Fathom Gallery: On The Street

Fabrik Magazine’s Street Photography competition winners and a curated selection from Fathom Gallery’s collection make up the On The Street exhibit currently on display at the gallery in downtown Los Angeles.

According to Fathom, “The exhibition illustrates the evolution in photographic style and technique from the very inception of the street genre. ” I’m very excited to be included in this show, I have three Urban Landscape pieces on display.

A personal highlight of opening night was this moment:

A young art viewer receives an impromtu architecture lesson from another gallery visitor while they both look at my work.


Nick Ut’s Retirement Party at The Perfect Exposure Gallery

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Nick Ut on multiple occasions, he was sweet and cheerful every time. Last night, Armando Arorizo of The Perfect Exposure gallery threw Nick a party to celebrate his retirement and an admirable career. Nick was graciously meeting and greeting everyone there, and with a little patience and help from Armando, Nick granted me a quick moment away from the crowds to take his photo. It helped that he was impressed by my Hasselblad (“Oh! A real camera!”) and handheld light meter.

Nick Ut. Hasselblad 500c, 80mm 2.8, Cinestill 800T

Armando and Nick. Hasselblad 500c, 80mm 2.8, Cinestill 800T

Nick’s prints. Hasselblad 500c, 80mm 2.8, Cinestill 800T

Nick’s Leica cake. Hasselblad 500c, 80mm 2.8, Cinestill 800T

Hanami At Descanso Gardens

This past weekend I went to Descanso Gardens in La Crescenta, CA for their annual Cherry Blossom Festival. I love any opportunity to learn from another culture’s customs, and this one is a favourite. In Japan, the Cherry Blossom (Sakura) is one of their national symbols. In the spring, for the short duration of the blooms, people all over Japan watch the news for bloom reports and then head out to enjoy being around the cherry trees, these viewing parties and gatherings are called Hanami.

I took the Hasselblad with a 120mm makro-planar lens and some Fujifilm to the gardens:

Japanese String Instrument, Koto

Tulips also in bloom!

And lots of Magnolia trees!

[These were all shot on Fujifilm Pro400H, except for the tulips shot on expired NPS 160. Developed at home with Unicolour C-41 kit, and scanned in a Canon Canoscan Pro 9000 with betterscanning.com ‘s insert]

Here in LA, we don’t have many Sakura, but Descanso Gardens has several in their Japanese Gardens. The botanical garden put together two weekends of tree viewing with crafts (origami!), live music, and a barbecue. I highly recommend this event to everyone. The garden is accessible to all ages and abilities, the tickets were only $9 (get them in advance, they sell out), and food was reasonably priced.
I’m not much of a flora shooter, but after being so inspired by these I might have to go looking for wildflowers. Next stop might be the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve!

Japan Camera Hunter Street Pan 400

I’m so used to seeing my favourite film stocks being discontinued that it was very surprising and exciting to see a NEW film stock hitting the market.
Japan Camera Hunter has revived a discontinued AGFA film as Street Pan 400. It’s an ISO 400 Panchromatic film with high red sensitivity. It’s contrasty with fine grain, it was chosen to replace Fujifilm’s Neopan 400 (and probably because it was feasible to put back into production).
I have yet to find anywhere in California selling the film, but my partner was in Portland, OR recently and bought me a couple of rolls at the awesome Blue Moon Camera and Machine shop. Carol is by far the best gift-giver (and thanks, Jim, for the recommendation!).
Japan Camera Hunter does ship worldwide, but the film is (temporarily?) sold out.

We took a day trip to Long Beach to visit my sister and I shot a roll through my Canon EOS-3. I’m happy with the contrast and overall tones of this film. I’m even more impressed with how much of the sky detail it retained with all that contrast. It’s definitely a film I’ll use again!

