Shooting a Clockwork Camera – Zeiss Ikon Contina Ic Camera Review

Zeiss Ikon’s Contina Ic is everything I love about vintage cameras. Functionally elegant, mechanically sophisticated, simple; its the kind of camera that works, sounds, and feels like clockwork. It’s a tangible link to a romantic past and an older continent, evidenced by the Swiss retailer’s identification seal found inside my example’s film compartment – Photo House, Amrein-Graf, 27 Quai des Bergues, Genève. Most important of all, it’s a machine that’s entirely capable of making excellent photos more than sixty years after it shipped from the factory.

Don’t get me wrong, this camera is not a camera to replace the average digital photographer’s mirrorless or DSLR. With its weak maximum aperture, a painfully sluggish top shutter speed, and a complete lack of focusing aids, this small, metal camera is inferior even to the film SLRs of the 1970s. What it is, however, is pure tactile joy. Like the gated shift lever of a European sports car, or the mainspring of a hand wound mechanical wristwatch, the mechanisms of this Zeiss are supremely satisfying in a way that many people simply won’t understand.

I just called the Contina inferior to a certain class of cameras from a later era. That’s obviously true, but it’s not the whole story. Judged through the lens of the period in which it was made, the Contina Ic was a wonderful photographic tool for users who’d bother to read an owner’s manual. And as hinted, it remains just the same in 2017. Spend some time learning its sometimes quirky methodology and the camera reveals itself to be a simple one.

Essentially, the Contina Ic is a German-made compact 35mm viewfinder camera with a fixed lens and a leaf shutter. We could end the spec list there and not be faulted. There’s not much else going on here. There’s no light meter, there’s no rangefinder, and there are no electronics. For those high-tech accoutrements you’ll need to buy a higher-spec Contina (there were plenty made with all this and more). The Contina Ic’s bells and whistles amount to a flash sync port, an automatic frame counter, a film speed and type reminder dial, a tripod mount and a shutter release cable socket. But despite this simplicity (and possibly as a direct result of it) the camera does what it does extremely well.

The viewfinder is a reverse Galilean type, which provides a very slightly reduced size relative to actual size, but the frame is simply massive. This allows ample room on all sides of the absolutely gorgeous frame lines, which seem to glow with inner light. This system will feel familiar to users of Leica’s M series or similar rangefinders in which the unused space surrounding the actual image area can be an effective tool for staying aware of our surroundings and for composing images just the way we want them. It’s a bright, fantastic viewfinder that’s hard to beat, and users who’ve never shot a camera of this type will be immediately impressed.

Its lens is a 45mm Pantar lens with a maximum aperture of F/2.8. At first blush, this maximum aperture would seem sluggish. But when we realize that the camera’s maximum shutter speed is an equally contemplative 1/300th of a second, we start to see why a faster aperture may not be necessary to the creation of great images. This is a camera that’s less concerned with shallow depth-of-field, favoring instead the “F/8 and be there” sensibility of travel and family oriented snapshot makers of its day. In this capacity, the lens and shutter work together very well.

This cohesive identity in the two components that make up the core of any camera’s capability, shutter speed and aperture, becomes even more apparent when we understand the camera’s operational intent. The Contina uses the exposure value shooting methodology that was deeply in favor back in the day. By taking a light meter reading with an external meter, we are able to set what is known as EV, our exposure value. Using this value, the shooter can set the shutter speed and aperture to the appropriate settings, at which point they will become linked via a locking mechanism on the aperture ring. Once this has been done, changing one value (aperture or shutter speed) will result in an automatic change to the other. This means that exposures should always be correct as long as the available light remains somewhat the same. For extenuating circumstances or for shooters who prefer greater artistic freedom, simply depressing the locking button allows us to change aperture or shutter speed individually.

