The Battle of Fort George – 2017

The Battle of Fort George – 2017

Many people have asked me how I first got into the reenacting hobby; my answer is a strange one for some. I got into the hobby through photography. It was back in 2008 when the Fort York Guard requested that I come along to the annual Siege of Fort Erie event to grab some photos. I walked away with some great shots, and my presence soon migrated to the 7th Battalion, 60th Regiment of Foot, a brand new reenacting unit at that point. I watched as these dedicated individuals portrayed what the British military was like during the Anglo-American War of 1812 and learned a lot more about the conflict than I had in Grade 8 history. In 2011, I made a decision, having saved up enough money I was going to join the hobby, and trade my camera in for a musket (not literally of course).

A Spring in his Step
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – Ilford Microphen (stock) 6:00 @ 20C

Taking the Polish
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – Ilford Microphen (stock) 6:00 @ 20C

Getting the Polish On
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – Ilford Microphen (stock) 6:00 @ 20C

I would still bring a camera with to some events, capturing more behind-the-scenes actions of camp life as a reenactor and the quirks of my unit (7/60th of course). Occasionally, I would still visit an event as a photographer, or even take a day off if I had some injury or lack of a unit to march with, which has become less an issue today. But I usually left the big guns at home because often I don’t have the room to lug around any more than a small collection of compact cameras and no long telephotos. This year’s Fort George Event had a bit of a twist; we were staying in the blockhouse on the site, so I had a secure spot for my camera gear and not having to bring all the camping gear I had room in my car.

Stalking the Line
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+50) 10:00 @ 20C

You Call that Polished?
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+50) 10:00 @ 20C

Drum Major
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+50) 10:00 @ 20C

Saturday I stuck to the Hasselblad 500c as I was shooting for the July Summer Film Party contest and I joined the 10th Royal Veteran Battalion for both the change of command ceremony and the two battles. All of them went off wonderfully with the evening tactical being a favourite of mine. On Sunday I was ready to shoot differently, with a proper event kit, that is my Nikon F5 and 70-200mm telephoto lens and several rolls of film.

The Look
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Kodak Plus-X @ ASA-125 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:00 @ 20C

Sentry Duty
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Kodak Plus-X @ ASA-125 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:00 @ 20C

Oh Hai
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Kodak Plus-X @ ASA-125 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:00 @ 20C

Having studied the work of several photographers who frequent events, namely Michael Hurley, and taking the critique from my lovely wife to heart I left the wide and normal lenses at home and packed the only the 70-200mm and 105mm lenses in order to photograph the people as well as the battle itself. And the best part is that I woke up Sunday in the right mood for some people photography. Locking my lens into f/4, I went to work around camp. The joys of being known as both a reenactor and a photographer are that I can wander about at will.

Come on Lads
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Agfaphoto Vista Plus @ ASA-400 – Processing By: Burlington Camera

Let's Show 'em what we're made of
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Agfaphoto Vista Plus @ ASA-400 – Processing By: Burlington Camera

One Final Volley
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Agfaphoto Vista Plus @ ASA-400 – Processing By: Burlington Camera

When it came time to do battle I switched out for a colour film stock, thanks to my friend James. I had never shot Agfaphoto Vista Plus a fast colour negative film but it sure felt and behaves like Fuji Superia 400, even down to the negative marks on the edges. And of course switching into a shutter priority mode, something I had not done before when shooting a battle sequence. Now the trick with shooting a reenactment is burst shooting, but having only a single roll of 36-Exposures, I had to trust my gut and ability to shut off the brain and listen for the commands. Make ready, bring the camera up and compose the image, present, half-press the shutter release to get focus and exposure, FIRE, fire off a single shot. A little different than with a musket, but sometimes you need to adapt to a situation. A different way of doing things like the two digital shooters flanking me. If you want to see the full set head over to my Flickr set.

Summer Film Party – Part II (July)

Summer Film Party – Part II (July)

One of the best parts of being a historical reenactor is that you often get a chance to visit and stay in some of Canada’s historic sites, and many find their home in some of the beautiful towns in the province. And while it can be hit and miss along the Niagara River, Fort George in the picturesque Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario is certainly one such site. Having an event there during the July edition of the Summer Film Party offered me a chance to shoot in the historic walls of Fort George, a site deep in military history.

