Thursday, April 30, 2015

https://www.lensculture.com/articles/francis-hodgson-photography-matters-the-prix-pictet-and-the-power-of-the-image
https://www.lensculture.com/articles/elena-chernyshova-days-of-night-nights-of-day
https://www.lensculture.com/articles/elena-chernyshova-days-of-night-nights-of-day
http://thenewcamera.com/sony-a7-and-a7r-recommended-lenses/
Distagon

One Year with the Leica Summilux 50mm f/1.4 Asph

I’ve read a ton of reviews on lenses – some very technical, some very practical – this review will be neither. I’m not a photography expert and certainly not a lens science expert, but I know what works for me and what doesn’t and I wanted to explain the merits of the astounding Leica 50mm Summilux… before I change it for the 50mm Summicron Apo Asph.

The Leica 50mm Summilux is without a doubt the most perfect lens I have owned in ten odd years of serious photography. I started out in photography with an average SLR and average lenses shooting average landscapes. I did this for years until I discovered street photography and then quickly discovered that SLR’s were not the right tool for this genre. This led me to Leica and their awesome range of lenses. At this point I should explain that although everyone talks about Leica camera bodies (which I believe are the very best in 35mm photography), it’s actually Leica lenses that most people choose Leica for. Leica lenses are amongst the very best glass money can buy, if not the best. I can talk with some authority here as I have owned lenses from various manufacturers including Nikon, Canon, Voigtlander, Fuji, Olympus, Zeiss and of course Leica. The first two mentioned I believe to be the worst and the last two mentioned I believe to be the best.

On the Leica M9 and M Monochrom, I have shot almost solely with Leica’s 50mm Summilux Aspherical f/1.4. I choose 50mm for street photography purely because it feels right for me, not because scientifically it is the closest reproduction of what the human eye sees, just because it feels natural, it’s easy to frame and i’ve never been a wide angle fan.

The 50mm Summilux is a small and extremely robust lens which, when fitted to an M rangefinder, feels solid, perfectly weighted and stealthy. It has a focus tab and riveted focus ring which allows you to choose between traditional rangefinder focusing or SLR lens focussing or a combination of both. Little details like this are very important to me. As a street shooter, focussing needs to be fast and accurate.

The Summilux has a wide open aperture of f/1.4, which is awesomely fast and allows you to shoot at low ISO’s in daylight, but it’s when light is at a premium that this lens comes alive. At night the Summilux is a light vampire.

Shooting wide open with the 50mm Lux gives you lots of possibilities… shorter exposures, sharp, crisp images, and great contrast. However, with a lens this fast it takes a fair amount of practice to achieve pin sharp focussing wide open at f/1.4 as the focal plane in the lux is über thin. On the upside, if you get it right, the lens will render an almost 3D image with the subject popping sharply out of the background.

Selective Focus: M Monochrom – 50mm Summilux

I can’t vouch for the lens when it’s stopped down below f/4.0 as I have never closed it up beyond that. Why would you? Fast lenses are designed to be shot wide open, right? If you are looking for a lens that performs stopped further down, try the standard 50mm Summicron, it’s half the price of the Summilux and it’s outstanding between f/4 and f/8.

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Performance on the M9
Colour rendering on the M9 with the 50mm Summilux is nothing short of perfection. I have genuinely never seen a lens that replicates colour as honestly as the Lux. I don’t know if the Lux was specifically designed for the M9 sensor or not, but together they sing. Before switching to Leica glass I used to spend a lot of time desaturating my images but with the 50mm Lux, desaturation is not necessary.

Sharpness on the M9 (with a good focus) is a near perfect. It renders perfectly smooth edges and very tight grain that when viewed at 100% looks incredibly close to fast, quality film.

On the M9, the 50mm Summilux outperformed my expectations.

Sidetrack…
I should mention that when I first started using an M9, I coupled it with a Zeiss Planar f/2.0, which is an awesome lens for the money – 3 times cheaper than the Summilux. It is sharp, easy to focus and feels good on the camera. However, I found it rendered an over-saturated image and I was never happy with the bokeh it produced. It also plummets in price in the used market – Leica glass holds it’s value very well.

