Kodak Files for Bankruptcy

After months of speculation, Eastman Kodak Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today. In its filing, the company reported that it has $6.8 billion in debt and $5.1 billion in assets. Kodak has struggled for years as photography moved from film to digital photography.
If its filing is approved by a bankruptcy judge, the company would continue operating while it re-negotiates its debt with its creditors.

Camera West SF at Night Workshop

Good food, new friends, perfect weather and the beautiful lights of the city summed up the fun evening of photography we had last night. I tagged along as Camera West’s Hal Kam and Leica’s Tom Brichta led a small group of us to some top shooting locations in and around the city.

First stop was Treasure Island, and for those of us lucky enough to arrive early, we were treated to a beautiful sunset, allowing some color to the sky. Five minutes later, it was gone. With photography, timing is all important.

Next stop was Union Square where we had more light and a variety of subjects to shoot. Above, workshop participant John Krzesinski found a heart to shoot.
Workshop participant James Forslind (left) checks out Hal’s Leica X1 images.
Dianne Tanaka gets a little light from Bo Mathisen to adjust the settings on her Leica S2.
Dennis Sasaki photographs the world famous cable cars on Powell Street in Union Square
Leica’s Tom Brichta shoots the most photographed bridge in the world.

To see some of the images our group took, go to our Flickr page :

Stay tuned to this blog and our monthly Camera West newsletter for our next workshop.

Hasselblad Moonrise

Click photo for larger view
Conditions last Sunday lined up perfect for a moonrise image so I decided to try out the Hasselblad H4D-40 Ferrari Limited Edition we have here at Camera West.

The H4D-40 Ferrari is very unique. A collaboration between the two world renown companies with passions for quality, design and of course performance. Only 499 of these limited edition cameras were produced. The unique color (Ferrari calls it “Rosso Fuoco”) is an attention getter and I was busy most of my shooting day answering questions from curious on-lookers.
A medium format camera is a bit foreign to my 35mm single lens reflex upbringing but that said, the H4D was quite easy and intuitive to operate. It even shoots in a point and shoot mode should you care to photograph that way. Needless to say, I love the 40 megapixel image it produces and the fact that it pretty much operates like a 35mm DSLR, making me feel quite comfortable with it. The H4D also has an autofocus feature they call True Focus with Absolute Position Lock, which uses motion sensors to detect by how much you’ve rotated the camera to recompose your image. It’s pretty cool innovative technology and works well. It has another great feature that really came in handy for my moonrise photo of the Oakland – SF Bay Bridge. Since I was shooting at a slow shutter speed and did not have a cable release, I set the camera to a 5 second timer mode so that in the process of pushing the shutter button, I did not move the tripod mounted camera. Here’s the cool part : the H4D will lock the mirror up first, then count down 5 seconds before exposing the sensor. No more worries about the camera’s huge mirror flopping up and down vibrating the camera. Nice touch Hasselblad!
The moonrise photo you see above was actually two images shot with the HC Macro 120mm f4 and stitched together in Photoshop CS5 using Photomerge.  I used ISO 100, choosing an aperture of f16 for maximum depth of field and a shutter speed of .8 second. 
It’s difficult to really convey the clarity this camera and system of lenses produces on the small photos you see here, but stop by Camera West in Walnut Creek and we’ll show you this moonrise image on our 27 inch iMac. You’ll be impressed. You can also check out the beautiful H4D…you’ll be doubly impressed!
Below is a cropped image from the photo above just to show you the detail the H4D produces. The shipping cranes you see in the background are at the Port of Oakland, 3.5 miles away from my shooting position at the foot of Market Street in San Francisco!

Whenever the moonrise time is similar to the sunset time, you have perfect shooting conditions because, since the moon is lit by the sun, it’s exposure is similar to daylight. What this means is that your landscape exposure will be close to your moon’s exposure giving you detail in both. You may notice some moon photos where there is no detail in the moon. It’s just a white dot. That’s because you’ve over-exposed the moon’s exposure, trying to pick up some detail in your dark landscape. Vice/versa, you can have detail in your moon, however your landscape is black. So, anytime the moonrise/sunset or moonset/sunrise times are similar, you’ll find perfect conditions to make some memorable images.

Here is an example of shooting a moonrise well after sunset when there’s a large difference between the exposure of the moon and the exposure of the landscape. This photo was taken a half hour or so after the image at the top of this post. I chose to expose for the landscape which makes the moon way over exposed. I placed my position so that the moon was behind the bridge tower to minimize the overexposed moon. This photo, taken with my Canon 5D Mark II (2 second exposure at f2.8, ISO 100) has an entirely different feel to it and that’s the beauty of ever changing light and photography!

Finally, another plug for my favorite photography app, The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE). Using a program like TPE will help you find those rare days where the moon, sun and earth line up for your perfect shot. With it, you can determine exactly where the sun or moon will be from your shooting position on any day at any time. This free desktop app (donations to the developer Stephen Trainor are encouraged) is an absolute must for any landscape photographer.

Now go out there and plan your next shoot. Hint…February 7 is looking pretty sweet!

Portable Darkroom for Sale

Need a portable military grade darkroom? Today’s your lucky day! There’s a used US Army one for sale on eBay with the starting price of $4,500. The 4,500 pound shelter contains 3 rooms with 614 cubic feet of space, and comes with all the darkroom equipment you need, including an escape door! Also comes with a temperature water control system and heating and air conditioning.

More photos here : http://imgur.com/a/Ag0gz

New! Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G Announced

The AF-S 85mm f/1.8G, features a nine-element optical design, seven-blade aperture diaphragm, and Silent Wave autofocus with a focus mode switch (M/A and M) on the lens barrel. The new lens has a close focus distance of 31.5in, and like the AF 85mm f/1.8D it replaces, does not incorporate Nikon’s Vibration Reduction technology.

Available in March for $499.95