Originally uploaded by Dan Rosenthal

Via Flickr:
Ladies and gentlefolk,

May I introduce you to…*drumroll please*…. MOOSE!

Moose is a Mamiya RB67 Pro S camera and is wearing a lovely 90mm Mamiya Sekor C lens with a scintillating maximum aperture of 3.8.

On Moose’s rear we have a sexy revolving back in the 120 variety able to hold 10 glorious shots in 6x7cm format in the orientation of your choice. That’s right folks! portrait or horizontal is no problem with this well-endowed beauty!

And … wait for it … *Ca-thunk!*…. Listen to that shutter sound! Wondrous!

Queue up ladies and gentlemen to adore the one and only…. MOOSE!

(unbridled applause; standing ovation)


Hello, Old Friend

This is a mirror selfie taken with my little ol’ Sony W110. We’ve been reunited.

This was the first camera I bought myself. Before this, when I had gotten the bug for photography, I had been using a Canon compact lent to me by my girlfriend at the time. Thanks Alison. Prior to this it was film compacts and my dad’s old Canons. But this was my first digital. I was addicted.

I agonised over this little fella. I was working as an Online Content Manager at the time for a large international corporate and I was hating it. Who knew, on that fateful day when I opened the box of this Sony and put it on charge at the office and then took it for it’s first outing exploring the streets of Joburg during our lunch break, that this would be the beginning of something special where I could make a living doing something I loved so much?

I never dreamed of it at the time. I just wanted to capture the world around me. I was smitten with the realisation that all my senses were heightened. Even today, when I have a camera in my hand or in my bag I am aware of everything around me just that little bit more. I look for patterns, admire colours and shapes and my eye seeks compositions. And every once in a while I take the camera to my eye and take a photograph.

My sister moved to England a few years ago and we swopped cameras. I gave her this Sony and I got her Canon 350D. We were both very happy with the swop ūüôā That was another huge leap forward in my photographic education. Thanks Tess.

A year ago, my sister gave this Sony to my mother. My sister had upgraded to a Panasonic GF1 (I’m still a little jealous… I’ve always wanted one of those…) and decided my mother needed something a little better than her Blackberry for photos. It has been sitting in a drawer ever since.

Tonight, at dinner, i asked about the camera. I think about it often… To my delight it was safely nestled in a drawer right next to the table. I got home and put the very dead battery on the charger and did a little jig when it slotted into the camera and the Sony sprang back to life.

And now it’s back home. One of the cameras I really and truly love. It’s nothing special. Bit it’s special to me. I’ve won awards with pictures taken with this. I’ve printed and sold prints taken with it. I’ve loved it and loved using it.

Welcome home, Old Friend.

Makin’ a Movie

The blog posts have been trickling in. I know, I know, I know…

I’m busy working on a movie. It’s A LOT of fun. Awesome. Can’t wait to tell you more. Stay tuned.
What I can tell you is I’m 1st camera assistant and doing the stills and behind the scenes stills and video footage. Insane, hectic schedule. But:

So. Much. Fun. Wow.

This is me in a hotel room, where we just filmed a drug deal going down.

Much, much more to come…

Canon 5Dmk2, Canon 35mm 1.4 wide open.

The Self-Portait


This is me and a photo of myself in a mirror.

The self-portrait has a rich tradition. It tells the world about you. It lets you see how others see you. It is reflexive and reflective.

I wonder, in the digital age in which we find ourselves, what is happening to the idea of the¬†self-portrait. Everyone has access to a camera. We are able to see ourselves at will. Ad Nauesum. It is a part of life with social networks. Sometimes we’ll use photographs others have taken of us for that profile picture.

Some people think nothing of taking a photo of¬†themselves. I was probably one of them, but I’m not sure I remember that clearly that far back. When I fell in love with photography I became addicted to exploring and capturing the world around me. It made me think more about how things were represented. And how I was represented. As photographers, we are always pointing the camera at others. Sometimes, when I point it at myself, I feel proud and silly, all at once.

I posted this photo on Flickr. I intend for other people to see it there. That is Flickr’s reason for being – to share, to connect. I admit, it felt a little strange uploading it. I’m not one of those pretty girls who love to take self-portraits and people love to view them. Some of these self-portraitists are hugely creative. Some are really not.

But there’s no reason to feel silly at posting a self-portrait. This I reassure myself. It’s a form of self-expression. That much is obvious. They are more that just that. The speak about us. They say things we want to tell the world.

Maybe, one day, I’ll produce a self-portrait I’ll be proud enough of to put up on display in a exhibition.