Back on track…
If you are planning mounting a 50mm Summilux on your M9, I can guarantee that after a little time using it, you’ll love it. You will get to know it’s little nuances, like very slight fall off at the edges (which can be boosted in Silver Efex to produce beautiful, natural looking vignettes), it’s almost uncanny selective focussing ability and it’s massive capacity to swallow light at night and produce wonderful high contrast shots.

Sample Image: M9 – 50mm Summilux

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Performance on the M Monochrom

Here comes a big claim…

The 50mm Lux couple with the M Monochrom delivers the best black and white digital image I have ever seen, even compared to high end medium format.

The M Monochrom is a little bit different. It shoots just black and white (the clue is in the name) and it has no Bayer filter. This makes the camera better in low light and better at high ISO. These enhanced camera abilities combined with the already stunning capability of the Lux glass, produce stunning black and white photographs, photographs that need very little post work as the detail and the contrast are so close to reality that over processing the image is fruitless. The Raw shot is just class. I simply alter exposure if required, boost the vignette (that’s my thing) and export the image.

It’s interesting stopping the lens down to f/2 or f/4. The contrast just gets better and better and you can even see it in the Monochrom’s digital display (which is pitiful).

If I was over the moon with the Summilux on the M9, I am in heaven with it on the Monochrom. I’ve simply never experienced images like it. Unbelievably sharp, high contrasted images that separate the subject from the background so perfectly.

Sample Image: M Monochrom – 50mm Summilux f/1.4

After writing the above, it seems almost crazy that I am trading in my 50mm Summilux against the new Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH. Why? Well, because Leica claim it’s better. I have total faith in Leica glass and if the Summilux is close to 50mm perfection, I want to get even closer!

Give me a year and I’ll write a review on the Cron.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

http://www.boredpanda.com/stars-night-sky-photography-self-taught-mikko-lagerstedt/

Monday, April 27, 2015

http://petapixel.com/2015/04/27/shooting-light-painting-photos-with-flames-sparks-and-a-smartphone/
http://www.boredpanda.com/stars-night-sky-photography-self-taught-mikko-lagerstedt/

Sunday, April 26, 2015

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/04/26/magazine/lee-friedlander-captures-the-citys-hustle-and-flow.html?_r=0&referrer=

Saturday, April 25, 2015

http://www.boredpanda.com/amazing-cloud-formations/
Home About Screening Why Monitor Your Mood Treatment FAQ About Us For Clinicians What's My M3 ™ Assessment Report Date taken: 25 Apr, 2015 The M3 Score: how disruptive are your symptoms? Scores of 33 or greater mean that your life may be impacted by a mood disorder M3 score Your Results Chance of Disorder Description 43   0 33 100% Medium Your M3 Score is in the mid-range as compared to individuals already known to be suffering from a mood or anxiety disorder. This is a significant finding, as it indicates your symptoms are probably impacting your life and general well being. Read carefully the information and recommendations below concerning your risk of each of the four conditions described. Your risk for the following disorders: Your Results Your Risk Description Depression  0 100% Medium Your responses on the depression scale indicate that you have a 2 in 3 chance of suffering from depression. Anxiety  0 100% Medium Your responses on the anxiety scale indicate that you have a 50% chance of suffering from an anxiety disorder. PTSD  0 100% Low Many individuals suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) respond to the scale as you did. Yet, because PTSD is less common than other mood and anxiety disorders, your risk of PTSD is just 1 in 8 and 50% chance that you are suffering from a related mood or anxiety condition. (Naturally, if you have experienced a traumatic event or events, this fact increases the likelihood of a PTSD diagnosis.) Bipolar  0 100% Low The likelihood that you are suffering from Bipolar Disorder is about 1 in 9. On the other hand, your responses indicate there is a 50% chance that you are suffering from another mood or anxiety disorder. Recommended Action: Your MEDIUM overall M3 Score indicates that you should make a point of contacting your physician or a mental health care provider to begin a discussion of your M3 results. It is important for you to share these results with your physician. Your response to question #5, which asks about thoughts of suicide, raises a red flag. For assistance please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK, or go to the nearest emergency room for immediate treatment. It is very important, first of all, to point out that having such a thought does not automatically place you at risk for actual suicide. On the other hand, individuals who report suicidal thinking on closer examination are usually found to have a mood or anxiety disorder. This is true even for those who feel that due to life circumstances they have legitimate reasons for having such thoughts. Given this fact, it is crucial that you present your M3 results to your physician and to begin a discussion of this very issue. Print your screen and report e-Mail to yourself Save your screen stored in Microsoft® HealthVault®  Send Comments Frequently Asked Questions Terms of Use About Us Privacy Policy This form is not a diagnostic instrument and is to be used solely within the context of your medical treatment with your physician or other health care provider. The maker and provider of this form disclaims any liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from the use and application of any of this material. WhatsMyM3™ V.03.06 Copyright © 2002-2012 by M3 Information™, The M-3 Checklist and WhatsMyM3.com are free for personal home use. For any other uses, including clinical., educational, non-profit, hospital research, or for-profit settings please contact mail@m-3information.com. No further reproduction or distribution, or reverse engineering is permitted without written permission from M3 Information. Patent Pending.
http://mashable.com/