Heavy Motar

The Small Block House

Both the fort and the town have a long history in Ontario. The town has its beginnings in 1781 as Butlersburg, named for the men of a loyalist irregular unit, Butler’s Rangers from the American War of Independence. And the Butler family would continue to live in the town well into the 19th-Century, their farm seeing a small action during the Anglo-American War of 1812. It would soon take on the name West Niagara. When General John Graves Simcoe assumed the role of Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, he established West Niagara as the capital of the new colony in 1792, renaming the settlement to Newark. The small town would soon find itself home to the headquarters of the British Army of the Center at Fort George. The Upper Canada Parliament would meet at Newark until 1796 when Simcoe moved the capital to York (now Toronto, Ontario).

A Spring in his Step

Brock's First Resting Place

While my days at the fort filled with musketry, cleaning, drill, and lazing about as a good British soldier would do (when ordered to of course). It left the mornings to take out the Hasselblad and shoot, the soft morning light providing fantastic light to one of the largest 1812-era forts in Ontario. From the historic buildings (mostly rebuilt in the 1930s) to the original powder magazine that survived these 200 years, and of course, the flurry of morning activity as the reenactors cleaned up their brass and muskets from the night before, getting things ready for the pomp and battle for the day to come.

Getting the Polish On

Taking the Polish

The small town continued to grow and was the preferred town for Major General Isaac Brock during his time as the commander of the British Regular forces during the period leading up to the Anglo-American War of 1812 until his death in October 1812. Brock would even be buried at Fort George before his reinterment at Brock’s Monument on Queenston Heights. The town and fort would see capture in May 1813, and the American occupation lasted until December of that year and saw the destruction of the fort and the town. This would lead to the retaliatory capture of Fort Niagara and the destruction of many small villages and Buffalo before the new year arrived. When the town rebuilt, they shifted the location ever so slightly to ensure it was out of range of the American guns across the river.

1st (Royal Scots) Lights

Bass Drummer's Shako

The name, Niagara-On-The-Lake would be formally adopted in 1880, and would slowly become known as a popular tourist destination both for wine and theater aficionados. The surrounding wine country offers some familiar Ontario wineries and now has an active craft beer brewing industry. And the town has many theaters to perform plays during the Shaw Festival. If you ever find yourself in the town, be sure to visit the Angel Inn, a fantastic pub, a walking tour of downtown and be sure to visit both Fort George and Fort Mississauga on opposite ends of the downtown. That was July, but there’s still one more month to get on the Summer Film Party Bus! It’s going to take my lovely wife and I out to the National Capital area and the Ottawa River Valley and the small town of Almonte, Ontario and some of my favourite motion picture stocks, Eastman 5363!

All Photos Taken at Fort George National Historic Site
Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50
Ilford Microphen (1+1) 6:00 @ 20C

#photochat – 20 July 2017 – Photo Sharing

#photochat – 20 July 2017 – Photo Sharing

Established in 2013 by MainStreetHost and taken on by Alex Luyckx Photography in 2015, #photochat is a community of photography professionals and enthusiasts who congregate to talk shop and discuss anything and everything photography. To participate in our weekly chat (every Thursday at 1:00pm ET) search the #photochat hashtag to see the conversation, or find me at @AlexLuyckxPhoto on Twitter for more info. Be sure to include the hashtag in your tweets to answer the questions and talk with the other participants.

If there’s a topic you’d like to see covered in #photochat, hop onto Facebook, Twitter, or good old fashioned Email and let me know!

The Topic for Thursday 20 July 2017 is about Photo sharing!

Question 1 – What sites do you regularly share your photography on?
Question 2 – Do you pay for any of these services?
Question 3 – Why do (or don’t) you share your photos publicly?
Question 4 – Do you share your work off the Internet?
Question 5 – Share links to sites where you share your photography!

