to an afternoon spent in Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park with a group of photographers from my Large Format Users Group.  I started this group around 2006 to promote the use of large format film cameras in Calgary.  Naturally a side benefit was meeting and becoming friends with a great bunch of photographers.  On this day however I had my Nikon D70s equipped with a razor sharp Nikkor 60mm macro lens by my side.  No pretty large format landscapes for me today, it was crocus day! After two hours of climbing hills, sliding down into steep gullies just to climb up the other side I finally found my crocus.  There were no trumpets.  Charlton Heston did not appear as Moses and point to this perfect flower with his God given staff.  Nor was the light right.  Urgh!  After several moments of disgust I thought I might as well take the shot and see if I could do something with it in Photoshop.  Heck if you can make ugly people look like runway models in Photoshop I should be able to fix the lighting. My tripod would not allow me to get down to the level I wanted so my LowePro pack was pressed into service.  A few errant sprigs of  grass were removed (yes I am one of those, get over it) focus was adjusted and I was ready to make my photograph.  Then a miracle happened, a cloud covered the sun.  Thanks mom, I am sure you were watching me.  Hopefully you find this shot worthy of your mantel in heaven. The photo may not be perfect in your eyes and maybe you have better ones yourself.  Personally I am happy with this one and have ended my quest.  I have not taken another crocus picture since.  Mission accomplished.
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Innocence

by on Feb.14, 2012, under Cameras, Family

Innocence (or guiltlessness) is a term used to indicate a lack of guilt, with respect to any kind of crime, sin, or wrongdoing. In a legal context, innocence refers to the lack of legal guilt of an individual, with respect to a crime. The lamb is a commonly used symbol of innocence's nature. In Christianity, for example, Jesus is referred to as the "Lamb of God", thus emphasizing his sinless nature. Other symbols of innocence include children, virgins, acacia branches (especially in Freemasonry), non-sexual nudity, and the color white.
Tamara Picking Clover - Eric Rose Fine Art Photography

The Innocence of Youth

  The photo above was taken with a Nikon F2 and probably my old trusty Nikkor 43-86 zoom on Kodachrome 64 film.  This is my oldest daughter who just recently turned 30.  She still exhibits the same wonderment and zest for life as she did 28 years ago, but now tempered with life experience.  Is the innocence still there?  Sure it is.  It will always be there even if it has to work it's way to the surface every once in awhile.  She has the strength to insure no one will ever take that part away from her.  Whether she believes in God or not, her spirit was given to her by the Creator and will be welcomed home when that time comes.  Hopefully not for many years to come as she has so much spirit to share with those around her. Sometimes bad things happen to even the most innocent.  Think of the souls lost in Syria right now.  Babies and mothers blown to bits by a mad man.  When people lose their innocence it is usually at the hands of the guilty, if you can call the opposite of innocent - guilt. However these unfortunate victims of murder in Syria have not really lost their innocence, just their worldly projection of it.  Innocence is within the spirit, which now rests with God. Those that have that special ability to make others feels special, whether it's their own child, extended family or close friends are special in themselves.  They are a rarity in today's "me" world.  These special people are selfless and work long hours, many over looked, to insure the quality of life for those around them is the best. I want to talk now about someone in our family who is one of these very special people.   I have only known her for around ten years but in that short time have learned to love her.  Every time we visit she goes out of her way to make us feel special even though at the same time she is working a very demanding job and running a very active household.  Juanita is her name, not that would mean anything to many of you, but this is one person that should not remain nameless in a world of sensory clutter.  Nothing she has done will make the evening news.  She won't appear as a trending item on Twitter. Nor will she have hours and hours of coverage devoted to her by CNN as she fights the biggest battle of her life.  This person who could have done anything in her life devoted all her waking energy to the well being of others.  Juanita worked in an old folks home for most of her adult life.  She choose to work in a position that gave her a very hands on relationship with those in her care.  Her spirit and innocent light infused those around her.  Juanita is the ultimate "mother hen" even taking on the job as head contract negotiator for the care workers at her place of work. Juanita and her husband Gerald brought up three lovely, caring and equally "innocent" children into adulthood.  Each of their children have been infused with the spirit of their mother. Juanita has been struck with a inoperable case of cancer.  Bad things happen to good people.  Just as they happen to bad people.  There is an equality there that doesn't seem fair.  Why would God allow that?  Why would God allow a child to lose his or her little life as in Syria?  From God’s perspective, that life is not lost.  God is able to restore to that child their life, so no loss is suffered on the part of the child.  Life is not lost to the One who can restore it. What about the grief that parents and family experience?  In our loss, the presence of God is available for us to experience His strength, His comfort, His sustaining love and assurance in the face of the evil that exists.  God sustains those who grieve for those He calls to Himself. Juanita's brothers, sisters and parents have flown to Abbotsford, BC where she lives to offer support and encouragement.  This is one very close family.  In the pictures my wife brought back Juanita still has that special smile. I'm not writing a eulogy here, Juanita is still with us.  I can feel the warmth of her smile as I think of her.  Juanita is a unique person who deserves all the blessing, prayers or positive vibes any of you reading this can send her.  She deserves it.  Juanita has the fight of her life ahead of her.  She has spent her entire life helping others.  Now it our turn to help this very special person in any way we can. Juanita has that special innocence.  She still has that special ability to get excited about clover flowers just as my daughter did 28 years ago, even though her world around her is anything but easy.  
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The Wildrose Brewery

