• "The ongoing clash between modern technology and old traditions": Newbie Member of Parliament for Leicester West Liz Kendall is in hot water for violating the no-photography rule in the House of Lords—for a picture she snapped with her iPhone, and immediately tweeted. At Enticing the Light, Miserere wonders whether she might be put to death like Thomas More. (Good on Leicester West; that post makes me rather like Liz Kendall.)-
• Location isn't everything: So you think unique access to a rare subject will save you from criticism? Think again. A humorous put-down of a certain accomplished robot photographer from Christopher Lane.-
• New portfolios: TOP Foreign Correspondent Peter Turnley has updated his web page with 12 new portfolios from recent times, including several bodies of work that had their world premieres right here on these virtual pages. Well worth an extended visit!-
• Portrait of a photographer: An astounding number of readers have sent us this link. "Photographer at Old Orchard House," Maine, circa 1904. Another curiosity from Shorpy.
• Long-awaited: The next book by the Ornette Coleman of the camera (only his instrument is a Hasselblad Superwide instead of a white plastic sax), America by Car, by Lee Friedlander, is out. Almost. Sure to be quirky, real, and funky. Who else would take landscapes the way we mostly actually see them, with the car in the way?
• Now you've gone and done it: A few of the comments yesterday got me interested in the Canon EF-S 17–55mm ƒ/2.8 IS USM zoom, and I spent a good chunk of the day yesterday researching it, reading reviews and looking at pictures. From what I can discern online (not everything), it indeed looks to be a very sound balancing of all the competing and conflicting parameters involved in designing a normal zoom: almost too big but not quite, almost too expensive but not quite, not too many foibles to remain aware of...and the picture quality looks generally luscious. The "perfect" contemporary all-purpose zoom? Could be. The only problem is that a "nested" fast prime would not have IS.
And it stands up pretty well to my mostly-tongue-in-cheek Handy TOP Guide to How to Buy a Zoom Lens:
1. The lower the range of the lens, expressed as a multiple, the better. To find this number, take the longest focal length and divide by the shortest focal length. Thus a 35–70mm is 2X, a 28–85mm is 3X, etc. 1X is best, up to 3X is okay, anything over 4X should be evaluated with caution.
2. The faster the maximum aperture (the lower the f-number), the better. (If the speed of the range is expressed as a range, e.g. ƒ/3.4–5.6, the first number is the lens's fastest speed.)
3. If the speed of the range is expressed as a range, the less difference between the maximum aperture at the widest focal-length setting and at the longest focal-length setting, the better. Constant aperture zooms are best; an ƒ/2.8–4 lens (one stop) is okay; if the difference is two stops or more, choose with caution.-
• And speaking of zooms, a vintage Herbert Keppler quotation: "I am fed up to the ears with all the guff about 35–70mm zoom lenses. I don't think they're great, I think they will assure you of fairly ordinary pictures and are apt to stunt your growth as a photographer." (Popular Photography, March 1988)
• And speaking of Canons: Be sure not to miss Harold Merklinger's review of the Canon TS-E 24mm ƒ/3.5L Version II over at The Luminous Landscape.
• Books by readers: Australian TOP reader Phil Aynsley's magnum opus on Ducati motocycles is now available from Amazon. The Amazon page says there is only one available, but Phil assures me that actually "they have heaps." So, no TOP effect.
(Thanks to José Luis Galanche and Rob Atkins)
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Ed Kirkpatrick: "So I had to go look at 'Photographer at Old Orchard House, Maine, circa 1904,' and while it turns out I know this photograph, I noticed the link to another photo, 'Alpha Girls, 1912,' and in looking at that saw it was part of the Harris and Ewing Collection. If you are from Washington, D.C., you might remember that H & E was the go-to photographic studio in the early half of the 20th century. My great-grandparents and grandparents used them all the time.
"A Google search yielded a link to the Library of Congress, which houses the partially digitized collection of H & E's negatives that is searchable. So what do I find but two images of my family that have been lost to me for years, and are down-loadable for free (the images, not the family, although maybe that's next). Ain't the internet a great thing? Thanks for the link Mike!"