Focusing is accomplished via our brains and our eyes, with only superficial help from the camera. Gauge the distance to subject and spin the focusing ring on the front of the lens to the corresponding distance (or near enough). The depth-of-field scale shows immediately how our selected aperture will effect focus. For rapid fire shooting and to more closely embrace the “F/8 and be there” ethos, there’s a “red dot setting” with which Zeiss shooters will be familiar. By setting the focusing ring to the red dot and setting the aperture to the red painted F/8 mark we ensure that any subject from approximately 8 feet away to infinity distance will be in sharp focus.

If this list of features doesn’t set the average photo geek’s world ablaze, no fault there. It’s decidedly modest. But the Contina Ic is a camera that, clichés be damned, is much greater than the sum of its parts.

To start, every inch of this camera is machined perfection. Design flourishes are refined and intricate, a testament to its designers’ attention to detail. The body’s satin chrome finish is smooth and subtle, with polished levers and accents contrasting beautifully as seen on the camera’s accessory shoe. The incredibly fine knurling of its dials is just stunning, and provides both functional grip and visual delicacy. And when we begin actuating these dials things become even more exceptional.

The film advance lever ratchets with all the right noises and haptic feedback that is so delightfully mechanical. This action advances the film, cocks the leaf shutter, and advances the frame counter all in one throw. While this is far from unique in the world of vintage cameras, the directed action of the lever, the sounds that it makes, and the final thwick when all gears, levers, and dials have locked into place is just magic. Admittedly, this magic will be lost on plenty of shooters. But anyone who appreciates the incredible intricacy of mechanized things will immediately fall for the Contina after one actuation. Anyone who’s actually tried to build something will be even more impressed.

All this said, amazing mechanisms are useless on a camera if that camera can’t take good photos. The Zeiss avoids this critical failure by making mostly beautiful pictures, pictures that may be even more remarkable in 2017 than they were in its own day. I could describe shots from the Contina as retro, but this simplifies and diminishes things. The 45mm Pantar lens renders in a unique way that’s hard to assert. Images are sharp, but not clinically sharp, giving photos an almost painted aesthetic. Shots don’t just look old. They look artistic. They’re brushstrokes, not pixels; they’re pastel, not vivid; they’re etched, not sharp. Shots made through the Contina’s lens are rendered nearly as if we’re seeing a scene through the fog of memory. Sometimes things look better and sometimes things look worse, no matter what, things always look interesting.

There’s minor vignetting when shot wide open, some chromatic aberration when shooting high contrast scenes, and general sponginess on the corners of the frames. This is not advanced or technically excellent glass, but neither is it trying to be. When focusing at minimum focus distance and shooting at maximum aperture, it’s possible to get some fairly decent background blur (though nailing focus is a bit of a challenge). Is it gorgeous, creamy bokeh? No way. But it doesn’t have to be. Flaring and ghosting happens when shooting directly into the sun. In spite of all these objective flaws, this lens has charm.

But is charm all a camera needs, or does a camera have to be “the best” to warrant ownership? For me, the former. The Zeiss Ikon Contina Ic is far from the best camera I own; it’s old-world in all the best and worst ways possible. It’s a bit sluggish, a bit clunky, and a bit quirky. But it makes gorgeous photos, rewards the senses with every shot, and feels utterly fantastic in the hands. It’s not a camera to replace my digital or more advanced film machines, but it is the kind of camera that reminds me of why I shoot classic cameras in the first place.

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Jogging in Millbrook with my Pixel Phone

The Pixel 2 XL

I love this new Pixel phone from Google. I’m thinking about writing a longer form article about what it means for photography going forward… I just need a bit more time to write and think about it!

Daily Photo – Jogging in Millbrook with my Pixel Phone

This is a shot made from two different photos from my Pixel 1 phone. Now I’m actually using the Pixel 2, but I took this a few months ago. One great thing about Google photos (they are not a sponsor or anything), but whenever you take multiple photos and overlap them, the Google server will automatically build a panorama for you. So, after this, I just downloaded the new photo then made some adjustments in Aurora HDR.

