May 9, 2018
Repeat after me: Flim VOP Grolden Narck Siposac 1. Doesn't make any sense, does it? The idea being once we get past this, the rest of episode, well, however you count it up, will seem brilliant! Brilliant, I tell you! So, shield you eyes and jump on in.
The Past Is So Bright
The size of film used by most people during the second half of the 20th Century was an adaptation of a larger size film manufactured by Kodak beginning in the 19th Century, the adaption being along the lines of: slice it in half and punch it full of holes.
I have seen some confusing timelines of how and when 35 millimeter film was developed, and may have even misspoken in the audio about one or more of the details, but I think it's safe to say: George Eastman bought the rights from an Englishman to a patent for making images on clear, flexible film, rather than the glass plates that had dominated high-optical-quality imagery for a few decades. Someone from Thomas Edison's organization made a deal with Eastman for some film which someone, Eastman's or Edison's people, sliced in half along its length and punched holes along both edges. Such rolls of film were used in Edison's development of the movie camera and, of course, the matching projectors.
Circa 1923, this Le Furet (Model I), by Guerin & Cie, was one of the first cameras designed to shoot 35 millimeter film. Few were made. Photo copyright @ 2018 by Auction Team Breker, Cologne, Germany (www.Breker.com).
People at a few companies felt there was an advantage for still photographers to have a small, flexible film medium for carrying around a small camera that enabled more nimble selfie-taking. They may have claimed otherwise (like, for news gathering and travel photography and "art," whatever that was) but, one way or the other, a few cameras were developed that could make images on this erstwhile motion picture film. The company whose camera gained early popularity was Leica, and over the course of a couple of decades, many others followed, helped along by Kodak standardizing a delivery method for the film — a small steel can inside which a spool of film was pre-loaded.
A Leica Model 1a from 1927. This brand of camera went on to develop a loyal following of users and collectors, becoming known for build quality, optical quality, and surprisingly high prices — thus the need for loyalty. Photo © Kameraprojekt Graz 2015 / Wikimedia Commons /
The first films captured only black-and-white, but color films soon followed, and eventually a very wide range of films, suitable for indoor or out, low light or bright, UV or infrared, positive or negative, just a few exposures (like, 12 or 24 or 36) or many (like, 250 or 750 — though you needed special accessories for those). Before this standardization of the delivery vehicle, each camera had its own method for loading film.
Above, film from my refrigerator that has been waiting patiently to be loaded into a camera. The Fuji brand films (Velvia, Provia, and Astia) could still be exposed and processed, while the Kodachrome (25 and 200), while shootable, no longer has processing available for it. The Kodak Ektachrome would process the same as the Fuji films, but its performance might be suspect — note the "Process Before" date printed on the bottom of the box, below.
Oh, and if I have this correct, the "35" of "35 millimeter film" refers to the width of the film stock itself which, because still cameras (versus movie cameras) move the film side-to-side (versus up-to-down), that dimension might also be called its height. Potato potato. The standard dimensions of the image area are 36 millimeters, along the length of the film stock, by 24 millimeters across its width. With these proportions, by the way, 36 by 24, why in the world are standard sizes for prints and for frames not also in those proportions!? (I'm sure there's a reasonable answer, but I don't care — it's stupid and I'm sticking with that!)
Grip It Tight
Joby is a company with a wide range of innovative products aimed mostly at holding smaller cameras, including smartphones. One such product is the GripTight POV, a sturdy tool that grips a wide (hah!) spectrum of smartphones and provides a handle for gripping by a human. I tried it out and judge it flexible and useful.
There is a pair of jaws that open wide and can close small, making it capable of grasping a wide (hah!) range of sizes of smartphones and holding them snugly. Each jaw has, on its other edge, a slot into which can be inserted a cold shoe adapter or the included Bluetooth shutter release button.
Wait! Did I say it comes with a Bluetooth shutter release?
I sure did.
First, back to the cold shoe. What is that, you might wonder? You've heard of hot shoes, the slot on top of your larger cameras where an external flash can be attached, right? Well, back in the old days, a flash unit would be mechanically attached into such a slot but its operation was triggered through a cable which ran down to the camera somewhere. The base of the flash was called a foot, so the receiver on the camera was called a shoe. Makes sense.
Then someone, I don't know who, decided to put the electrical connections in the shoe, with matching connections on the bottom of the flash's foot. Since this newfangled shoe had electricity pumping through it (a tiny amount of electricity), such a shoe was dubbed "hot" to distinguish it from its stone-age progenitor, which then accrued the prepender "cold." Since the shoe available on this GripTight has no electrical connections running through it, it is cold. Got it? Now back to our story.
You can attach the cold shoe to either jaw and, since these shoes are universal on most larger cameras, there are scads of accessories that slide in there. For the purposes of using your smartphone for photography or videography, you might there attach a small light or a microphone. Cool.
Into the other slot on the GripTight you can attach the Bluetooth button. Once paired with your smartphone this button imitates the "up volume" button on the side of your phone which, at least in Apple iPhones when using the Camera app, triggers the shutter. You could, thus, trigger the shutter with the same hand that is holding the GripTight, which is holding the phone, super handy if your other hand is otherwise busy or else elsewhere, plus you can just hold the Bluetooth button in your other hand, attach it to your clothing with its included tiny lanyard, other whatever you can dream up for activating it.