Past topics have included: Photography Books, Creativity in Photography, Colour Photography, Black & White (2017), Critiques, Lenses, Blogging, Regrets, What’s in Your Bag (2017), Promotion, Random Questions, Photo Projects, Shooting Film, Photographic Buzz Words, Photographic Wins, Photographic Fails, Still Life, Portrait Photography, Automotive Photography (2017), Traveling With Gear, Photographic Quirks, Why is Photography Important (2017), Ethics (2017), Difficult Situations, Phone Photography, Websites, Self-Improvement (2017), Personal Branding, Photographic Gifts, Brand Loyalties (2016), Location Scouting, Food Photography, The Good, The Bad, Photographic Slumps, Wedding Photography, Post-Processing, Digital Photography, Film Photography, Keeping It Simple, Photographic Fads, Regular Maintenance, Personal Vision, Travel, Snapshots, Extreme Weather, Sports Photography, Pet Peeves, Out of the Box, Portrait Photography, Infrared Photography, Good Practices, Landscape Photography, Photography as a Skill, Photography as an Art, Getting Noticed, Post-Processing, Film Processing, Instant Photography, Tripods, Pet Photography, Budget Photography, Nude Photography, Workflow, Vintage Gear, The 5 W’s, Going Pro, Importance of Photography, Filters, Photography & the Law, Editing Your Work, Travelling with Gear, Street Photography, Get Up and Go (Motivation), Photographic Goals (2016), Low-Light Photography, Photographic Dreams, Cold Weather, Naturally Artificial, LoFi Love, Product Photography, Chasing Light, Automotive Photography, Finding Inspiration, All About You, Landscapes, Shooting for Colour, Digital Video, Back to School Parts I and II, Self-Publishing, Keeping Calm, Photography & Zen, Camera Bags, Dealing with People, Printing Your Work, Adventure Photography, Camera Clubs, Fireworks Photography, Aircraft Photography, Architectural Photography, Photo meetups, Getting Rid of GAS, Keeping it Organized, Favourite Things, Photo Competitions, Biggest Challenges, Compact System Cameras, film vs. digital, landscape photography, seasonal photography, the basics of composition, what’s in your camera bag?, night photography, portrait photography, forced perspective photography, black and white photography, golden hour photography, macro photography, how photography has changed your life, to photoshop or not, motion photography, photojournalism, the best gifts for photographers in 2014, extreme weather photography, photographic aspirations, street photography, “why are you a photographer?”, improvisational lighting tactics, post-processing rituals, photographic blunders, getting paid, photographic triumphs, shooting hardship, photographic anxieties, quick thinking, making a difference, favorites, appropriation, brand loyalties, small photography, BIG photography, focus, photography in advertising, battle scars, sharing your photography, creative evolution, the inanimate subject, photo vs. video, emerging tech, teaching the craft, getting the shot, traveling with your camera, sweet gear deals, mobile lighting solutions, quelling frustrations, finding work, sensitive subjects, DIY projects, defamation, making and maintaining a website, in defense of photography, capturing action, post-processing, photo lingo, cold weather shooting, food photography, death in photography, film photography, famous photos, critiques, videography, user generated content, composition, iPhoneography, standing up for yourself, blogging, workflow, the first time, candid portraiture, copyright and licensing, ethics, gear investments, inspiration, long shots, making it in the photo business, networking, night photography, perks of being a photographer, photographer stressors, photography philosophy, photography trends, picking your priorities, pricing, promoting yourself and your work, protecting your assets, self-improvement, odd photography, and travel.

CCR Review 67 – Canon EOS A2

CCR Review 67 – Canon EOS A2

When Canon started up their autofocus EOS system in the 1980s, they immediately made obsolete plenty of classic manual focus FD Mount cameras. And in some situations, they began to release modern EOS versions of some of these. For example, the Canon F-1 became the EOS-1. And when the EOS A2 came out, there was no doubt that this was the modern version of the prosumer or advanced amateur Canon A-1. And while the A2 is a solid camera, an excellent way to get into 35mm film photography for a Canon Digital Shooter (Providing you have a line of EF Mount Lenses), the A2 is another ‘k-car’ camera. It does the job, but it’s just boring. It takes great photos, but it does nothing else of note. If you’re curious, the A2 is also known as the EOS 5 outside of the North American market (sort of). Special thanks to Mike Bitaxi for loaning this camera out for review.