Jogging in Millbrook with my Pixel Phone

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-03-29 17:45:37
  • CameraPixel
  • Camera MakeGoogle
  • Exposure Time1/1700
  • Aperture2
  • ISO52
  • Focal Length4.7 mm
  • FlashAuto, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias


You Get Me?

Mahtab Hussain’s tender portraits question the image of South Asian Muslim men in Britain.

By David Campany

Mahtab Hussain, Young boy, white boxing gloves, 2010, from the series You Get Me?
Courtesy the artist

Xenophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment helped drive the momentum behind the U.K.’s June 2016 vote in favor of Brexit. How, then, can British artists create counternarratives that offer nuanced representations of unfairly maligned populations? Mahtab Hussain, a British photographer, has recently created a visual record of his community, which has been neglected by the art establishment and media alike. Recently published in the monograph You Get Me?, Hussain’s series features emotionally layered portraits of young South Asian Muslim boys and men, and often examines the performance of masculinity. The book’s title references the trend for British Asian men to identify with black urban experience. As Hussain writes, “The phrase You Get Me? also embodies it all. It can be seen as aggressive and confrontational, yet it expresses a glimmer of vulnerability too, that uncertainty when voicing one’s thoughts and opinions, asking the real question behind it all: Do you understand me?”

Mahtab Hussain, Shemagh, beard and bling, 2010, from the series You Get Me?
Courtesy the artist

David Campany: Mahtab, you’ve just published the book You Get Me? with MACK. I’ve heard it was a long time coming. How and where did this project begin? I guess it’s tied very closely to the story of your own youth?

Mahtab Hussain: My identity as a young British Pakistani boy was never in question. Until the age of seven, I was oblivious to race, class, and ideals of difference. Although I was conscious of racial violence and tension between whites and blacks, my father was very open about talking through his experiences, which helped me to understand, to an extent. But, crucially, I was never directly affected. I went to school surrounded by others like me, a mix of ethnicities—Indian and Pakistan—and where we were the majority. And then it all changed. My parents divorced when I was six. This forced not only a family separation, but also a community separation too, as we were essentially ostracized. My father moved to Druids Heath in Birmingham, a very poor, white, working-class community, and my mother to Handsworth, which had a predominately black and Indian demographic.

Living with my father in Druids Heath thrust racism directly into my life. My brother and I were the only British Pakistani boys at the local Catholic school. Our first day was met with violence and racial remarks, and it was the first time the word “Paki” was directed at me. Questions were asked: “When would I go home? Why had I come here?” Questions that I had never thought about before, about my race, class, and culture. We were always looked upon as a problem, or at least positioned in a place of difference. It was obvious to me then that my identity was under threat, and for ten years I hated being brown—this color that brought unwanted, often violent attention.

Mahtab Hussain, Friends, curry sauce n’ chips, 2012, from the series You Get Me?
Courtesy the artist

Campany: When did photography begin to interest you?

Hussain: Well, truly, at seventeen. I decided to live with my mother and deliberately enrolled at Joseph Chamberlain College (the British equivalent to American high school), which had a predominately Pakistani intake, to study photography. On my first day there, I was confronted with another form of discrimination. This time I was ridiculed not for my skin color, but for my attitude, personality, even culture. I was told I was too white, I was “fish and chips,” a “John,” I spoke too gently, too posh, like a white boy. I retaliated saying they were too black, and it was at the college that I first heard the phrase “wagwan,” Jamaican slang for “What’s going on?” It staggered me that for ten years I battled with my own identity crisis and continue to do so. My contemporaries were undergoing the same crisis. I regret now never turning my camera on my friends at college, but it was a subject too close at hand. And even at this stage in my life, I was still very much ashamed of being a “Paki” and all the stereotypes that came with that name.

Mahtab Hussain, Boy in grey hoodie, 2012, from the series You Get Me?
Courtesy the artist

Campany: But somehow you wanted to become a photographic artist . . .

