Monday, September 30, 2013

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5 Goes Fishing Again

I have recently found that the very best treatment for my chronic lower back pain is kayaking. I know, it sounds weird to me as well, but there you have it. In fact, my physical therapist has now made a custom exercise for me, replicating the motion of paddling a kayak, and it really works.
Of course, permanently switching to Micro 4/3 to lower the weight of my camera would help, too. :)
Anyway, I got out in the kayak for a couple of hours today, and casted around with my ultralight spinning reel. Here's what I caught:
White Bass, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5 Waterproof Camera
White Bass, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5 Waterproof Camera
I had accidentally left the TS5 in one of the custom modes, this one for shooting through glass. I have no idea how it does it, but the effect is a little like a mild polarizer, which darkened up the water surface quite nicely.
It's really handy to have a tough, waterproof, compact camera on hand, especially in my kayak.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Live Music - My Report on The Infamous Stringdusters is Up!

I've been writing periodically for the live music blog, Cosmic Vibes Live. Last week, they got me into a great show - The Infamous Stringdusters at The Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia. My report is now up.
(Click Here) to read my show report on Cosmic Vibes Live.
The link above will let you read the musical aspects of the experience. I'll hit a few of the photographic aspects here.
Infamous Stringdusters, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 20mm f2.8 AF-D Lens
iso 1600, f2.8, 1/125 sec.
First, I usually rely on my Nikon DSLRs (D700 and D300) for indoor live music events. The high iso performance is unmatched by my other cameras.
Many concert photographers shoot with two or three zoom lenses. In the Nikon system, that's usually the 24-70mm, 70-200mm, and 12-24mm lenses, all fixed f2.8. I prefer to shoot Nikkor prime lenses. On this evening, I took a 20mm f2.8, 50mm f1.4, 85mm f1.8 and 180mm f2.8. I understand the tradeoff between primes and zooms. Yes, I have to change lenses more frequently in a crowd than I'd like. However, the generally faster f-stops are worth it. They're also a lot lighter to carry. On the long end, my 180mm f2.8 Nikkor is one half the weight of a 70-200mm f2.8 zoom.
I used the 20mm f2.8 on my D700 a lot at this show. My strategy was to move right up to front row center at the set break. While I didn't get all the way to the barrier, I was only one row of people back. I did have to lift my camera above everyone's heads, but that worked. With the 20mm field of view, it was relatively easy to compose overhead, even without an articulating LCD screen. I rarely use LiveView on my D700, but it came in handy for this.
Infamous Stringdusters, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 20mm f2.8 AF-D Lens
iso 1600, f2.8, 1/125 sec.
The 20mm also worked well for shooting people in the audience close up, though there was a lot less light:
First Set List, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 20mm f2.8 AF-D Lens
iso 3200, f2.8, 1/30 sec.

I also shot a lot with the 85mm f1.8 on my D300. The APS-C sensor makes this roughly the equivalent of a very fast 135mm f1.8 lens. Occasionally, I used the other lenses, or even swapped the 20 and 85 between the two bodies to take advantage of the different field of view due to sensor size differences. The D700 is better at high iso than the D300, but both perform very well at iso 1600 or even 3200.
Jeremy Garrett of the Infamous Stringdusters, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 85mm f1.8 AF-D Lens
iso 1600, f2, 1/250 sec.
I have been having a lot of fun writing and shooting for Cosmic Vibes Live. I hope to keep this collaboration up for a very long time.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

What is it About Buildings Being Destroyed and Old Cameras?

Demolition, Washington, DC, by Reed A. George
Agfa Record III
The picture above is a repost. I've reposted it for a reason, which is to discuss why these types of scenes are interesting. I suppose when a building is being torn down, you get a view inside that would be impossible in any other way. Even though I'm sure the building was emptied before the wrecking ball came in, it feels like I can simultaneously look into ten or more peoples' homes. I've never recognized myself as this type of voyeur, but must admit it's intriguing. Intriguing to the point, in fact, that I immediately pulled the car over out of DC traffic when I saw it. I even had to move a couple of times to avoid the construction guys yelling at me for parking. But, I had to get the shot.
And for some reason, I found the scene to be exactly what I wanted to shoot with my SFTC camera for August, the Agfa Record III. Now, I doubt if there's really any meaningful connection between this particular type of scene and vintage film cameras. But, here's another similar combination to look at:
(Click Here) to see Matthijs van Ed van der Pals' shots of a demolition site, made with a Rolleicord IV. Same medium format film as the Agfa Record, but the similarities rapidly fall off from there, with the Record being a folding camera, the Rolleicord a twin lens reflex (TLR).