CCR Review 67 - Canon EOS A2

The Dirt

  • Make: Canon
  • Model: EOS A2
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 135 (35mm), 24x36mm
  • Lens: Interchangeable, Canon EF Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1992-1998

CCR Review 67 - Canon EOS A2

CCR Review 67 - Canon EOS A2

The Good
Just because a camera is boring, doesn’t mean it’s a bad camera. The Maxxum 5000 is both boring and bad, but the EOS A2 is boring, but a solid machine that produces decent cameras. Despite looking like a Minolta, the A2 is solid in hand, excellent ergonomics in landscape orientation (more on that later), with all the controls well laid out and easy to operate even for a Nikon shooter. The camera also solves my biggest issue with Canon EOS cameras, and that is that the camera has two command dials, well one dial and one thumb wheel but it addresses the issue with manual exposure settings you now have two distinct controls for aperture and shutter. The camera operates how you would expect it to and produces fantastic images, with a great meter, and a solid line of EF lenses to back it up. And as an accessible camera the A2 shines, if you shoot a Canon digital EOS camera and have EF lenses you can grab an A2 and run with it, and it won’t let you down. It also makes for a great second fiddle to your pro body.

CCR Review 67 - Canon EOS A2

CCR Review 67 - Canon EOS A2

The Bad
Like many SLRs of the 1990s, the A2 suffers two of the biggest problems that every camera of that era does. The first being the biggest, that is the power source. The EOS A2 requires a 2CR5 6V battery to operate, and you have little else to power it. The battery is expensive and hard to find outside of specialty stores or online. And while it does last, it doesn’t make it any better. Even adding a vertical grip on the camera doesn’t help. Your only option is to get a belt mounted battery pack that takes D-Cell batteries, which is little consolation. The second issue is that the body coating gets sticky over time. While not a deal breaker, it’s more a minor annoyance especially on hot summer days your hands just feel gross after using the camera. And then there’s a vertical grip; the grip does little more than adding a vertical shutter release, but you know the camera itself could have improved its portrait orientation ergonomics, there’s plenty of room to add a vertical shutter release. And my final beef with this camera is the on/off switch. The switch is not as obvious as you might expect on first seeing the camera. There’s a switch on the back of the camera, but that controls the thumbwheel. The power is on the camera mode dial, off is the Lock position, any other spot will power on the camera.

CCR Review 67 - Canon EOS A2

CCR Review 67 - Canon EOS A2

The Lowdown
If you’re looking for something a little better than a basic SLR than the EOS A2 is a solid choice. It makes for an accessible camera for those who want something with a bit more functionality or only need a backup EF mount body. It will deliver but don’t expect anything more out of the camera. Compared to other cameras of this mid-range, semi-pro line, the A2 is a ho-hum choice. But at least compared to another K-Car camera, the Maxxum 5000, the A2 shines. I will mention the difference between the EOS A2 and the EOS 5, while essentially the same camera, the A2 lacks a solid meter readout in the viewfinder, relying on a simple +/- display while the EOS 5 has a full numbered over/under stops. This difference is because Canon didn’t pay for a patent of such a meter in North America, while that wasn’t an issue in Japan and Europe. Personally having this function would make the A2 just a touch better in my mind. At least the EF Mount lenses compensate for any dull operation of the camera.

All Photos Taken At Crawford Lake Conservation Area in Milton, Ontario, Canada
Canon EOS A2 – Canon Zoom Lens EF 28-105mm 1:3.5-4.5 – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:45 @ 20C

Exploring the Kitchen – Poffertjes

Exploring the Kitchen – Poffertjes

As many may have guessed based on my last night my heritage is Dutch, in fact, my mother was born in a small town on the cost of the North Sea. So it’s only fair that I add a bit of international flavor to my cooking. The ironic part is that I tend to lean more towards Asian style dishes, but not this time around. I give you Poffertjes, or as the French cafe my wife and I went to in New York City on our Honeymoon called them…Mini Dutch Pancakes.

