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Friday, 20 October 2017


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I knew there was a reason I never joined the cult and don't use Lightroom. I still manually download my photos from compact flash cards using Adobe Bridge, placing them in folders I organize according to my own quirky thought process. I can still find images I'm looking for pretty quickly.
Now that Lightroom is becoming 'subscription based', it raises the disturbing possibility that your carefully organized catalogues might evaporate someday (if, say, Adobe loses interest), leaving you struggling to figure out where your actual image files are located and how to re-organize them.

So you think diesel vehicles are clunky? Check out Audi's latest version of a diesel race car for endurance racing. https://blackflag.jalopnik.com/the-new-audi-r18-le-mans-car-still-beats-that-wacky-die-1766481772

Audi won the 24 hours of Le Mans five years in a row with their diesel cars. Better fuel mileage, more torque, less shifting and reliable, reliable, reliable. The first year of racing the Audi diesels won every race they entered.

This new incarnation is a hybrid diesel/electric and looks to be another winner.

Diesel trucks?

Worse: diesel station wagons.

regarding your comment on LensRental packaging. I love great packaging. If you don't have a smartphone lens from Moment Lenses you should order one just to see their packaging. Also, this bit of satire - https://youtu.be/EUXnJraKM3k - was apparently put together by Microsoft's own marketing department to express their frustration with the company's visual identity.


happens once every thousand years: if you add your year of birth and your age on this year's birthday, the sum is the current year (2017).

So we made it this time around! Can't wait for the next one.


I really enjoy these multiple topics in the now frequently postings.
I will comment on two of them today.
I went to Havana alone with a camera several years ago. It was a wonderful and safe experience. I live in Mexico so there wasn't a lot of cultural shock and the people everyone will laugh out loud together. If anybody has reluctance of Turnleys trip should move on to a wonderful experience. They will find it enlightening about the culture and the light works great. So do the night lights BTW. Regarding the other comment which is a little political, I needed to check the TOP guidelines about todays subtle nuances . I checked and they were not "Rants and Provocations" so the status quo remains. And regarding this topic I save those bashing comments for other publications.... and with relish.

Mike...I like your “Around The Web” posts. Keep ‘em coming!

I spent a week in Cuba during a workshop, but rather than take part in the activities, I walked around Havana on my own. Not speaking Spanish was perhaps a help rather than a hindrance in taking photos.

It's curious that someone having a French driving license should invent the stop sign. A stop sign is a rarity in France, where the general rule is that the car to the right has the right of way.

Wowie zowie that is one great post, take the weekend off you deserve it.

A truly auspicious photography-related name is, of course, Takuma.

But who knows, maybe Thambar will become highly fashionable for newborns, over the next few years.

Well, our son is named Anton - just a little bit in honour of my favourite Dutch photographer (Apologies to Jeroen Smit, if you read this. You're a clear second on my list)

I was one of the participants, with Ray, in Peter’s March workshop in Cuba. I can attest to everything he says, particularly on Peter’s emphasis on making human connections first, photos second. In addition, we had a fantastic group of participants who had a lot of fun together and are still in touch, celebrating each other’s accomplishments and getting together when we visit someone’s city. A great overall experience, indeed.

In re: "To paraphrase Julius Caesar: 'et tu, Porsche?'"

Everything I've ever read about this supposed quote says that Shakespeare pretty much made it up. Some scholars say that Caesar may have said something similar to express dismay at Brutus' participation, but his exact words weren't recorded in any contemporary accounts. I'm just working from memory here (always dubious, at best), but I think Mary Beard may have even touched on this in her recent book (SPQR. I know you're a prolific reader, so if you're aware of something I haven't seen, I'd love to know about it.

Personally, I don't know why they don't just release the video, and have someone enhance the audio so we can finally put this issue to rest. Another massive cover-up I suppose. Plus ça change . . . ;)


I was researching a photographer who happened to be killed during a prison escape around 1914 in McAlister, OK. I discovered he was referred to as the "Bertillon" officer at the prison, someone who took the photograph of the inmates and recorded their measurements and other distinguishing marks.

