Once every three years, as if possessed by some inner-biological masochism clock, I'll inexplicably grab a camera on the way out the door to watch Vancouver's annual Celebration of Light fireworks competition. It's a curious act for someone who's violently allergic to fireworks photos.
Red cameras are intriguing — not just for filmmakers, but for still photographers as well. But they're also expensive. Even a complete "entry level" Red Scarlet system is likely to cost as much as a brand new fully-loaded compact automobile. Which is precisely why, when I set out to see how a Red camera might fit my requirements as a still photographer, I chose "Green." Green, in this case, relates to the color of ink under which the purchase appears in my accounting software. Green, specifically, means a LomoKino 35 motion camera. Used, this camera set me back the price of one breakfast. This article discusses why I've been itching for a Red camera, and how I managed to scratch it with my Green camera.
It might be a film. It might be a slide show. It might be a music video. Or it might just be me trying to grunt and babble my way to a new visual language. All that's really known is it's a collection of 47 moody, melancholic, phantasmagorical photos of rain, sequenced into an ebb and flow and supported by a suitably elegiac musical score.
We need to fit the term “photographer” with a pair of concrete shoes, and drop it in the nearest lake. Photography is no longer a unique ability — but the numerous tasks we can accomplish with photography ARE still unique. And this uniqueness is how each of us, moving forward, must define ourselves.
On May 10th, Leica Camera announced the M-Monochrom, a modified version of my beloved M9, which contains a monochromatic (rather than color) digital sensor. It's the camera I've dreamed of owning for over 6 years. So why am I having nightmares? Because I'm trying desperately to convince myself I don't actually need it.
In this article, I struggle with the idea that my rugged, he-man camera of choice isn't peddled in a depot, market or shop — but in a boutique! And I attend the opening of the first Leica Boutique in Canada in an effort to get to the bottom of it all.
"Memory Lane," as I define it, is "a long strip of acetate with a silver halide coating." I consider my film cameras to be miniature time capsules — my past self records a person, scene or event that it thinks my future self will find interesting. This article discusses one such trip down Memory Lane, and how it isn't quite the way I remembered it.
Chemical dependency is defined as an addiction to a mood-altering chemical. If denied access to the chemical, the dependent person is unable to function properly, and lives only for the chemical and the relief it brings. I never thought it would happen to me — but that was before I discovered the magical developing powers of Rodinal.
At this very moment, there are likely thousands of Canon AE-1's languishing in boxes, drawers and cabinets all around the world. Pity. Because this is as wonderful a camera today as it was when it was first released in 1976. This is the story of my Dad's AE-1, and its resurrection from a 30 year stint in the bottom of a box.
There is no such thing as technical perfection. There is no perfect camera. There is no perfect lens, flash, film or Photoshop plugin. There is only the perfect image — and people have been taking them for well over a hundred years with some amazingly imperfect gear. So why do we, as photographers, spend so much of our time wading about in the gear guano canal?
For the last several years, various mid-20th century sources have exerted a profound influence on my own photography: golden age photojournalists of the 1930s and 1940s; post-war photo essays from the 1950s; and John Szarkowski’s New Documentarian leanings of the 1960s. I wasn’t always this anachronistic. Rather, I used to be even more so, and once drew inspiration from the pictorialists, surrealists and Czech avant-garde. Lately, I seem to be backsliding into my old, early-20th century "pictsurrealist" habits, and my tool of choice is the humble pinhole. Shooting through a pinhole is like shooting through a wormhole. It’s a shortcut through time. This article talks about the aesthetics and mechanics of looking through this wormhole, and illustrates what might be looking back.
In this article, I struggle to find the perfect New Year's resolution — you know, something fairly trite and not too onerous. Along the journey, I discuss the often negative effect other people's resolutions have on me, and wax nostalgic over the one and only shining example of positive effect — a phenomena I once dubbed, "The January Effect."
I make no money writing these articles for ULTRAsomething. So I moonlight by writing the f/Egor column for Leica Camera — a gig that pays me... umm... actually it pays absolutely nothing. Obviously I haven't completely grasped the meaning of "moonlighting," but I do understand the meaning of "respect." And so should anyone else who photographs on the streets.
"Hey, I know! Why don't I take a nice black and white photo of the colorful fall foliage?" Really, I have thoughts like this. And it's not like life isn't already stressful enough without my masochistic need to invent photographic assignments that I can't possibly hope to satisfy. Why do I do this? Well, surprisingly it has something to do with underwear modeling...
When Leica lent me their new Super-Elmar-M 21mm f/3.4 ASPH lens, I gave a figurative shrug. I already owned an excellent copy of an old 21mm f/2.8 Elmarit pre-ASPH, which I absolutely love. So it would be highly unlikely that Leica's new 21mm would actually inspire a case of gear lust… but gear lust I have. The Leica 21mm Super-Elmar-M is one of the most stunning lenses I've yet mounted on any camera. This article discusses the reasons why I feel this way.
Once every three months I slip away from all the limelight, tinsel and glamor of the blogging world, and I take a good long look at ULTRAsomething. I ask myself a great number of questions about what this site is and what it should be. It's a quarterly rite of passage that rarely yields any useful answers. The reason, of course, is that I'm asking the wrong person. Instead of asking myself these questions, I should be asking you, my readers...
With the release of the GXR Mount A12 module for M-series rangefinder lenses, the Ricoh GXR camera system has not only come of age, but found its way into my camera bag. This article discusses why the GXR has replaced Micro Four Thirds as the digital backup to my Leica M9, and what Ricoh can do to make it even better.