Ingrediants

  • 350mL (1.5 cups) – Luke Warm Milk
  • 250g (1 heaping cup) – All Purpose Flour
  • 2tbs – Sugar
  • 7g – Dry Active Yeast
  • A Pinch of Salt
  • 1 Egg

Before continuing you will need to invest in a Poffertjes Pan, they’re easy to find at a local Dutch Store, I picked up mine at the store in Acton, Ontario (71 Mill St E, Acton, ON). There are also ones in Burlington and Guelph. Or you can always pick one up on Amazon.

Process
Heat up the milk until lukewarm; I used a microwave to do this. Set the power level to 70% and time for 2.5 minutes, stop and stir every 30 seconds or so. Once warmed, whisk in the yeast and the sugar and let stand for five minutes.

Using a stand mixer bowl, add the flour and salt. Then using your mixer’s whisk attachment (or do this by hand), whisk in the egg along with the yeast and milk mixture. Continue to whisk until you have a smooth batter. If it’s too runny, just add a touch of flour until it thickens up a bit. Then let it rest for an hour under a damp cloth to allow it to rise. If you’re making this for breakfast, now is a good time to go and cuddle with your SO.

Once the batter has doubled in size, you can heat up your poffertjes pan on the stove to medium heat. Brush the pan with butter (repeat this each batch). Pour the batter into a Ziploc bag, clip a corner and pour a loonie size amount of batter into each indent in the pan. Let them cook for about a minute, then flip. This can be tricky, I found using a fork and spoon a good method to get them over.

Once you’ve done the whole batch top with butter and powdered sugar or your favourite maple syrup. These aren’t as sweet as regular North American pancakes on their own, but still rather tasty. When I do this again I’ll probably speed up the process by using pancake batter.

#photochat – 13 July 2017 – Photography Books

#photochat – 13 July 2017 – Photography Books

Established in 2013 by MainStreetHost and taken on by Alex Luyckx Photography in 2015, #photochat is a community of photography professionals and enthusiasts who congregate to talk shop and discuss anything and everything photography. To participate in our weekly chat (every Thursday at 1:00pm ET) search the #photochat hashtag to see the conversation, or find me at @AlexLuyckxPhoto on Twitter for more info. Be sure to include the hashtag in your tweets to answer the questions and talk with the other participants.

If there’s a topic you’d like to see covered in #photochat, hop onto Facebook, Twitter, or good old fashioned Email and let me know!

The Topic for Thursday 13 July 2017 is about Photography Books!

Question 1 – Do you have a collection of photography books?
Question 2 – Is your collection more books about photographs, or books on photographic techniques?
Question 3 – What do you use these books for?
Question 4a – Have you ever produced a photobook of your own?
Question 4b – How did you produce said book?
Question 5 – Share your favourite book in your collection!