Hussain: The idea of becoming an artist came as an undergraduate at Goldsmiths College in London, studying for a degree in History of Art during my second year. I had chosen to study postcolonialism, and this introduced me to black artists who analyzed and responded to the cultural legacies of colonialism, racism, class, and gender. Yinka Shonibare, Chris Ofili, Carrie Mae Weems, Sonia Boyce, Lorna Simpson, and cultural theorists like Stuart Hall, Edward Said, and Frantz Fanon. They turned my world on its head, forcing me to question the absence of Asian/brown artists, a voice was missing in art history.

All this ignited a deep-rooted passion. I felt connected not only to the work which these extraordinary artists were making, but also to the historical narrative they were exploring and dissecting. In other words, I experienced the transformative possibilities of art. I started to think about my experiences as a child and what identity really meant to me, and how complex this concept was for many British Asians. I wanted to create a visual history about my identity and community, a community which had seemingly been forgotten by the art establishment. That was in 2002. It took me five years, however, before I ventured back into photography, and inevitably my first series would directly address identity politics, race, class and gender. That project became known as You Get Me?

Mahtab Hussain, Green chalk stripe suit, 2017, from the series You Get Me?
Courtesy the artist

Campany: One can say to oneself: “I’m going to directly address identity politics, race, class and gender.” But in practice what did that mean for you? How did the images come about? What were you looking for in this series? Did you know straight away how to approach it photographically?

Hussain: I wanted to make a body of work that countered the narrative that I have been fed over the last twenty years by external forces. I wanted to show the complexity of the community, their humanity, their struggle in trying to find their sense of self in a world that actively tells them that they do not belong—a world that also asks them who they are, while comparing their differences. The men in my series are from working-class backgrounds. Some even see themselves as a subclass. This is what I mean by identity politics—visually articulating how these men are defining themselves and why. Race is important here, too, as the series begins to ask the question about what the audience is seeing. Certain portraits allow the viewer to gaze upon them, while others challenge what they are looking at. Do you see them as simply men? Are they British men? Asian men? Muslim men? I guess at the beginning I was looking for all the stereotypes in my head: the boy with the dog, the man in the car, the thuggish looking chap, the gangster wannabe, the man smoking the joint. I was collecting these characters.

I had a strong idea as to how I wanted to present my work. At the time, I was working at the National Portrait Gallery and was heavily influenced, in particular, by seventeenth-century court and society paintings. It was the gaze that I was drawn to, that direct look at the audience. For me, that was power in its purest sense, knowing that someone was going to look at you, judge you, but you too were able to judge them. So, their gaze was important, and I often asked my sitters the question, “How do you want to be seen?” That is how I began to make the work. I walked the streets looking for striking individuals. It could be the way they walked, a piece of clothing that I liked. There had to be this level of attraction. All the men in the series have a level of beauty, and this was important to me, too.

Mahtab Hussain, Black hat, black glove and bling, 2012, from the series You Get Me?
Courtesy the artist

Campany: These portraits are horizontal.

Hussain: I deliberately framed all the work in a landscape format for many reasons. I wanted to get close while being able to include some of the environment. But I also wanted to make a comment on advertising campaigns, the billboards, television, and computers screens—formats that are filled with visions of male beauty, with those who belong and own such spaces—ideas around representation, or the lack of it, and the importance of seeing yourself reflected in society. The work then moves beyond the narrative of the disenfranchised youth. It becomes an enquiry into male beauty, masculinity that visually articulates how these men are defining themselves as men to each other and to a wider society. When I look back at the portraits, I wonder what masculinity would look like in their ancestral homes. So, in a sense this performance of masculinity, male peacocking even, has a strong cultural influence from British/Western/Urban culture.

Mahtab Hussain, Muscles, blue dothi, 2011, from the series You Get Me?
Courtesy the artist

Campany: I’m struck by the fine balance in the portraits between confidence and vulnerability. Between self-assertion and inner complexity. You mentioned that there had to be something outward that first attracted you to photograph each man. But you’re going beyond that, getting to that place where we feel that outward appearance can never quite carry inner complexity. Is this how you see it?