Friday, September 27, 2013

Courage! Civil War Tour of Washington, DC

As part of our LHSA meetup in Washington, DC on September 21, a couple of us took part in a Civil War walking tour.
Led by character Demetria Parish, a Pennsylvania girl who married and moved to DC (along with her sister), we walked through the modern streets of DC together, hearing the stories of 150 years past. Dressed in hoop skirt and all, Demetria shared plenty of period gossip with us.
(Click Here) to read about the Courage! tour on
Demetria Parish, in Front of Clara Barton's Offices, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Minolta Rokkor 45mm f2.8 LTM Lens
iso 400, f4.8, 1/125 sec.
We met a few other characters on our walk, including this lovely catholic nun, who passed Demetria a secret letter. It seems that letter never made if further, being stuffed into Demetria's bag, and likely forgotten.
Nun With A Secret, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Minolta Rokkor 45mm f2.8 LTM Lens
iso 400, f4, 1/500 sec.
From a photographer's perspective, seeing Matthew Brady's studio building was a treat. Mr. Brady was a driving force in photography during the Civil War, the first war to be significantly captured on film (or at least the bodies of dead soldiers, which allowed capture with extremely slow films). We also heard a story about how his assistant, on the roof to adjust light-diffusing curtains to improve the lighting for General Grant's portrait, stepped through the slanted glass, showering the General in shards.
Matthew Brady's Studio, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Minolta Rokkor 45mm f2.8 LTM Lens
iso 400, f4.8, 1/3000 sec.
We spent some time around the old patent office (now the National Portrait Gallery) and post office (Monaco Hotel). Ms. Parish worked in the Dead Letters office.
The tour ended up outside Ford's Theatre, where the news of Mr. Lincoln's death, at the hands of actor John Wilkes, was just coming out. It seems Ms. Parish had something of a thing for Wilkes, and she's shocked to learn of his true character.
Demetria Parish and Mary Lincoln in Front of Ford's Theatre, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Minolta Rokkor 45mm f2.8 LTM Lens
iso 400, f4, 1/2000 sec.
The tour was really informative and enjoyable, drawing plenty of looks from passers by. Demetria consistently told us to watch out for carriages (cars) and to walk carefully around the horses (once a dog, in another case a set of seqways on tour).
As you can see, I shot with my WLL lens for this month, the Minolta Rokkor 45mm f2.8. I'm overall pleased with the result. The first image above is extremely sharp, showing what the lens can do when used carefully.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Second LHSA (International Leica Society) Local Meetup in DC

On Saturday, September 21, we held the second DC area local meetup of the LHSA, the International Leica Society.
(Click Here) to read about and join the LHSA.
A couple of us met for a civil war era walking tour of DC, rounding out our group of five at lunch and conversation at the National Portrait Gallery. Unfortunately, a couple of members had to cancel last-minute, so participation was about the same as our first meeting. I'm sure the near 100% chance of rain didn't help, either.
Kevin, Jerry, Bill, and Charlie, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Minolta Rokkor 45mm f2.8 Lens
iso 640, f6.4, 1/45 sec.
As agreed at our first meeting, most of us brought Leica prints to discuss, which is always useful. I like to get critical feedback, and hear how others would have made the shot.

Here's what was going on beside our table at the Portrait Gallery:
Gymnastics, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Minolta Rokkor 45mm f2.8 Lens
iso 640, f3.4, 1/180 sec.
This time, I tried to diversify the meeting a little by adding the civil war walking tour. I'll post a few pictures from that experience in a later post. Led by a period actress, complete with hoop skirt, I found it quite interesting. Some of the members missed the tour because of a Metro train delay, which was unfortunate.
(Click Here) to see a description of the tour "Courage," presented by Natalie Zanin's historic tour company.
Here are a couple of other shots I grabbed throughout the day with my M9 and Whole Lotta Leica lens for September, the Rokkor 45mm f2.8.
Lift, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Minolta Rokkor 45mm f2.8 Lens
iso 400, f11, 1/350 sec.
Style, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Minolta Rokkor 45mm f2.8 Lens
iso 640, f5.7, 1/1000 sec.
While the participation didn't increase from the first meeting, I do feel like we're forming a good core of members for these events. I will continue to think about ways to increase participation, and draw new members to the meetups. The quality of conversation was great, and made for an enjoyable afternoon.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Another Classic Camera Blog! And Some Examples From A Yashica 124G TLR.