Past topics have included: Creativity in Photography, Colour Photography, Black & White (2017), Critiques, Lenses, Blogging, Regrets, What’s in Your Bag (2017), Promotion, Random Questions, Photo Projects, Shooting Film, Photographic Buzz Words, Photographic Wins, Photographic Fails, Still Life, Portrait Photography, Automotive Photography (2017), Traveling With Gear, Photographic Quirks, Why is Photography Important (2017), Ethics (2017), Difficult Situations, Phone Photography, Websites, Self-Improvement (2017), Personal Branding, Photographic Gifts, Brand Loyalties (2016), Location Scouting, Food Photography, The Good, The Bad, Photographic Slumps, Wedding Photography, Post-Processing, Digital Photography, Film Photography, Keeping It Simple, Photographic Fads, Regular Maintenance, Personal Vision, Travel, Snapshots, Extreme Weather, Sports Photography, Pet Peeves, Out of the Box, Portrait Photography, Infrared Photography, Good Practices, Landscape Photography, Photography as a Skill, Photography as an Art, Getting Noticed, Post-Processing, Film Processing, Instant Photography, Tripods, Pet Photography, Budget Photography, Nude Photography, Workflow, Vintage Gear, The 5 W’s, Going Pro, Importance of Photography, Filters, Photography & the Law, Editing Your Work, Travelling with Gear, Street Photography, Get Up and Go (Motivation), Photographic Goals (2016), Low-Light Photography, Photographic Dreams, Cold Weather, Naturally Artificial, LoFi Love, Product Photography, Chasing Light, Automotive Photography, Finding Inspiration, All About You, Landscapes, Shooting for Colour, Digital Video, Back to School Parts I and II, Self-Publishing, Keeping Calm, Photography & Zen, Camera Bags, Dealing with People, Printing Your Work, Adventure Photography, Camera Clubs, Fireworks Photography, Aircraft Photography, Architectural Photography, Photo meetups, Getting Rid of GAS, Keeping it Organized, Favourite Things, Photo Competitions, Biggest Challenges, Compact System Cameras, film vs. digital, landscape photography, seasonal photography, the basics of composition, what’s in your camera bag?, night photography, portrait photography, forced perspective photography, black and white photography, golden hour photography, macro photography, how photography has changed your life, to photoshop or not, motion photography, photojournalism, the best gifts for photographers in 2014, extreme weather photography, photographic aspirations, street photography, “why are you a photographer?”, improvisational lighting tactics, post-processing rituals, photographic blunders, getting paid, photographic triumphs, shooting hardship, photographic anxieties, quick thinking, making a difference, favorites, appropriation, brand loyalties, small photography, BIG photography, focus, photography in advertising, battle scars, sharing your photography, creative evolution, the inanimate subject, photo vs. video, emerging tech, teaching the craft, getting the shot, traveling with your camera, sweet gear deals, mobile lighting solutions, quelling frustrations, finding work, sensitive subjects, DIY projects, defamation, making and maintaining a website, in defense of photography, capturing action, post-processing, photo lingo, cold weather shooting, food photography, death in photography, film photography, famous photos, critiques, videography, user generated content, composition, iPhoneography, standing up for yourself, blogging, workflow, the first time, candid portraiture, copyright and licensing, ethics, gear investments, inspiration, long shots, making it in the photo business, networking, night photography, perks of being a photographer, photographer stressors, photography philosophy, photography trends, picking your priorities, pricing, promoting yourself and your work, protecting your assets, self-improvement, odd photography, and travel.

Brigade Napoleon – A Soldier’s View

Brigade Napoleon – A Soldier’s View

They came on in the same old way, and we defeated them in the same old way.
– Field Marshal Sir Arthur Wellesley – June 1815

Being primarily a War of 1812 reenactor the folks I usually face across the field are the American forces, however, in 2015 I had a chance to visit Europe to join with fellow reenactors around the world to face off against the French at the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. It seemed some of the French were coming to visit us in Canada at Old Fort Erie.

Dawn's Fort

Sneaking Around

I’ll admit it was strange seeing the French tri-colour flying over Old Fort Erie, now in the role of a French captured Spanish fort somewhere on the peninsula. While marching in the army doesn’t offer me much chance to go out and take pictures, like the British army of old, there was still plenty of time to go out and get in some shooting. There were some familiar uniforms and even some familiar faces in different uniforms. While the British line was made up mostly of common 1812 units, we did have an excellent showing of Highlander units that don’t often come out to play.

British Line, French Occupied

Discussions with the Enemy

But unlike the usual scenario that we play out at Fort Erie this time the British are allowed to win and recapture the fort from the French occupiers. It made for a different experience, fighting through the narrow siege works, standing off between the redoubts and inner fort. And finally charging in with a war cry. Then promptly setting my shako on fire with my musket. Overall a fine event, it just would be nice if the other side played along in animating the fort between the action, at least make an effort. But that is something I have little control over.

The Union

On a more technical aspect, I tried out Dilution D of HC-110 for this roll of film. You’re probably thinking don’t you mean Dilution B? I had never seen Dilution D before either and had shot this roll of Tri-X at ASA-250, I was scrolling through the Massive Dev Chart looking for an option. I’ve always been a big fan of HC-110 and Tri-X so I figured this would be no different. Well it was, I found the grain a lot rougher than I expected and a bit muddy. So this clearly isn’t a good choice, which is probably why no one has heard of Dilution D.