by on Feb.05, 2012, under Cameras, Developing, Location

Wildrose Brewery Vats and Kegs - image taken by Eric Rose Fine Art Photographer I spent a wonderful afternoon at the Wildrose Brewery a couple of years ago.  I had spotted this place about a year before while at a farmers' market.  The brewery is housed in an old decommissioned Canadian Army base .  What was more than likely a storage building for machinery now housed these gleaming vats full of God's special nectar. I lugged my backpack full of large format lenses, loaded film packs and a Linhof Technica IV past the patrons in the front, through those special swinging doors that separated reality from a Willy Wonka-esk sudsy utopia.  The Wildrose Brewery is a relatively low tech facility. Since they are a micro brewery the output is small when compared to the big operators like Molsons or Labatts.  Here the staff are very hands on with every facet of production.  They actually care about the product they produce and it shows in the taste.  Years ago I had dealings with one of the chemists that work for a once large beer "manufacturer" here in Canada.  I asked him what was his favorite brand.  His answer surprised me, he said he didn't drink beer, he knew what was in it.  Interesting to say the least. Here at the Wildrose Brewery they coax out several very distinctive brews from their specially picked ingredients.  "Manufacturing" suds is so far from their reality you have to wonder how some of the swill produced by the big manufacturers can be called beer.   Wildrose beer has become popular here in Calgary due to its taste, not through juvenile commercials. This particular shot wasn't easy.  There was a door open on the left that was bathing the kegs in direct sunlight.  The vertical vats were in shade with the background almost dark.  The scene brightness ratio (SBR) was approaching 10 or 11.  Fortunately I use PyroCat-HD as my primary developer utilizing a semi-stand regime.  I adjusted my ASA (ya I'm an old fart and still call it ASA) to the appropriate value, placed my zones where I wanted them and let'r rip.  As it turns out the neg is fairly easy to print, only a little dodging and burning here and there.  The film I am using is Efke PL100  also known as ADOX 100.  I would really like to make a digital neg about 11x14 and use it to produce a carbon print as I have seen Sandy King do.  Carbon prints have such a 3D look to them. Once finished my shooting for the day the Brewmaster took me around and we spent at least an hour sampling various beers straight out of the vats.  Before I left I did a crew portrait which was dropped off to them the following week.  One copy for each of them.
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