I just found a great blog by Matthijs van Ede van der Pals in the Netherlands. Matthijs has a nice and growing collection of classic cameras, and is getting them out to shoot! If you like my Skeletons From The Closet series,
(Click Here) to visit Matthijs' blog.
Image Source:
Matthisj made the shot above with a YashicaMat 124G twin lens reflex (TLR) camera. I love TLRs, and have several in my collection. My favorites, and the benchmarks for the TLR design, are from Rollei. I have a Rolleicord and a couple of f3.5 Rolleiflexes. One camera I'd love to add to my collection is a Rolleiflex f2.8, with either a Zeiss Planar or a Schneider Xenotar lens. I just haven't run across exactly the right camera yet.
I also have a Minolta Autocord (Click Here), and a Super Ricohflex (Click Here), both nice TLRs. In fact, I have a later Ricohflex waiting in the wings for testing.
For some reason, I've never used a YashicaMat 124G like Matthijs'. I did have a very old, beat up early Yashica TLR, which worked pretty well, but I sold it. I have never been a big fan of Yashica's rangefinders, like the Electro 35 GSN, even though the 45mm Yashinon f1.7 lens is excellent. The mechanics of their rangefinders just don't feel right to me, and I also nearly require manual exposure capability. I have heard that the 124G TLR is a super camera, though. Maybe I'll try one some day.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Lucky Shot - One With the World in Maui

One With the World, by Reed A. George
Leica M6, Leica Summicron 50mm f2 Lens
Kodak Tmax 400 Film
Well, I'm waiting for my negatives from Maui to arrive back in the mail from The Darkroom. I usually only spring for the cheapest scans from The Darkroom, as I like to scan my own selected images. However, this one looks so good to me in the online scans that I decided to go ahead and post it.
I shot this on the way back into town after a walk to the Buddhist temple in Lahaina Town. I didn't know this person, and just happened to catch the moment, as his family continued on down the beach by the Lahaina breakwall. I love the feel of this image.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Carl Merkin Writes About Working in the NYC SoHo Leica Store

Image Source:
Carl Merkin, a name familiar to those of us in the LHSA (International Leica Society) has recently begun working full-time in the new SoHo Leica store. He wrote an interesting story about the experience for the Leica Camera Blog:
(Click Here) to read Mr. Merkin's story.
I enjoy Carl's thoughts about the people he meets in his work there, and the experience of watching a new Leica owner walk out of the store with a smile. I'm a big supporter of the Leica stores, and sure enjoy the one we have here in DC. I'm planning a trip to NYC this fall, and must make time to get to the store. Hopefully, I can arrange to meet up with Carl while I'm there.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Long Live Film(?)

This subject has been covered so many times. However, it seems timely to address it today for me, since I walked into one of the few remaining local processing stores (a Walgreens) yesterday, only to find that they'd removed their film processing equipment.
Don't get me wrong - I prefer the mail-in service of The Darkroom most of the time. But yesterday, I wanted to see some results from a new camera, same day. I was not happy to find that the machine was gone. I guess I can't expect to send most of my stuff to The Darkroom and maintain local processing. I made the right choice. So, long live The Darkroom!
(Click Here) to see the excellent services The Darkroom provides.
(Click Here) to see an interesting video trailer about an upcoming movie about film photography, featured on the blog THEME.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Report On the New Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 On Luminous Landscape

The New Panasonic DMC-GX7
Image Source:
I've been watching for some reports on the new Lumix GX7 Micro 4/3 camera from Panasonic. I only care about reports from people who've actually used the camera, rather than simply reviewed the specifications. I found a very nice, concise report from Michael Reichmann on Luminous Landscape, a site that I respect highly.
(Click Here) to read Mr. Reichmann's full report on Luminous Landscape.
Here are some of the high points of the report.
  • Camera size - unlike the flagship Lumix DMC-GH3, the GX7 is small. I believe that's one of the most important aspects of the Micro 4/3 format - small cameras and lenses.
  • Image quality - at least matching the DMC-GH3 and Olympus OMD, according to the report
  • In-body stabilization - this is important for those of us who like to use old "legacy" lenses on Micro 4/3 cameras. Olympus has had this for a long time, but the GX7 is the first Lumix to have the stabilization built into the body, rather than the lenses.
  • Electronic and mechanical shutters - the electronic shutter reduces wear on the mechanical one, and allows one to shoot completely silently. I need to read up on this - I'm not sure what the downside is. I'm sure there is one, or they would have done away with the mechanical shutter altogether.

