vrijdag 11 april 2014

one minute improvement

BEFORE: the small paper lens shade is already finished.
Today I got some complaints about my built-in camera of my laptop. Behave of it's noisy quality when viewed on full screen, it suffered severe from flare, even though the front glass is coated. I remembered that I consequently use sunshades together with my nice and old lenses on my analogue equipment. So I was wondering if the same kind of improvement would work on the tiny spy eye of my MacBook.

AFTER: have a look at the crispy corners!
all images © Norman Beierle, 2014

maandag 7 april 2014

first sprout on balcony

good day sunshine: my first sprout
There it is: the first plant that came up on my balcony. I don't know what it is yet. I planted a mix of eatable things I enjoyed last year: Mirabelle plums, tomatoes, paprika, pumpkin and watermelon. I doubt that this is part of a young mirabelle plum tree, but it looks very much like a paprika sprout.

maandag 24 maart 2014

Three helicopters

Amsterdam, March 24, 2014 at 9:22 AM
The president of the United States visited today the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. It's always good to see when famous leaders are interested in art. Our Premier Rutte was the special host for Obama on that location. If I wouldn't know better, I would say that this is a nice gesture, one world leader invites his colleage to have a look at Rembrandt's "Nightwake".

three helicopters at the horizon
Somehow this visit has a lightly bitter aftertaste. The cabinet of Rutte made severe financial clearcuts in the cultural landscape and now our Premier displays himself as an art lover. He obviously has forgotten that Rembrandt was once a contemporary painter. For sure, Rembrandt would have had a tougher life in his time, with a series of comparable political steps á la Rutte. Also I am curios about the actual costs of Obama's short trip to the Rijksmuseum. How many art initiatives could have been supported (for years) with this budget?
all images © Norman Beierle

zondag 2 februari 2014

Man van twee miljoen

De man van twee miljoen heeft niets te maken met de cyborg uit de Amerikaanse jaren zeventig serie "Six million dolar man", maar is eerder een moderne versie van Ivan Grontsjarov's romanfiguur Oblomov. Dat klinkt raadselachtig. 

Wie is die Man van twee miljoen? 

Ik zou het niet weten. Persoonlijk heb ik hem nooit ontmoet. Had de NRC afgelopen donderdag niet een berichtje in een zijkolom verstopt, was ik er nog niet eens achtergekomen. Ik heb het sterke vermoeden dat de hoofdpersonage van het bericht een snelle auto of motor bezit. Niet alleen vanwege al het geld, maar omdat hij zich snel moet verplaatsen. Dagelijks, zo weet ik, begeeft hij zich in bij het aanbreken van de nacht, voor één, misschien ook twee uur op de snelweg om daarna weer te verdwijnen. Hij is nachtactief, zou ik maar zeggen.

Maar dat is toch niets voor Oblomov, zo veel nachtelijke beweging? Zeker, als Grontsjarov zijn romanheld 's nachts op een motor had rond laten rijden, was hij een stuk minder geloofwaardig geweest. Maar wat als ik je vertel, dat je met hooguit twee uur rondrijden op de snelweg bijna 5.500 euro verdient? Nee, niet per maand, per DAG, 5.500 euro per dag! 

Om precies te zijn is het 5.479,45 euro, dat er dagelijks uitgegeven wordt om bij enkel díe stukken snelweg de schakelaar om te draaien, die tijdens nachtelijke wegwerkzaamheden verlicht moeten worden. Het gaat dus alleen maar om die stukken snelweg, waarbij de verlichting s' nachts uit gaat. Het weer uitschakelen van de verlichting na beëindiging van de werkzaamheden is nog niet eens nodig, dat gaat van zelf. Realiseer je wel, dat topsporters, politici, of zelfs sportieve managers meer moeten doen voor 2 miljoen in het handje, dan 's nachts enkele lichtschakelaars aanzetten. 

Binnenkort, naar verwachting deze zomer, is er een systeem, waarmee de verlichting op afstand kan worden bedient. Als díe schakelaar op makkelijke hoogte, tussen bed en nachtkastje van Oblomov's slaapkamer gemonteerd wordt, is dat een heuse vooruitgang voor de gemoedsrust.