Hussain: Yes, exactly. I feel there is a very fine balance between external confidence and inner vulnerability; the outward appearance is a type of performance, acted out in public environments, on the streets—bravado at its best. The environment here is key. I firmly believe the types of portraits made in You Get Me? would be completely different in a studio setting, too constricting for the sitter to perform or magnify this outward appearance, or subjectively exude different meanings based around pride, success, uncertainty, or fear. What is interesting is that there are very few portraits made indoors, or in domestic environments, places which may have given rise to a greater show of vulnerability. In order for that to be truly articulated, it was vital to include interviews alongside the portraits. I wanted to address the challenge of navigating dual identities, whether social, religious, or ego-related, dealing with hate, violence, or stereotyping. On top of all that, these people are also having to navigate what it means to be a man, not only in their community, but also within the rapidly changing modern Western world.

Mahtab Hussain, Young boy in white shirt, 2012, from the series You Get Me?
Courtesy the artist

Campany: Yes, it is really a rich and complex combination of images and words. At what point did You Get Me? begin to take on this form?

Hussain: In order to make the work I had to engage in conversation, which was part of the process of gaining trust in order to make the portraits. I really enjoyed these exchanges. However, it was in 2010 that the idea of including these voices came to me. I say came to me, but actually I was asked by various curators, directors, and picture editors if I had interviewed the sitters. At the time, I was a little reluctant to interview the sitters because I wanted to position the work as fine art portraiture. I felt if I included their voices it would start to ghettoize and position the work as documentary. But I guess this thought is just a hangover of previous work that I have seen and did not want to replicate. I also did not want people to feel sorry for these men, as often the conversations were very dark. I realize now how important it was to include these statements: it helped inform the work but also empowered the community, by retaking control of their narrative.

Mahtab Hussain, Checked top, striped top and cap, 2010, from the series You Get Me?
Courtesy the artist

Campany: The portraits certainly become much richer when seen in the light of the various voices in the book. All portraits are inevitably ambiguous things, as the title of your book suggests. “Getting” a person through a two-dimensional image of their momentary outward appearance to a camera is always so fraught and, in a way, it seems to me this is a large part of what your project is about. But I wonder if the “me” of the title also refers to the idea that the portraits might amount to clues about the photographer who made them. That is, you, Mahtab. And if this is autobiographical, what kind of self-portrayal is it?

Hussain: Yes, it is difficult to define a person by their portraits alone. It is an impossible task. However, my intention was not to collect individual portraits, but to build a body of work that represents the community through a collective narrative. When making the portraits of these men, I never felt it was fraught as I fully immersed myself as one of them. Their words echoed the voices I had heard all around me as I was growing up. So, yes, in a way you are right that in part this project is autobiographical and the “me” sits squarely to represent this in my work. I feel in an abstract way they are all self-portraits because I am reflecting upon my community. I have felt that real art comes from within, and can then serve a bigger purpose. When I started the project, I was trying to discover my identity, where I belonged in my own community and in a wider society. In the end, I realized that it’s not something that can be arrived at easily. It is a journey that we are all on. I’m just attempting to reflect upon where we currently stand. You get me?

Mahtab Hussain, Young man asleep, 2010, from the series You Get Me?
Courtesy the artist

Campany: I get you. In many ways, the richness of the book is in the nuances. There are no specific pairings of images with words, so the reader/viewer is left to piece the puzzle together, and not all the pieces are there. It’s a community with all the richness and contradictions of any community. For example, there’s quite a range of views in the book around masculinity, sexuality, power, belonging, and integration. How much of an eye did you have to keep on the balance of those views as you brought the book together?