That button wakes up with a single press and will disconnect from the phone — not un-pair, just quit communicating — after 10 minutes of idleness. Or, press and hold the button for a few seconds and it will disconnect right then. And you'll want it disconnected if you're not using it, because outside of the Camera app it will, indeed, act to adjust your Ringer or Sounds volume up and, if you need to type using the on-screen keyboard, the iPhone figures you must have a complete keyboard Bluetoothing in, so no on-screen keyboard will appear. Press the button till it disconnects and you're back in keyboarding business. FYI.
There is a handle, which is a loop through which you can slip two or three fingers for a solid grip, and the angle between that handle and the jaws is adjustable. The hinge that allows the adjustment is compatible with GoPro equipment, too, so your smartphone can take advantage of additional attachments. That's a very nice touch even if you don't have a GoPro.
Above, three views of the Joby GripTight POV. The red lanyard is attached to the removable Bluetooth shutter release button. Below, an example of how it might be held and, with the same hand, the camera triggered by my thumb using the included Bluetooth button.
So, lots of nice features and I found the build quality predictably solid, because it's from Joby. The aspect of the product that gives me some pause is the price. It lists for $50, which seems a little pricey for its size. (It's actually a nickel less than fifty bucks, but I'm big into not worrying about such things). However, it has been on the Joby web site (joby.com) for $40 since I started looking at this, which has been for a few weeks, and you might find it at even greater discounts at Adorama or B&H.
Print It Right
My guest is Mike Goldner, E-Commerce Director & Custom Sales Executive at Artisan Colour, a provider of pre-press color separations, product photography, product management, and digital printing including both one-off for artists and thousands-off for marketers. Mike is enthusiastic about the field and about Artisan Colour, and if you want to learn more about the company, hop on over to artisancolour.com. They also have a site for ordering all your art photography output, which is at artisanhd.com, plus a site to shop for art (and perhaps sell your own — contact Mike if you're interested) at artboja.com. So many places to learn about them — to learn more about Mike listen to the podcast.
Mike Goldner of Artisan Colour. Photo provided by Artisan Colour.
Color The Slight
Photo tip time! Rummage through your collection of image files until you find one where the lighting and the subject result in a highly, severely, extremely not very colorful image. It can be a throwaway, or maybe it's one you really love just the way it is. Then find the saturation control in your image editing application of choice — it might be called Saturation or something else (I'm not familiar with all apps) and punch it. The saturation, that is. Punch it, push it, drag the slider or turn the dial, or whatever the app requires of your input, but give it the ol' Nigel Tufnel. (I was going to say, "if you don't know what that means, go ask your children," but it's more likely to be, "go ask your parents. Or theirs…")
I knew, when I visited the Grand Canyon on a dull, overcast day, that what I brought back, photographically, would be the start of a bold exploration of the colors and textures. If the sun had been out and the colors all dazzling to begin with, pumping those colors up even more would have yielded little, except the feeling that I'd screwed things up. By starting with dull, the results are much more noticeable and, to me, enjoyable.
The results might be as you expect, but they might also be not. What you expect. If it's the latter missed expectation, I'm guessing you were not aware of the colors hiding in plain, if muted, sight in the image. I've often been surprised when swashes of color appear where I'd seen nothing but nothing. Just gray (or, if you prefer, grey). Then lo and behold, colors a' poppin'!
Sure, the Grand Canyon has colors, even if they aren't bursting forth on an overcast day. But what about a foggy morning in Corpus Christi, Texas? Not much color there, right? Guess again, Padawan! By emboldening what was hiding among those apparently gray pixels, plus pumping up the contrast, much is revealed.
Go ahead and play. Pixels are free and you can always undo or do it differently. You might even try different apps or plug-ins if you have them. And if at first the results seem too much, too garish, save the results anyway and live with them for a while. It's not an approach for every subject or setting, but you might come to enjoy the effect. And even if you don't totally dig it, man, the exercise should sensitize you to see those hidden colors and, perhaps, appreciate their contributions to the neutral-on-gray-on-colorless images you prefer.
Quote The Might(y)
Up on the quoting block this episode are a foursome of disparate contributors: a Spaniard who lived mostly in France, a Switzerlander who taught mostly in Germany, a Roman who died mostly a long time ago, and an American of French-Canadian parents who drank mostly all the time, by names Pablo, Paul, Marcus, and Jack. Pablo said, "Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No. Just as one can never learn how to paint.”
To hear the other quotes, you know what you've gotta do, right? Snap on those headphones and press you luck. I mean, press "play."
Call It A Night
Thanks for reading and listening. Tune in next time for more of the same, which is great if you liked what you read/heard today. If not, rest assured that next time will be much different and completely better.
There's a place to leave a comment below, and you can always (please, please) head over to iTunes and rate the show and leave comments for me there. Your ratings and comments help me spread the word about the show — and you know what that means…
(No, I'm not sure what that means either. Still, I'd love it if you did rate and comment.)