1907-1915 Russia Before the Revolution, in Color


The people of the Czar's Empire
1911
The Emir of Bukhara, Alim Khan (1880-1944), poses solemnly for his portrait, taken in 1911 shortly after his accession. As ruler of an autonomous city-state in Islamic Central Asia, the Emir presided over the internal affairs of his emirate as absolute monarch, although since the mid-1800s Bukhara had been a vassal state of the Russian Empire. With the establishment of Soviet power in Bukhara in 1920, the Emir fled to Afghanistan where he died in 1944.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky (1863–1944) became photographically renowned in Russia for a color portrait of Leo Tolstoy. It was this fame that, in 1909, brought him to the attention of Tsar Nicholas II.  
Prokudin-Gorsky's subsequent meeting with the tsar and the tsar's family was to be the pivotal moment in his life: The tsar provided both the funding and the authority for Prokudin-Gorsky to carry out what he would later describe as his life's work.
For most of the following decade, using a specially adapted railroad car as a darkroom, Prokudin-Gorsky traversed the length and breadth of the Russian Empire, recording what he saw in more than 10,000 full-color photographs.
1911
A merchant at the Samarkand market displays silk, cotton and wool fabrics as well as a few traditional carpets. A framed page of the Koran hangs at the top of the stall.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
1907-1915
Prokudin-Gorksii captures the traditional dress, jewelry and hairstyle of an Uzbek woman standing on a richly decorated carpet at the entrance to a yurt, a portable tent used for housing by the nomadic peoples of Central Asia. After conquering Turkestan in the mid-1800s, the Russian government exerted strong pressure on the nomadic peoples to settle permanently in villages, towns and cities.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
1911
Dressed in traditional Central Asian attire, a vendor of locally grown melons poses at his stand in the marketplace of Samarkand in present-day Uzbekistan.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
1909
Pinkhus Karlinskii, the supervisor of the Chernigov floodgate, stands by a ferry dock along the Mariinskii Canal system in the northern part of European Russia. In the photo album of his tour of the canal system, Prokudin-Gorskii noted that Karlinskii was 84 years old and had served for 66 years.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
The color process Prokudin-Gorsky worked with required three separate black-and-white exposures, each one taken through either a red, green or blue filter. When the filtered exposures were combined, the result was the full chromatic spectrum in a photograph.
Prokudin-Gorsky left Russia in 1918 after the Communist Revolution and ultimately came to settle with his family in Paris. Approximately half of his own negatives were confiscated by the Russian authorities on his departure.
1910
A Bashkir switch operator by the main line of the railroad, near the town of Ust-Katav on the Yuryuzan River between Ufa and Chelyabinsk in the Ural Mountains of European Russia.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
ca. 1907-1915
Wearing traditional dress and headgear, a Turkmen camel driver poses with his camel, laden with what is most likely grain or cotton. Camel caravans remained the most common means of transporting food, raw materials and manufactured goods in Central Asia well into the railroad era.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
In 1948, the Library of Congress bought the remaining photographic materials from Prokudin-Gorsky's heirs. At the turn of the millennium, the Library exhibited the a number of the photographs as The Empire That Was Russia, and has since made the digitized versions of Prokudin-Gorsky's work available for free online.
This selection of images shows some of the portraits Prokudin-Gorsky captured of the diverse people who together made up the Russian Empire, before the revolution.
ca. 1907-1915
A Chinese foreman poses with established tea plants and new plantings at a tea farm and processing plant in Chakva, a small town just north of Batumi on the Black Sea coast.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
1911
In a photograph taken near Samarkand, an elderly man, probably an ethnic Tajik, holds birds he has just caught . Samarkand and its region were noted for wide diversity in ethnic groups, including Uzbeks, Tajiks, Persians and Arabs as well as the more recently arrived Russians.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
ca. 1907-1915