Minuses / Bugs:
  • Image stabilization (in the body) doesn't work in video mode, or with lenses that have IS built-in, even if the lens IS is turned off. Maybe this can be fixed in firmware?
  • Auto ISO doesn't work in manual exposure mode
While I have been shooting some Lumix cameras (mainly the LX7 and TS5), I have really been neglecting my Micro 4/3 gear this year, in favor of shooting my Leica M9, and doing my ongoing series of Skeletons From The Closet, where I shoot a different old film camera each month. I'm thinking about what next year will look like here on DMC-365, and may decide to bring Micro 4/3 back in a bigger way. Those gorgeous lenses are waiting to be used.
The truth is, I love shooting many different types of camera. There's simply not enough time to shoot them all. Stay tuned, I'll be sure to not let it get stale around here.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Wild Birds Flying by Paul Nelson

Wild Bird Flying, shot by Paul Nelson
Image Source:
I was browsing the great site "Lost at E Minor," which covers various aspects of art, design, and creativity, when I came across this cool photo project by Paul Nelson. Capturing wild birds in various poses of flight, Mr. Nelson produces intimate views of birds that are impossible to see watching them in real-time.
Capturing birds in flight is a challenging and rewarding pursuit. There are multiple ways to go at it. It looks like he uses strobes of some kind to freeze the motion so effectively. This approach would make it very difficult to capture a natural look in the images, but that's not his goal. Instead, he isolates the birds from their surroundings, and I think to great effect.
(Click Here) to go to Mr. Nelson's web page and see more of his work.
I enjoy capturing bird pictures that show more of their natural environment. Here's one where I got the timing pretty much right:
Wings Spread, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Sigma 150-500mm f5-6.3 APO Lens (rented) at 500mm
iso 640, f7.1, 1/1600 sec.
I rented this Sigma 150-500mm lens at Baker Photo & Video in Yukon, Oklahoma, while I was visiting my parents.
(Click Here) to find Baker Photo. If you're ever in that area, be sure to drop in. It's a real camera store with very knowledgable and helpful staff.
The Sigma 150-500mm is a very good birding lens. Just barely hand-holdable (at least with my arms), the image stabilization worked very well for me. It would be a challenge in anything but bright daylight, but that's the norm in bird photography. I don't really understand why Sigma makes their zooms so wide. I can't really imagine carrying this lens around to shoot at 150mm. But, that said, I was quite pleased with the images I captured with it. If I were looking for a handheld birding lens, especially for birds in flight, I would seriously consider this lens.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Photographing Owls - Luck Is Important

I read a post by the expert nature photographer, Stephen L.Tabone, about photographing barred owls. It seems that the population near his place are becoming more accommodating, and he's taken advantage of the opportunity:
Barred Owl, by Stephen L. Tabone
Image Source:
I have been interested in photographing owls for a long time. I've attended talks about them, and gone out scouting in the correct terrain, time of year, etc., largely to no avail. Every once in a while, someone will show me an iPhone shot of an owl that happened to land next to their car or something, and it kind of drives me crazy.
I've decided that unless you commit your life to following these guys, luck must smile on you to get a great shot like the one above. As you may have seen here earlier in the year, that has happened to me once, and only once, as far as owls are concerned. Here's my prize shot of the same species of barred owl that Stephen is capturing:
Barred Owl (Strix varia), by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Lumix 100-300mm f4-5.6 OIS Lens
iso 400, f6.3, 1/800 sec
I can at least say that I was birdwatching at the time it happened; actually I was on my way to go birdwatching when I saw this beauty perched right alongside the road. Because I was ready to photograph birds (with my Lumix 100-300mm zoom mounted and in the car), I was able to react and get the shot. I consider this a gift from the bird gods.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Recovering Polaroid (Fuji Pack Film) Negatives - I Must Try This