Seeing your notice about Peter Trunley's Cuba workshops and openings, I'd like to comment that I've traveled to Cuba with Peter in May 2015 (Havana) and again in April of this year (Santiago de Cuba)and that both trips were powerful photographic experiences for me. Peter is a wonderful mentor and quite generous with his time and experiences. His workshops provide access to rich photographic locations and circumstances. Both trips provided opportunity to explore Cuba with uncommon intimacy and insight. Participants are allowed encouraged to travel lightly without disruption among the marvelous Cuban people. thanks Michael for promoting Peters workshops - I highly recommend them to TOP readers
Terry Donnelly

The Porsche SUV I fear is not owned and driven for its "Porscheness" but rather owned for its label "Porsche".

Speaking in ansels...

Ansel Adams's 1983 Playboy Interview Should Be Required Reading for Climate Change Deniers @ http://www.playboy.com/articles/playboy-interview-ansel-adams

I saw a diesel 2.0 litre , probably 4 cylinder SUV.
Those are 3 sins for a Jaguar.
OK, it sells.

And that Eggleston cover photo, I'll add, is by fellow Minnesotan Alec Soth.


Re: et tu, Porsche - that diesel SUV is reportedly their best selling model.

I love LensRentals. I live relatively nearby the other major lens rental business, and I still rent from LensRentals. Why? They make the process so painless, easy, and seamless, and as Mike has mentioned, they just seem to make the process better and better. Why drive 90 minutes in Bay Area Traffic to pick up and return a lens when I do it all from the comfort of my own home. The "Release the Happy" packaging, and the included piece of packing tape are enhancements they've added over the last year or so, because IIRC, they were not part of the first rental I did with them in Sept 2016.

They're my "go-to guys for gear" nowadays....

Regarding Adobe: Why can't it be simpler instead of more complicated? Because Adobe, much like Apple, has predominantly completely lost touch with their customers. It's all about them now, not the the needs of their customers. Why did they name the "standalone" subscription version of Lightroom "Classic"? Because at some point in time, it's going to go completely away; it'll become a "Classic". Ulitmately, Adobe is going to make you pay every month not only to use Lightroom but also to store your Lightroom images and catalogs.

Fortunately, by then, MacPhun will have full DAM support.

And, there's always Capture One.

What a contrast in cutomer-centricity: LensRentals on the one hand, and Adobe on the other...

Re Porsche diesel trucks: During the 50s and 60s, Porsche in fact manufactured agricultural tractors (I'm afraid that the link is in German, English Wikipedia doesn't have an article about that). Back in the day, they were quite popular among German farmers.

Best, Thomas

Another vote for the Around the Web posts.

Although I doubt I'd ever be a customer that Leica lens is a beautiful piece of industrial design. The focussing ring just begs to be turned.

Re: Work Fails ...

Physics always wins.

Re the Adobe Lightroom changes, how did you get on with Affinity Photo, Mike? It seems to get good reviews.
And BTW, I never have any doubt which gear my car is in, because it only has one forward and one reverse. Except maybe during parking if I forget which I have selected. It solves all that doubt and anxiety, delivering consistent acceleration, as much as I need, every time. BMW i3.

If there's anything better than perambulating the Web myself, it's reading the results of your wanderings. Keep 'em coming, sir!

This style of post for these small tidbits of info definitely works. Kind of like a quick tour around the world.

Regarding diesels, I fear you are still tainted by the diesels from the Gas-Crunch era. Modern diesels from the '90s and newer are more technologically advanced, more poweful, better mpg, and pollute less than their gasoline counterparts.

Well, I did it: I named my son Ansel. What can I say? I like the name, and I admire the man. It seemed perfect to me.

Photo philosopher Eric Kim today said Consider that the pictures you shoot today will become the past of the future. http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2017/10/20/now-is-the-best-time-to-be-a-photographer/

BTW my brother-in-law's little-sister would blow-the-doors-off your stick-shift Acura if she was driving one of those Porsche trucks. Just sayin' 8-D

"While modern lenses typically strive to achieve the highest levels of sharpness and clarity, the Thambar-M 90mm ƒ/2.2 is all about 'the look.' The Thambar lens is known for its ability to capture portraits with a signature aesthetic that cannot be reproduced in basic digital post processing."

This would be interesting to me, if it weren't so costly, and if I had a camera to mount it on.

I walk two sides of the photography street, conventionally sharp, clear, with lots of fine detail, deep DoF, etc., and various forms of soft and abstract images. For the latter, I have a small menagerie of soft lenses, mostly used on a Sony A7, as they are all designed for FF.

Some are intentionally so:
LensBaby Velvet 56/1.6
Holga 60/8
Minolta Varisoft 85/2.8
SIMA Soft Focus 100/2
LensBaby Sweet 50/2.5
LensBaby Soft Focus 50/2
Other LensBaby 50/2 optics.