All Photos Take at Olde Fort Erie, Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada
Contax IIIa – Zeiss Opton Sonnar 1:1,5 f=50mm – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-250
Kodak HC-110 Dil. D 9:00 @ 22C

#photochat – 6-July-2017 – Creativity in Photography

#photochat – 6-July-2017 – Creativity in Photography

Established in 2013 by MainStreetHost and taken on by Alex Luyckx Photography in 2015, #photochat is a community of photography professionals and enthusiasts who congregate to talk shop and discuss anything and everything photography. To participate in our weekly chat (every Thursday at 1:00pm ET) search the #photochat hashtag to see the conversation, or find me at @AlexLuyckxPhoto on Twitter for more info. Be sure to include the hashtag in your tweets to answer the questions and talk with the other participants.

If there’s a topic you’d like to see covered in #photochat, hop onto Facebook, Twitter, or good old fashioned Email and let me know!

The Topic for Thursday 6 July 2017 is about Creativity in Photography!

Question 1 – Have you ever used any sort of ‘trick’ lenses to get a different look? (Lens Baby, Lomography, Tilt/Shift ect).
Question 2 – Do you use any weird angles in your composition to achieve a unique look?
Question 3 – Have you modified your lenses to achieve a different look? (Soft image with vasaline on the lens)
Question 4 – Do you use any tricks in Editing/Post to get a more creative image?
Question 5 – Share some of your more creative shots!

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Black Creek – Party like it’s 1867!

Black Creek – Party like it’s 1867!

Without a doubt, there’s plenty to do in Toronto. And while many prefer to stay in the downtown core, there’s a particular draw to see what the city is like on the outskirts. One such location is right on city’s north line with Vaughn, and that’s Black Creek Pioneer Village. Black Creek is a living history museum, and a ‘false’ village in the sense that it is an amalgamation of many historical buildings from around Ontario gathered into one spot and dressed to look like a small settlement of the 1860s. If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you may remember seeing this place as the backdrop for my review on the Mamiya Universal. After shooting at the village, I had wanted to return with a bigger camera. So having a week off with my wife, we decided to head over to the village for a morning.

BCPV - Broom maker Shop

The Province of Ontario, formerly known as Upper Canada before the Canadian Confederation of 1867 has a rich and long history. And I’m thankful that we have several museums around the province that make a point to preserve and teach about this history. I’ve been lucky to visit three such locations, Black Creek Pioneer Village, Westfield Heritage Village, and Upper Canada Village. A Fourth, the Lost Villages Museum remains on my hit list. But this post is about Black Creek Pioneer Village.

BCPV - Laskay Emporium

The village, formerly the property of Daniel Strong; you can visit his barn and other farm buildings. His original log cabin and larger home where he and his wife, Elizabeth, raised their eight children. The Strong Family continued to work the land well into the 20th-Century with the family farm forming the core of the museum in 1960. Over the next decade, the museum increased their inventory of historic buildings from around the Greater Toronto Area.

BCPV - Roblin's Mill

These are the types of museums that make history fun because they make it come alive. Heather and I had a chance to listen in on how one employee came up with her historic impression. Based on an actual person, she researched through the massive archives of historical data in the Provincial and City Archives to build her character. As a reenactor myself, I find this dedication amazing. She brought this one woman back to life here in the 21st-Century. Plus the commitment to ensure that many of these buildings are saved from demolition by the slow march of progress ensuring that our pioneer history isn’t lost.

BCPV - Half Way House

And of course, the highlight of the village is the historic brewery located in the basement of the Half Way House, a pre-confederation inn, and tavern from Scarborough. Where dedicated brew masters continue to use traditional techniques to create some of unique beers I’ve ever tasted. And yes, I brought a growler of their fantastic India Pale Ale back home with me.

All Photos Taken At: Black Creek Pioneer Village, Toronto, Ontario
Pacemaker Crown Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 1:4,7/135 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-100
Pryocat-HD (1+1+100) 16:00 @ 20C

CCR Review 66 – Voigtländer Bessa R2M

CCR Review 66 – Voigtländer Bessa R2M

As someone who learned photography on a rangefinder, I have a soft spot for the style of camera. And as a student of history, being able to shoot on a camera made by the oldest photography companies in the world (sort of) is even better. Taking both these facts, the Bessa R2M is a joy of a camera. Joy in the sense that it is a very accessible camera, pretty much if you can shoot any film camera you can use this one, and without the gnashing of teeth that might come with a German rangefinder camera. Now as you may (or may not) know that Voigtlanders aren’t Voigtlanders anymore, the camera bodies are produced by Cosina. While some might take this as a slight, these are still fantastic cameras that live up to the historical name that they bear. Special thanks to John Meadows for loaning out his baby for this review.