JCH Street Pan 400 Test Roll

JCH Street Pan 400 Test Roll

JCH Street Pan 400 Test Roll


JCH Street Pan 400 Test Roll

It was a very nice gift, and a hard-to-find film, I had to do something cool with the canister after developing it (yes, I pull the film out without destroying the canister). So I stuck a magnet on it, and it now lives on my fridge along with photos of friends and family.

Leitz Park, Wetzlar, Germany

Back in May I got one of the coolest phone calls ever: “Leica wants to send you to Germany for training.”

The End.

(Okay not really, but what else do I even say after that?!)

Wetzlar is a small town about a half-hour drive outside of Frankfurt where Leica Camera AG has its headquarters. While the city looks like any city, it has a smaller “Old Town” area, with narrow medieval streets, half-timbered wood frame buildings, and a Gothic cathedral at its center. For an awesome week, a dozen of us Leica salespeople (and overall camera geeks!) were put up at a small, nice hotel in this Old Town area and spent our evenings dining and walking around there. We spent the days at Leitz Park, the Leica HQ area, learning about the company culture, history, products, and sales strategies. Sounds like boring conference room stuff, sure, but we were in camera geek heaven the whole time. We even had the chance to hear from Peter Karbe the head of Optical Design! The highlight of Leitz Park was the tour of Leica’s factory. I wasn’t allowed to take photos, but Oh. My. God… when Leica says “made by hand” they really mean MADE BY HAND. There is also a gallery of famous Leica photographs and a museum containing one of every model ever made. The architecture of the building itself is something to admire: one half built in the shape of binoculars, the other in the shape of a lens (complete with a center atrium), and the windows resemble film strips. We had lunch with Leica staff in their cafeteria and the Leitz Café (so fancy!). Here are my photos of Leitz Park and of my new friends from Spain, England, Italy, France, and all over the US.

Metabones Speedbooster XL and Ultra: The Abridged Version

New photographers are often surprised by how much maths is involved in photography. I’ve never been one to shy away from maths, actually, I was always good at it in school (my parents hoped thought I’d been an engineer!). Anyway, I understand most of the technical side of photography, the ratios, inverse square law, blah blah blah. But today I got stumped on trying to understand, and then explain, the mystery of the Speedbooster. So I’ve made myself this little pictorial “cliff’s notes,” so to speak.

Take full frame lenses (specifically Canon and Nikon, in this case) put them on  Micro Four Thirds cameras like Olympus and Panasonic and they have 2x crop factor. Then there is an additional 1.2x crop factor of 4k video. This makes for a 2.4x crop factor on 4k capable MFT camera such as the popular GH4, turning your 24mm lens into a 58mm. So Metabones comes along with these awesome adapters called Speedboosters that restore some of that crop factor while increasing the intensity of the light reaching the sensor. The first generations decreased the crop factor by .71x (2.4 x .71 =1.7) making that same 24mm a 40mm, also taking an f/2.8 aperture to f/2.0 (1 stop gain). A new .64x version of the speedbooster decreases the crop factor further (2.4 x .64=1.5) making that 24mm lens a 36mm with an aperture of f/1.8 (1 1/3 stops gain).

Dizzy from all the numbers? So was I. So a very curious and patient client (Thanks, Jordan!) and I decided to run a quick test in the store. We set up a GH4 using a marker on the counter to keep it in the same place and took 3 images of a set up of random stuff on the counter. In hind sight, I could have chosen a less cluttered background and a prettier setup, but this serves its purpose so please forgive the camera shop mess. We used the Lumix 12-35mm lens and then the 24-70 Canon lens with both the .71x and .64x Speedboosters, and I used a second camera to take these screenshots. Note the changes in angle of view (how much of the edges are cut off) and the aperture changes on these 2.8 lenses.

Speedbooster on GH4 comparison


The .64x XL version of the speedbooster has a larger protrusion into the camera and can BREAK the shutter if used on an incompatible camera. That means DEAD CAMERA! Please make sure your camera is compatible before trying to use it.

Metabones Speedbooster comparison

Check out the size difference in the mounts of these adapters! Please do not kill your camera with the wrong one!