Early fast T-Mount lenses, pre computer aided design, unintentionally soft at wide apertures:
Tamron 28/2.8
Super Lentar 35/2.8
Sankor 135/2.8
Lentar 200/3.5

Looking at web images, I don't see anything from the Thambar that seems unique, compared to what the above can do. There might be more to see with larger images, of course.

The Minolta is interesting in that it has a ring that adjusts the amount of spherical aberration for some control over softness separate from the aperture ring, although I've not so far much liked the results. Nikon tried the idea of a soft focus 105/2.8, but abandoned it before production, as they couldn't get the effect when stopping down that was desired.

This raises a major problem with all these lenses; softness declines with smaller apertures, generally entirely disappearing by f8-11 (including the Thambar). Thus, combining soft focus with large DoF, as is achieved with some LF lenses, is impossible. Nikons's solution was to stop the lens project and develop special Soft filters.

There's also a problem with "sink strainer" apertures as (first?) seen in the Rodenstock Imagons (and in LensBaby Soft Focus aperture disks). Specular highlights become large images of the aperture, in bright color. An interesting effect, but seldom actually desirable.

Another problem is bright conditions, where very high shutter speeds and/or ND filters are needed to maintain the wide apertures where soft focus obtains.

What DOES intrigue me is the filter with blacked out center. I see at least one 1A filter with black center in my future.

I had the good fortune to attend Pete Turnley's lecture at Indiana University Southeast last week. Although I was familiar with his work though TOP and his photo journalistic work, his talk touched upon his early years as a young documentary photographer in Ft Wayne Indiana and California as well as his impressive educational achievements, life in Paris...and his documentary projects in Harlem - all I can say is what a talent! Pete is an impressive speaker and really connected with the audience which included many students and attendees from the Louisville area ( which is right across the river from IUS) My thanks to Dr Wallace for bringing such a great photographer and speaker to our area.

I would drive a Porsche diesel before forming an opinion.

I’ve always thought, wouldn’t it be cool to have a Thambar? Don’t think I’ll bite, though, too rich for my blood. I actually had a tele-elmart that had developed some weirdness in the front element, a kind of haze or something, and which actually made for a fantastic effect. I actually regret having it cleaned, though I wonder if it had progressed if the lens would’ve become unusable.

For a special look, I enjoy my uncoated 30s Zeiss Sonnar converted to LTM. I think I’ll shoot with if today!

That honorary driving license - was that issued by, I wonder, the same A Bertillon responsible for the system of criminal anthropometry mentioned in Sherlock Holmes stories among other references; also so prominent (as - heavily overclaimed - graphologist) in the Dreyfus trial?

While not a soft focus lens like the Thambar this did bring to mind the Lomo Petzval. At $600 it is a tenth the price.
I believe the intent of these lenses is to give portrait photographers a different look. In that regard both appear to succeed although I suspect the Petzval gets the nod in terms of return on investment.

Re: Arthur Ashe's daughter's name, another tidbit that may have played a role in her name is the fact that Arthur had had an endorsement deal with Canon Cameras for several years (though finding the dates of his time w/ Canon stymied my efforts).

Re: Porsche SUVs, I recall a print ad in a car magazine around when the SUV was new. It posed the question: Why would you need an SUV w/ 400 HP? Have you ever run out of diapers at 3:00 AM?

As for automatic transmissions, my dual clutch DSG auto in my Sportwagen has paddle shifters. I can change gears without taking my hands from the wheel. When I change gears this way, the dash shows the gear it is in (otherwise it displays 'D'). If dual clutch/paddle shifting is good enough for F1 racing, I guess I'll get by. I never owned an auto transmission car until I got a job where I had to drive in stop and go rush hour traffic, and life is too short for 1st-N-1st-N-1st-N etc shifting.


Question about photo books: Can anyone point to examples of photo books in which the text was much more than just captions, and played an especially important role in showcasing the photographs? (The most extreme example that comes to mind for me is W.G. Seabald's Austerlitz, which is not a "photo book," but a work of amazing prose with a few small, enigmatic, black and white photos. But I am actually looking for photo books as such, in which the text is an especially integral part of the overall presentation.) Thanks.

regarding "Leica to revive 1935 Thambar" - I'll glob some vaseline on a filter - already spent way too much on Leica

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