Sergej Prokudin-Gorskij | Pioneer of colour photography

Born August 30th, 1863, Sergej Prokudin-Gorskij is undoubtedly one of the pioneers of colour photography. In the early 1910s, before the outbreak of World War I, Prokudin-Gorskij travelled across Russia, documenting the country and the life of its many, culturally diverse inhabitants — in full colour. His ventures were financed by Tsar Nikolaj II, who was impressed by his previous work and decided to grant him the funds needed for a 10-year project which Prokudin-Gorskij eventually continued beyond the October Revolution.

Sergej Prokudin-Gorskij | On the Karolitskhali River (Self-portrait)

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News & Articles | August 5th, 2011

It seems it’s time for another round of news and articles! Over the past weeks, I’ve been collecting interesting links again, which I’d now like to share with you.

Section 1: Micro Four Thirds

The Photography Of Amos Chapple
This really doesn’t need many words. Amos Chapple is an avid traveller and records his adventures using Micro Four Thirds cameras by choice. Look at his pictures and you’ll know why they say it’s the photographer that takes the shot, not the camera. Amazing stuff!

DSLR Magazine: Olympus PEN Lite (E-PL3) test
The Spanish DSLR Magazine have tested the latest incarnation of Olympus’ consumer Micro Four Thirds model, the E-PL3. While the megapixel count has (blessedly) not increased, the camera features a new Olympus-designed sensor that accomodates blazing fast autofocus, a tiltable screen with 460k pixels and a redesigned kit lens. DSLR Magazine have put the E-PL3 through its paces.

M.Zuiko 12mm f/2 review @ SoundImagePlus
SoundImagePlus have written a 10-part user review of the new M.Zuiko 12mm f/2 lens for Micro Four Thirds. You can find part 1 by clicking the link above, the other parts are accessible via their website.

Section 2: Leica M

“Light of the night”: Noctilux-M 50/0.95 ASPH tested by BJP
Edmond Terakopian has tested Leica’s ultimate low-light lens, the Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH, for the British Journal of Photography. He took it out for a shooting together with a couple of other lenses, but ended up sticking with the Noctilux most of the time.

Voigtländer Nokton 40/1.4 review
Prosophos, Toronto base photography enthusiast, has written a summary of his thoughts about the Voigtländer Nokton 40mm f/1.4 for Leica M. In his hands, this lens really shines!

SanDisk SD cards incompatible with latest M9 firmware?
Photographer Gil Lavi has had a really terrible experience with the latest Leica M9 firmware eating his SanDisk SD cards during a paid shoot. Read the whole story and Leica’s reaction by clicking the link above.

Leica M9-P hands-on at Pocket-lint
Really not much more than some gear porn, but if you like the looks of the Leica M9-P, here’s some eye candy for you! :-)

Ricoh M-mount module for Ricoh GXR official!
After almost a year of rumours (a mock-up was presented at last year’s photokina), it is now finally official: Ricoh are producing an M-mount module for the GXR camera! Now here’s another alternative for using M-mount lenses on a digital body! DPReview have already gotten hold of one and written a preview.

Section 3: Varia

Street shooting experiment in London, UK
A group of photographers have recently done an experiment in London, UK. The goal of the experiment was to see if it was still possible to go street shooting in London. As was to be expected, all six photographers were on at least one occasion stopped by security personnell, and in three cases the police were called.

Variable ND filter by Kenko-Tokina
Kenko-Tokina have announced an interesting new product, a variable neutral density filter that can be adjusted to darken the image anywhere between 1.3 and 10 EV (ND2.5–ND1000). Quite fascinating! Sadly, the filter will only be available in 77 and 82mm filter thread sizes.

How ‘Focus Peaking’ works
A DPReview forums user has examined the details of Sony’s new ‘Focus Peaking’ feature for the NEX interchangeable-lens camera series. He studies several possibilities of calculation and representation of in-focus areas, and finally asks the questions if this could be implemented in Micro Four Thirds cameras. (Probably not, as I’d assume it’s patented by Sony.) Terrific feature!

Sony NEX-7
It’s still only a rumour, but it looks like Sony is going to announce a NEX model aimed at enthusiasts, the NEX-7. It will feature extensive manual controls as well as a built-in 3 million dot (!!!) EVF. Together with the above-mentioned focus peaking feature, this could be a real alternative to the Leica M8/M9 for those who don’t want to or can’t afford to spend those big bucks. (I’m certainly giving it a thought!) Full specs here.

Two articles on landscape photography at ePHOTOzine

ePHOTOzine published two articles on ladscape photography, which cover topics which normally wouldn’t instantly pop up in your mind when thinking of landscapes.

Article #1 deals with the “magic cloth” technique. This technique allows you to selectively control the exposure time of different parts of a picture during long exposures using simply — a cloth. The pictures shown speak for themselves — impressive what can be achieved with this technique when applied correctly!

Article #2 deals with another not so obvious topic, namely using longer focal lengths for landscape shots. Normally, for landscape shooting you’d take a wide-angle along to capture as much of the view ahead as possible. But there’s also a lot of interesting stuff you can do with a telephoto lens!

Visiting the sulfur mines at Kawah Ijen, Java, Indonesia

rangefinderforum user leicashot recently visitied the sulfur mines at Kawah Ijen, a volcano in east Java, featuring the world’s largest lake of sulfuric acid. Around the lake, between clouds of sulfur dioxide gas, some 400 workers collect rocks of pure sulfur, which they then carry over four kilometers down to the processing plant at the foot of the mountain – for a handfull of dollars a day.

leicashot’s report features some stunning pictures of the mountain, the workers, the processing plant and its surroundings, as well as a report on his first-hand experience being caught in a cloud of sulfur dioxide gas for ten minutes – from the impact of which he claims he is still suffering. The pictures were taken using a Leica M9, a pre-aspheric Elmarit-M 28/2.8 and a Voigtländer Nokton 35/1.2. You can find his post here @ rangefinderforum.

Urban Exploration: “Gunkanjima”, Nagasaki, Japan

Japan based hobby photographer Gakuranman (Tremor16 on dpreview forums) has recently published an article on exploring the deserted “Gunkanjima” island (official name: Hashima (端島)), an ancient mining settlement off the coast of Nagasaki prefecture, which has been abandoned several decades ago. During two short trips to the island, he used the Panasonic GF1 + 7-14mm lens to take several stunning pictures on the out- and inside of the heavily dilapidated infrastructure, once housing several thousand workers and their families.

You can find his article on his website.