Hussain: I did not put too much pressure on myself when I was making the work. It was really about trying to build a color palette so that when it came to editing the book and exhibition there would be enough material to play with. Each portrait embodies all those elements or views you speak of, but the book has also been broken down subtly into small chapters to reflect specific issues. I left the work for about a year or two in order for it to settle.

At this stage Michael Mack, my publisher, saw the series, and as I was showing it and talking to him about the work, I felt very uncomfortable. You see, the series at that point included environmental details, broken sofas, graffiti tags “repping” various postcodes, dirt on the street, and deprived areas. However, I was talking about power, pride, noble sitters who should be envied for their strength and beauty, so the sequence as it existed seemed to be jarring, and made you feel sorry for the community rather than wanting to connect with them. I remember calling Michael and telling him that I wanted to remove these pieces for that very reason, and he paused for a moment and said, “I agree, you’ve made a very wise decision.” It was great to have Michael truly understand a body of work that took a very long time for people to comprehend and see exactly what I was trying to achieve.

David Campany is a writer, curator, and artist based in London. 

You Get Me? was published in 2017 by MACK.

The post You Get Me? appeared first on Aperture Foundation NY.


Flickr Friday – December Rain

Flickr headquarters is prone to the infamous NorCal winter, which means we’ve been waiting for this #DecemberRain for a long time! This week’s Flickr Friday theme is celebrating all of the #DecemberRain in San Francisco and around the world. Luckily, as seen through these photos, our FlickrFam around the world has a different story to tell! Check out the rain, snow, ice, and December feels that are captured in the magnificent photos below.

Purple rain for Flickr Friday

Remember folks, your photos don’t have to follow the theme of the week in precise detail. As long as it’s relatively similar and it’s well crafted, it’s fine by us! Frozen rain counts.


Although dreamy California was nothing like the photo above this week, we can still appreciate the beauty of the freezing cold. Notice how there are many different tracks of footsteps but only one person visible. It’s because all the other people probably froze to death … Oh, how beautiful -.-

Singing In The Rain

This guy knows how to appropriately cope with the elements, even if it looks like the rain seems to mutate into something completely different near his feet. Either way, we’re loving the creativity. There is always a very fine line while setting up a scene between overdone and effortful.

Let me in

This naturally composed candid speaks volumes as the rain seems to dilute the seriousness of what would be an immensely intimidating glare. Sir, it’s the holidays. Don’t you know?

If you think you know, show us what the holidays mean to you relative to all the #DecemberRain. Can’t get enough of this photo collection? Check out our full selection gallery for more and make sure to add your photo in the comment section of the gallery with bracket formatting  [Flickr Link]!



Edit with Exclusive Presets

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Image by timothymulcare / Edited with G4

Image by maxyello / Edited with G9

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Image by natalieallenco / Edited with L12

Image by simoneenei / Edited with L2

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Image by este24 / Edited with U3

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Neapolitan pizza as UNESCO World Heritage

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]peaking of Italy, the first thing that comes in mind is Italian food, especially pasta and pizza. In Jeju, South Korea, the UNESCO Council has decided to award Neapolitan pizza as part of the World Heritage of the world.
With a very nice tweet, UNESCO has congratulated Italy for this good news, making all the 192 million pizzas baked in a month a very special treat.

But where does pizza come from? In Capodimonte you can still eat from the bakery that first cooked the Margherita, the famous pizza with just some tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella, and a little basil on top.
Here, in this bakery, in 1889 during the summer the pizza chef Raffaele Esposito of Brandi pizzeria made different types of pizza for queen Margherita of Savoia. She had to choose between: a white pizza with lard, basil, pepper and pecorino; or with tomato, anchovies, garlic, oregano and oil; tomato, mozzarella, basil, oil and pecorino; fried calzone with ricotta and "cicoli" (a meat and lard preparation typical of Naples) just like the Eighteenth century tradition. This last type is now called "fried pizza" and can be eaten everywhere in Naples and around the world. We recommend going to Zia Esterina in Naples.