CCR Review 66 - Voigtlander Bessa R2M

The Dirt

  • Make: Cosina
  • Model: Voigtländer Bessa R2M
  • Type: Rangefinder
  • Format: 135 (35mm), 24x36mm
  • Lens: Interchangeable, Leica M-Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 2006+

CCR Review 66 - Voigtlander Bessa R2M

CCR Review 66 - Voigtlander Bessa R2M

The Good
The R2M begs to be used, I mean I’ve shot a roll of film through it, it almost calls out for me to take it out for one more round. It fits well in hand, easy to load with standard open back film loading, a quick short film advance allows for reasonably fast shooting. And it isn’t too heavy so great as a carry around, travel, or photo walk camera. While it does have a meter, you have to set the exposure yourself. There is the R2A which has aperture priority auto-exposure. But if you’ve shot with a Nikon FM2, you’ll be able to navigate the R2M just fine. The meter display is in the viewfinder and gives good feedback with 2, 1, and 0.5 stops over and under exposed plus a circle to indicate a correct exposure and the meter is dead on accurate. The viewfinder is bright, and the focus assist square is clear, I never missed focus on any of my shots, even close up. The biggest challenge with rangefinders is composition because the viewfinder is offset from the lens. The R2M has built in composition guides to reduce parallax errors and help with image framing as you can adjust these lines based on the lens you have mounted. A selector switch allows for 35, 50, 75, and 90 lenses with the 35 and 90 focal lengths grouped, but it is easy to tell them apart. The thing that makes the camera shine is the fact that it has a Leica M-Mount. They produced two other in Bessa line that has a Contax RF mount (Like my Contax IIIa) and a Nikon S-Mount. But by including the M-Mount, they open up the camera to a wide range of lenses from several top optical manufacturers.

CCR Review 66 - Voigtlander Bessa R2M

CCR Review 66 - Voigtlander Bessa R2M

The Bad
If you’ve been reading my reviews for a while now, you’ll know that I can have a hard time finding fault in cameras, but I have yet to find a camera that is perfect. And while the R2M comes close there are a few things that I can’t ignore. While the viewfinder is excellent, I do take issue with a couple of things. First is the meter display, I’m not sure if it has to do with my glasses, or the environment I was in, but the metering display seemed to get lost in the frame on occasion, and I had to do some unusual tilting of my head to find it again. The second is the lack of a diopter, so if the ‘lost’ meter is because of my glasses I have no built-in way to adjust the viewfinder lens so that I can use it without my glasses. And finally there is the price, now this isn’t a Leica, so it doesn’t carry the same price tag. And you can pick up a camera and Voigtländer branded lens for around 1,500$ new. However, when you start to expand your lenses even under the Voigtländer brand, you’ll start to see prices climb. And if you want to go to other brands like Leica or Carl Zeiss you’ll start to feel the burn in your wallet. Of course, you can get some inexpensive options from Lomography if you’re into that. There is the used market as well, but even with those, M-Mount lenses hold their value.

CCR Review 66 - Voigtlander Bessa R2M

CCR Review 66 - Voigtlander Bessa R2M

The Lowdown
I’m glad I got a chance to try this camera out. I looked at getting one a while back now, and I’m somewhat glad I didn’t. The R2M and the other models in the line are dangerous cameras to own because they will become a bit of a money pit, and I’m talking about expanding your lens collection. It is, however, a great camera if you stick with one or two lenses that you can find on the used market. And the sad part is that they are rare finds on the used market. They are a great option to get a body only if you’ve become disillusioned with your Leica M series cameras but want to keep your lenses, or as a backup to a Leica body and you don’t want to drop the cash for a second. And while I may not plan on buying one, these cameras are worth a second look if you have a hankering for a Leica.

All Photos Taken In Unionville, Ontario, Canada
Voigtländer Bessa R2M – Voigtländer Heliar Classic 50mm f2 – ORWO UN54+ @ ASA-100
Kodak HC-110 Dil. H 7:30 @ 20C