Image Source:
You may have seen my Low Tech Wonders post about the Polaroid 103 camera that my parents sent me. I really enjoy shooting it, and the results are pretty impressive. Using modern Fuji pack film that is still easily available (see Amazon link below), the 103 just needed a simple modification to run on AAA batteries to be once again functional.
(Click Here) to read my post about the camera.
I had heard somewhere that in addition to the instant print you get from the Fuji film, you could recover the negative image for scanning. I found a post by Koen Delvaux about how to do this.
(Click Here) to read Koen's instructions on recovering instant negatives.
Koen demonstrates that the negatives are actually much sharper than the instant prints. While the process for recovering them involves straight bleach (fairly dangerous stuff), I think it's worth a try. I don't know what to expect in terms of being able to store these negatives long-term, but if I can get a good scan of them, that's probably good enough. My Epson scanner does a much better job on negatives than on prints as well.
Thanks, Koen, for the clear explanation of how to do this!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Look at this Amazing Shot by Darek Meyer (With Ricoh GR Digital IV) as Posted on Steve Huff's Site

By Darek Meyer
Image Source:
Steve Huff commonly publishes posts by guest authors, which I think is great. When I saw this image by Darek Meyer, a Polish photographer, I was just astounded. Darek took it in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He was using a Ricoh GRD4.
(Click Here) to read Darek's post on Steve Huff's site and see a couple more of his excellent images. He writes about searching for the perfect travel camera after trying a DSLR. He was interested in the Leica Monochrom, but found the Ricoh to be best suited to his needs. Clearly it works very well in his hands.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Another Wildlife Shot From An Unlikely Camera and Lens - Leica M9 and Canon LTM 135mm f3.5

Black-Crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Canon LTM 135mm f3.5 Lens
iso 320, f4.8, 1/180 sec.
I took this shot last week in Maui. I was driving to a likely beach for my sunrise walk when I saw this guy in a pool of water next to the road. I pulled over, put the longest lens I had on my M9, which was the 135mm Canon, and started slowly approaching. He flew off, but then later returned. Waiting long enough made him less sensitive to my presence. Patience paid off, and he finally approached me this time, staying long enough for me to get a few shots.
Using a rangefinder and relatively short telephoto lens is not the proven method of shooting birds. It worked here.
I didn't really appreciate this shot until I took a longer look on a big monitor. I decided to print it at 13"x19", and that's when it really came to life for me. In addition to the awesome detail rendered in the bird's eye and feathers, the circular ripples in the water surface (rain? I don't remember) are an important element. Finally, the bird's reflection in the water surface is another nice secondary element. Overall, I'm quite pleased with this shot.
For me the bottom line is that different gear leads to different images. For example, if I shot this with a longer telephoto lens on an SLR, I'd probably miss the water ripples altogether, and using a wider aperture would prevent me from getting both the eye and feathers in sharp detail. So, I'm glad my choice of equipment challenged me to get what I did, perhaps even better than a more traditional birding rig would have allowed. Or maybe next time that I do have a longer lens, I'll be sure to include more of the surroundings, and get more depth of field. Either way, I'm learning about alternative compositions and elements.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Being A Kid - Photographed With Leica M6

Oh, the freedom of being a kid. It's easy to romanticize about how easy it was. Of course, kids have as many worries as we do, maybe more.
Here are a few shots of my kid, who's having a good time being twelve:
The Sweetest Comeback (Twinkies), by Reed A. George
The Carwash is Just a Little Scary, by Reed A. George
Okay, Enough Pictures, Dad, by Reed A. George
Resting Up For More Fun, by Reed A. George
I've been thinking that the M6 is a great second body to the M9. I happened to find a very nice one, in the titanium finished special edition, for a nice price. All of these were shot on a roll of Fuji 800 print film I had lying around, and with the Canon LTM 50mm f1.4 lens (a great bargain, with results comparable to a Summilux 50mm).
So, I'll try it out for a while. If I like it, great. If not, I'll sell it and recover my money.
Did I mention that I still LOVE to shoot film? I do.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Skeletons From The Closet - August's Agfa Record III - Buddhist Temple