It can be easily deducted from nowadays menus that the queen preferred the now-called Margherita: tomato, mozzarella, basil, oil and pecorino. Because yes, the real Margherita has also pecorino, and this makes it so delicious when eaten in the capital of pizza, Naples.
Next year will be the "2018 Italian Food Year", as the minister of Tourism and Cultural Heritage, Dario Franceschini, announced this summer, and the pizza fair, ChePizza! took place in Milan in October, so it seems that this award came just in time.
For Italians, pizza is a serious thing. We really care about the preparation of the ingredients, looking for fresh and local tomatoes, mozzarella and other typical ingredients. We like it rich or simple, like the Marinara, which has only tomato sauce and garlic. But the base is something pizza chefs really look after. Some pizzerias make the batter rise for 24 hours, some 48 hours and some even 72 hours, making a very light and airy pizza crust.
One of Naples most famous pizzeria is Sorbillo, which has opened other restaurants in Milan and even in New York! His pizza is made with local and Italian products, sourdough starter yeast and 83 years of pizza making.

Another famous place in Naples is the Antica Pizzeria da Michele, where the batter is left rising for 24 hours and they make only two types: Margherita and Marinara. Both this place and Sorbillo are characterized by a very, and I mean very, long queue! One hour wait is the rule for both pizzerias but it’s worth the wait!

Now that you’re hungry, booking a flight for Naples or ordering a pizza are the net things you should do.

The post Neapolitan pizza as UNESCO World Heritage appeared first on Positive Magazine.


For Relaxing Time it’s Suntory Time

Facebook Live Edit

Below is an embedded video of a live show I did on Facebook recently using Aurora HDR 2018. Enjoy! 🙂

Mac App of the Year!

Apple just named Aurora as Mac App of the Year! Join me for a live demo as I edit a single RAW photo and show off some of the new features of Aurora HDR 2018! Where are you watching from? Let us know in the comments… and let me know if you have any questions in the comments too! Grab Aurora now at

Posted by Trey Ratcliff on Sunday, December 10, 2017

Getting a place in Japan

My son is close to graduating high school, and he has a real interest in going to Tokyo to teach English. I think this sounds like a really fun first job, so I’ve been looking into what it takes to move there and make it happen. I have a few friends that have moved there and done the same sort of thing. We’ll probably make another exploratory trip soon to see everything that is involved!

Daily Photo – For Relaxing Time it’s Suntory Time

This was taken in the amazing Yamazaki Suntory Distillery just outside of Osaka. We were invited there for a tasting and a tour. It’s my second time here, and this time they let me use a tripod! Little things like this get me excited because it’s really tough to get a photo like this with a handheld shot. It looks bright in here, but it’s actually quite dark.

For Relaxing Time it’s Suntory Time

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-11-09 06:46:52
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time15
  • Aperture10
  • ISO125
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias


Macro redux: Getting lost in the insect world

When I want an escape from the world, I simply pick up my macro gear and indulge in some insect macro photography. I find the process to be both physically and mentally challenging and lose my myself quite easily in the tiny world of bugs. The little creatures often hide in the most unexpected places that require me to flex and stretch my body in impossible ways while holding the camera and the flash steady. The mind must be entirely focused on getting the shot and doing it quickly because insects do not stay still for very long. All kinds of calculations and considerations come to play, as you juggle between lighting, getting closer for better magnification, ensuring critically sharp focus and not to forget, composition! There is just so much the mind and body needs to coordinate and execute to achieve one simple insect macro shot. In that brief moment, I find myself entering a different universe where only getting the shot matters to me.

For today’s set of images, I hiked the trails of the Bukit Gasing Forest Park to find the critters. Half of the fun was in the hunt for the bugs. All the images shown in this article were shot with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 Macro lens. I used the FL-50R flash off camera. If you have questions about my technique, I’ve shared those in detail in a previous article here.

The Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 Macro Lens is available from B&H
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Is available from B&H


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Images and content copyright Robin Wong 2017 onwards. All rights reserved


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