NRC, donderdag, 30 januari 2014

donderdag 30 januari 2014

Strange Birds

Elizabeth Lippincott (Mrs. Ulysses Grant) McQueen in Strange Birds 

I have found THE ultimate color film resource on the net. The swiss Zauberklang site contains an extraordinary list of 236 different color processes. Nowadays it seem an obvious thing that every image is in color, as every simple mobile phone camera is capable to produce a colored image and present it on its tiny color display.

detail of a Sennet color process

The chip itself is colorblind. The chip is as colorblind as the screen. Most of the nifty techniques to bring color into the digital world are copied from former research of their "analogue" colleagues. Black and white photography faced in the beginning the same problems: The photographic silver layer was sensitive to only one frequency of the light, the blue rays. The color theory of James Clerk Maxwell resulted already in 1861 in the first practical color photo was made with a wet collodium emulsion. The same color filtering principle was used later in the Technicolor process.

full frame of a Sennet color processed film

From the first color photo it took almost forty years to develop a fully panchromatic silver emulsion and it took another forty years to develop the first modern color material. Meanwhile various people worked on different methods to get colored images. Most of the results of these color pioneers are now forgotten because the original material is lost. One reason is the fact that film is not an all-time stable medium. Often there were only a small number of copies made, which were heavily used and reduced the chance of finding an original film in good condition to almost zero.

enlarged detail from Strange Birds

The Sennett color is such a process I have never heard of. In short therms: it's a double coated subtractive colored Bi-pack emulsion on nitrate film, invented by the Sennett Laboratories, a plant in Hollywood. On the Zauberklang website you can find images of the movie Strange Birds (1930) and a nice description of its process. 

The release prints are made on double sided film. Both sides are developed at one time and then toned red on one side and bluegreen on the opposite side. The tones are two-bath metallic colors from iron and uranium. The negatives are made with the film pack system of two films emulsion to emulsion in the camera. The front film carries a surface color of red-orange which acts as a filter to the back panchromatic film. The front film is not sensitive to red.
(Report of Color Committee.  In: Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers 15, 1930, pp. 721-724, pp. 721-722.)

woensdag 29 januari 2014

old-fashioned spy camera

Four years after the first James Bond movie, the States came up with their own super spy's. Their Names? Derek Flint and Matt Helm. Both movies came out in january 1966. Our Man Flint was an over the edge parody on James Bond, starring James Coburn. Dean Martin was acting as the photographer Matt Helm in The Silencers, a more classical Bond movie. It had a lot of common ingredients with its British role model, but Dean Martin is not fully convincing as a tough action hero, at least not in the first of the four Matt Helm films.

step 1 - loading the cartridge shell
step 2 - loading the metal blades
demonstration of the gear (watch the smoke)
One of the nice gadgets Helm has in his collection of spy equipment is a fake camera. On the images you can see that it is loaded with a cartridge shell and two metal blades.

The camera in case is not a Rolleiflex, but a Ricohflex from the Diamond series,  which was build in 1955 to compete with the better twin reflex cameras from Japan. This camera line has a different focus mechanism. In stead of a focussing knob on the side (like most TLR's have) it has dual levers at the front of the camera housing. The funny thing is that the film prop has an fake focussing knob attached on the left side. Maybe it was done to look more convincing  and give the impression that Matt Helm is working with a real  fancy Rolleiflex instead of a cheap(er) Japanese copy.

Ricoflex Dia

Anyway I wouldn't mind shooting with a Ricohflex, loaded with film of course. It is said that the Ricohflexes, and Diacords (which was the name of the export models) had very sharp lenses!



"He didn't smile!"

If you want to see the camera parts of The Silencers on youtube yourselves, go to minute 22:44 for the demonstration of the camera and to minute 24 for the shooting.

donderdag 5 december 2013

personal Sinterklaas surprise

fresh from the press: book 1 and 2 of Changes, Choices

By coincidence I made myself a Sinterklaas present tonight. While I laid hands on the finishing of the first pair of my newest publication, I totally forgot about the holiday today. I realized it only as I spoke a friend on the phone. She asked me if I was doing something special on this day.  In a way it was indeed special. Finally the work on my publication has reached its end - at least the content, editing and designing part of it. Printing and binding each copy will take some time and effort as well. In the next couple of days I will show you some of its content.
all images © N. Beierle