My SFTC camera for August made a huge impression on me. The Agfa Record III with Solinar is a super capable camera.
(Click Here) to read about the camera.
Producing big ol' 6x9 negatives, the image quality is spectacular, in my opinion. Here are some shots from a recent trip to my local Buddhist temple, all on Kodak Portra 400 color negative film.
Altar Flowers, by Reed A. George
Agfa Record III with 105mm f4.5 Solinar Lens
Tree Deck and Altar, by Reed A. George
Agfa Record III with 105mm f4.5 Solinar Lens
I wish I had lined up Buddha's face in the reflection on the rail. That would have been difficult but interesting.
Bell, by Reed A. George
Agfa Record III with 105mm f4.5 Solinar Lens
Smile!, by Reed A. George
Agfa Record III with 105mm f4.5 Solinar Lens
This old camera is amazing. I recently found myself looking long and hard at the modern Fujifilm GF670, a folding 6x7 medium format camera. While I was looking, the Record III showed up in my life, thanks to a package from my Mom. With its uncoupled rangefinder built-in, and accessory shoe to hold my Voigtlander CV Meter II, the Record III is very convenient to use; I don't have to carry around a separate meter and/or rangefinder in my pocket. And, unlike the GF670, the Record III doesn't need a battery to operate.
So, the Record III is a perfect high quality medium format camera for carrying on travel. In fact, it went with me to Maui recently. The film is off for processing at The Darkroom now, so you'll see those pics soon as well.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Whole Lotta Leica Lens for September - the Minolta Super Rokkor 45mm f2.8 LTM

Super Rokkor 45mm f2.8 in LTM
I don't know a lot about this lens. I am always attracted to oddball lenses that will adapt to or fit my Leicas. The Super Rokkor (named after the Rokko Mountains, near Osaka, Japan) is a very compact lens, and overall feels right (if different) on the Leica M9. Apparently, it was made from 1947-1955, and was standard fare on the "Minolta 35" series of rangefinder cameras. I've looked for a Minolta 35 body, but have yet to find one that's operational. Most Japanese-made cameras of that time work for a very long time, so it's a little uncommon to not be able to find one. However, I don't think there were too many of these cameras to begin with.
45mm is an odd focal length. I am using the 50mm frame in the M9 finder, and find the resulting image is quite a lot wider than what's in the finder. In fact, it seems closer to the 35mm framelines to me, but I want to make sure that what I'm composing actually ends up in the image, so I'll stick with the 50mm framelines. Of course, I could change to the 35mm lines by simply using a 35mm LTM-M adapter, instead of the 50mm adapter.
The Super Rokkor has a scalloped metal focusing ring. Different, but kind of nice. The aperture ring on mine has no click stops whatsoever, and moves very freely (too freely, in fact). It's very easy to accidentally bump the f-stop, especially during focusing. I don't know if all of them are like this, or if mine is simply missing something. The f-stop is referenced to the rotating part of the lens that moves when you focus. So, it can be a little fiddly. Mine came with a simple tube-style hood, that is marked with the Minolta 35 name.
(Click Here) for a little more information on Minolta's rangefinders and lenses. Here's an image of a vintage ~1950 ad from that website:
Image Source:
So, we'll see how this little vintage piece performs on the modern M9. If it's anything like it's younger cousin, the Rokkor 40mm f2 that came with the Leica CL, we're in for some nice images. Unlikely, but we'll give it a try.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Skeletons From The Closet Camera For September - The Nikomat (Nikkormat) FTn

September's Camera, the Nikomat FTn
I'm excited about this month's SFTC camera. A Nikomat (Japanese market version of the Nikkormat) FTn, made between 1967-1975, this camera was given to me by a dear friend, Dennis Gallus, before he moved off to Arizona. The lens you see above is the classic Nikkor-S 50mm f1.4 that came with it, a sparkling beauty of a lens. The camera and lens are in near mint condition, which I must admit has kept me from taking it out a lot. It's coming out this month; I'll just have to be careful.
The Nikomat was offered by Nippon Kogaku (known as Nikon since 1988) as an advanced enthusiast camera to supplement the more expensive F line, which was targeted at professionals.
(Click Here) to read more about the Nikomat on wikipedia.
The Nikomat will mount any Nikon lens that has the coupling shoe which mounts to a corresponding pin on the camera body to give the body f-stop information. I have a few lenses that will mount to this camera: the 45mm f2.8 pancake lens, 28mm f2.8 AIS, 50mm f1.4 (above), 28mm f3.5, 105mm f2.5 AIS, and 200mm f4 AIS. I plan to use the pancake lens a lot this month, as it's relatively new to me, and I'd like to learn its qualities.
I already got it out for a day of shooting, so I'll have results rolling in soon.
Thank you, Dennis, for giving me such a lovely piece of Nikon history!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Whole Lotta Leica Results - Summicron 35mm f2 in Lahaina, Maui