I’m pretty sure, when that happens, I’ll feel very silly indeed.

Shooting a Canon EOS camera with FD lenses

Lulu. Canon 5Dmk2, FD 50mm 1.8 @ 2.8, Sliver Efex Pro

So I have a niggling frustration. I feel like I may not be alone.

I have a wonderful collection of Canon FD glass built-up over a number of years. It started when my father gave me the beautiful FTb QL with 28, 50 and 135mm lenses. Since then I have grown the system to include the wonderful F1N and lenses from 20mm to 300mm. These are great lenses. I used the 20mm and the FTb to create the images for The Vacant Heart, one of my favorite series of art prints. I often marvel at the detail in these prints. Crisp, beautiful grain in the Ilford XP2 400 Super comes across fantastically in the A2 prints for that series. They were all shot at F4-F5.6.

Rose Silhouette, Canon 5Dmk2, FD 50mm 1.8 @ 2.8 

And so here is my frustration: I cannot really use these lenses on my EOS bodies. This makes me very unhappy. I can only imagine how those people who had built up a really amazing collection of FD lenses felt back in the late 80’s when Canon decided to move to the (incompatible with the FD mount) EOS mount. Me, I’d have lost my cool.

But fast forward to today and we have amazing auto-focus lenses on the EOS system. The FD lenses remain incompatible. They are in fact one of the most difficult lenses to use on a Canon EOS body. Ironic. They have too deep a lens flange distance to fit onto the EOS mount and so can only be used with an adaptor with a glass element to allow the lens to focus to infinity. Without the glass it is like a macro tube, not allowing for infinity focus. With the glass element you are faced with a 1,25 magnification of your chosen lens and quite hazy image quality wide-open.

I got the very nice Hama adaptor and decided to see if it was as dire as the internet had led me to believe. You know what? It’s not. It’s actually great.

Wide open, your lenses will be soft and hazy as reported. Use it as a creative effect I say! But stopped down a couple of clicks, the images are lovely. Unique even.

Self-portrait, Canon 5Dmk2, FD 50mm 1.8 wide open. focus on my eye, nothing is sharp…
Self-portrait,¬†Canon 5Dmk2, FD 50mm 1.8 @ 2.8, focus on front of lens, super sharp, nice rendering of everything else. Must remember to smile in these…

You may not get bitingly sharp images till 5.6 or so, but you are rewarded with gentle and graceful images. In fact, the point of focus at 2.8 on my 50mm lenses is very, very sharp. At any of the lenses optimum apertures they are super sharp. Focus right on the less-than-ideal-for-manual-focus screens on the current EOS bodies and you will be handsomely rewarded. Oh, and focus is really enjoyable on these beautifully made old lenses. You need to invest in Zeiss to get this kind of tactile pleasure on your Canon now-days.

Using these as video lenses is great too.

Tiny Dried Roses, Canon 5Dmk2, Sigma FD 50mm 2.8 Macro.

But now, the manual-focus bug has bit and I may have to force myself to get an off-brand lens and use it with an adaptor that doesn’t even require a little glass element. Like maybe a Leica or a Contax portrait lens. Oh, dear. This may get expensive. But fun.

Or (please listen oh Canon Photo Gods) I will eagerly wait for the impending Canon mirrorless model that will allow use of all these gorgeous old lenses without¬†crippling¬†them. I’ve been waiting on this for years. But it seems the wait might be just about over. Please Canon, really. It’s time. And make it full-frame please.

Pablo, the super cute kitten, Canon 5Dmk2, FD 50mm 1.8 @ 2.8. Whiskers are sharp internet! 
Pablo, the super cute kitten,¬†Canon 5Dmk2, Cosina FD 70-300mm F4.5-5.8 @F8, Even stopped down, this lens shows huge haziness… Whiskers are SUPER sharp though internet!¬†¬†
50mm Face-off,¬†Canon 5Dmk2, Sigma FD 50mm 2.8 Macro. Huge haze with this wide open but quite sharp…

50mm Face-off, Canon 5Dmk2, Sigma FD 50mm 2.8 Macro.  A bit of exposure, black point and contrast adjustment and things look swell.

Thanks for readin’.

Self-Portrait with the Missus

Self-Portrait with the Missus
Originally uploaded by Dan Rosenthal

Meet Betty. She’s a lovely ol’ girl. Hefty, but full of character. I love her dearly. Her full name is Big Betty, but I’d never say it in her presence. She’s tough, but not that tough.

Betty is my Canon 1nRS. I really, really, really like this camera a lot.

Canon 1nRS, Canon 50 F1.4, Ilford Delta 3200