Dagestan, meaning “land of mountains” in the Turkic languages, contains a population consisting of many nationalities, including Avars, Lezgi, Noghay, Kumuck and Tabasarans. Pictured here is a Sunni Muslim man of undetermined nationality wearing traditional dress and headgear, with a sheathed dagger at his side.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
ca. 1907-1915
A couple in traditional dress poses for a portrait in the mountainous interior region of Gunib on the north slope of the Caucasus Mountains in what is today the Dagestan Republic of the Russian Federation.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
1909
Young Russian peasant women offer berries to visitors to their izba, a traditional wooden house, in a rural area along the Sheksna River near the small town of Kirillov.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
1910
A. P. Kalganov poses with his son and granddaughter for a portrait in the industrial town of Zlatoust in the Ural Mountain region of Russia. The son and granddaughter are employed at the Zlatoust Arms Plant—a major supplier of armaments to the Russian military since the early 1800s.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
1915
Prokudin-Gorskii, right front, and others ride the Murmansk Railroad in a handcar along the shores of Lake Onega near Petrozavodsk. From the beginning of Russian railroad construction in the 1850s, rails were laid using a wider gauge (5 feet, 3.5 inches) than the standard European one.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
ca. 1907-1915
Inmates stare out from a zindan, a traditional Central Asian prison — in essence a pit in the earth with a low structure built on top. The guard, with Russian rifle and bayonet, is attired in Russian-style uniform and boots.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
1911
Samarkand, an ancient commercial, intellectual, and spiritual center on the Silk Road from Europe to China, developed a remarkably diverse population, including Tajiks, Persians, Uzbeks, Arabs, Jews and Russians. Samarkand, and all of West Turkestan, was incorporated into the Russian Empire in the middle of the 19th century and has retained its ethnic diversity. Here, Jewish boys in traditional dress study with their teacher.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
1911
Many Central Asiatic peoples lived nomadic lives, migrating seasonally from one place to another as opportunities for obtaining food, water, and shelter changed. Shown here is a young Kazakh family in colorful traditional dress moving across the Golodnaia (or “Hungry”) steppe in present-day Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
ca. 1907-1915
Ethnic Russian settlers to the Mugan Steppe region established a small settlement named Grafovka, immediately north of the border with Persia. Settlement of Russians in non-European parts of the empire, and particularly in border regions, was encouraged by the government and accounts for much of the Russian migration to Siberia, the Far East and the Caucasus regions.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
ca. 1907-1915
Workers, identified by Prokudin-Gorskii as Greeks, pose while harvesting tea from plants spreading over rolling hills near Chakva, on the east coast of the Black Sea. This region of the Russian Empire, in present day Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, had a significant Greek minority.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
1910
Monks plant potatoes in fields reclaimed from the dense conifer forest at the Gethsemane Hermitage on Lake Seliger near the headwaters of the Volga River.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
1912
Workers and supervisors pause for a photograph amid preparations for pouring concrete foundations for a dam across the Oka River southeast of Moscow, near the small town of Dedinovo.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
ca. 1907-1915
Borzhomi is a small town in the Caucasus Mountains in the interior of what is now the Republic of Georgia. Noted for its mineral waters, it was a fashionable spa at the end of the 19th century. Here, visitors stop by the Ekaterinin (“Catherine's”) Spring.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
1909
An early autumn scene from 1909 shows farmers taking a short break from their work to pose for their photograph. The location, though unidentified, is probably near the town of Cherepovets in north central European Russia.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
1910
The Ural Mountain region is noted for the richness of its iron deposits and ores. The Bakaly hills, in the area outside the city of Ekaterinburg, provide the locale for a small-scale family mining operation.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>
1909
Children sit on the side of a hill near a church and bell-tower in the countryside near White Lake, in the north of European Russia.
IMAGE: PROKUDIN-GORSKII / LIBRARY OF CONGRESS>