I found that I didn't actually carry the M9 around a lot on vacation in Maui. I think this was mainly because I was out in the sun, sand, and water a lot - not exactly the best environment for a rangefinder camera. But, I did make it a point to go into Lahaina town with it. Here are a couple of shots I made:
Chinese Wing Ho Museum, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Summicron 35mm f2
iso 160, f11, 1/250 sec.
The Wing Ho Chinese Society built this house in 1912 on Front Street in Lahaina. The house fell into disrepair for many years before being rescued and renovated in 1983. I was happy to catch these Asian (Chinese?) tourists leaving the museum.
Biker, Front Street, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Summicron 35mm f2
iso 160, f11, 1/250 sec.
This was a quick reaction shot. It paid to have my camera exposure set, and hyperfocal distance set on the focus scale. With the 35mm wide angle lens, the depth of field at f11 is considerable, and allowed me to quickly pull up the camera and shoot. Again, the 35mm field of view allowed me to be close to the biker (on the sidewalk as he rode by), and get some context of the street as well. With a 50mm, it would have been harder to get focus, and I probably would have had to confine the composition to the biker himself. As it is, this shot gives some clue as to where it was taken. Asian biker, Hawaiian store name, you get it.
I could get used to shooting with a 35mm lens. Maybe I should.
By the way, if you travel to Hawaii, you may want to read the book below, This Is Paradise. It is a series of short stories that gives you a feel for the real modern Hawaii, away from the tourist resorts. It is for mature audiences (just a warning). I enjoyed it very much. Please buy yours through the link below:

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Doggie Diptych - Whole Lotta Leica - Summicron 35mm f2 v.3

I sometimes like to shoot a series of images. Usually a triptych (three images) works best, but sometimes just two images (a diptych) can suffice.
While attending an event in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, I witnessed this little girl approaching a dog from his blind side. She tentatively reached out to pet him when he turned and spooked her pretty good:
Doggie Diptych, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Summicron 35mm f2 v.3
iso 320, f9.5, 1/180 sec.
The Summicron 35 excels for this kind of shooting. I was close enough to see what was going on, but far enough away to capture both the little girl interacting with the dog, and his owner watching from the right of the frame. This is why the 35mm focal length is so popular for street photography. The Summicron is one of the best 35mm lenses made, even the older version 3 like mine.

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Few Family Portraits With August's Whole Lotta Leica Lens, the Leica Summicron 35mm f2

During the month of August, I carried the Summicron 35mm f2 on my M9 just about every day. I shot a few pictures of the girls that put up with me every day, including having their pictures taken. I think the Summicron did a pretty good job of capturing them.
First, my wife. We had a nice afternoon tea while our 12 year old daughter was off playing paintball. Pretty civilized compared to our daughter out running around in camouflage on the paintball field.
Afternoon Tea, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Summicron 35mm f2 v.3
iso 320, f2.8, 1/90 sec.
On another evening, I took my daughter out to walk around Leesburg, Virginia. We happened into a cajun restaurant where the evening lights were quite interesting.
Dusk at the Cajun Experience, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Summicron 35mm f2 v.3
iso 320, f2.4, 1/45 sec.

After Dark, by Reed A. George
Leica M9, Summicron 35mm f2 v.3
iso 640, f2, 1/25 sec.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Can't Beat the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5 at the Beach!

If you're getting tired of beach shots, you'll be happy to know that this is my final day of vacation.
I have really enjoyed the Lumix TS5 on this trip. I have also used my LX7, Leicas, and SFTC camera for this month, the Agfa Record III, but the TS5 is just so easy. It has seen a lot if use. I'll post some pictures from the other cameras after I return home, get film developed, etc.
Wave, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5
Beach Panoramas, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5

Saturday, September 7, 2013

DMC-LX7 Landscape in Two Versions - Which Do You Prefer?

Here's a shot I took in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii:
Lahaina Seawall's End, by Reed A. George
Panasonic DMC-LX7
I used Snapseed on the iPad to crop and straighten it. The square format worked much better than the original rectangular composition. I like the shot, but don't love it. The fence in the shadows is a major drawback in my opinion.
As I sometimes do, I took this image quite a bit further with some of Snapseed's effects. Here's the result:
Same Shot, Manipulated
Personally, I think the modified version has more feel to it. The fence is still there, but doesn't bother me nearly as much. I hate to admit that I enjoy manipulating images, as I consider myself a "straight" photographer. I also find it ironic to add imperfections to a perfectly good digital image. But, I do like the outcome.