Pregled: letnik 36 - fotografija

Pregled: letnik 36 - fotografija


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Walker Evans in Henri Cartier-Bresson sta pripadala isti generaciji in sta imela nenasitno intelektualno radovednost. Njihova dela so bila skupaj razstavljena leta 1935 v galeriji Julien Levy v New Yorku in delili so obdobje, ko so delali v Ameriki, ko je Cartier-Bresson med letoma 1946 in 1947 osemnajst mesecev pripravljal svojo predstavo v Muzeju sodobne umetnosti. Ta knjiga vleče vzporednico med delom o Ameriki, ki sta ga napisala Evans in Cartier-Bresson v obdobju od 1930 do 1947. Kot je trdil John Szarkowski, je Evans v svojem delu opredelil bistvo dokumentarne estetike. Po drugi strani pa je Cartier-Bresson začel na novo in svoje delo pustil pri premikajočih se posnetkih ter v celoti sprejel kariero fotografa za fotografije. Oba pa sta k svojem delu pristopila kot k obliki družbene kritike, prežeti s sklicevanjem na literaturo in slikarstvo. Photograph America ponuja priložnost za soočanje in primerjavo videnj obeh temeljnih fotografskih mojstrov hkrati.


Zgodovina fotografije

The zgodovina fotografije se je začelo v daljni antiki z odkritjem dveh kritičnih načel: projekcijo slike obscura in opazovanjem, da se nekatere snovi vidno spremenijo zaradi izpostavljenosti svetlobi. Nobenih artefaktov ali opisov, ki bi kazali na kakršen koli poskus zajemanja slik z materiali, občutljivimi na svetlobo, pred 18. stoletjem.

Okrog leta 1717 je Johann Heinrich Schulze na steklenico svetlobno občutljive gnojevke zajel izrezane črke, a očitno ni pomislil, da bi bili rezultati trajni. Okoli leta 1800 je Thomas Wedgwood naredil prvi zanesljivo dokumentiran, čeprav neuspešen poskus zajemanja posnetkov s kamere v trajni obliki. Njegovi poskusi so sicer ustvarili podrobne fotografije, vendar Wedgwood in njegov sodelavec Humphry Davy nista našla načina, da bi te slike popravila.

Sredi 1820-ih je Nicéphore Niépce najprej uspelo popraviti sliko, ki je bila posneta s fotoaparatom, vendar so bile potrebne vsaj osem ur ali celo večdnevna osvetlitev v fotoaparatu, prvi rezultati pa zelo surovi. Niépčev sodelavec Louis Daguerre je nadaljeval z razvojem procesa dagerotipije, prvega javno objavljenega in komercialno uspešnega fotografskega procesa. Dagerotip je v fotoaparatu zahteval le nekaj minut osvetlitve in dal jasne, natančno podrobne rezultate. Podrobnosti so bile svetu predstavljene leta 1839, ki je splošno sprejet kot rojstno leto praktične fotografije. [2] [3] Postopek daguerreotipa na osnovi kovine je kmalu imel nekaj konkurence s papirnatimi negativnimi procesi s kalotipijo in tiskanjem soli, ki jih je izumil William Henry Fox Talbot in ki so jih pokazali leta 1839 kmalu po tem, ko so novice o dagerotipiji prišle do Talbota. Kasnejše inovacije so olajšale in vsestransko naredile fotografijo. Novi materiali so skrajšali potreben čas osvetlitve fotoaparata z minut na sekunde in sčasoma so bili na manjši del sekunde novi fotografski mediji bolj ekonomični, občutljivi ali priročni. Kolodijski proces s steklenimi fotografskimi ploščami je od leta 1850 združil visoko kakovost, znano iz daguerreotipa, s številnimi možnostmi tiskanja, znanimi po kalotipu, in se je pogosto uporabljal desetletja. Roll filmi, ki so jih amaterji popularizirali med priložnostno uporabo. Sredi 20. stoletja so dogodki amaterjem omogočili fotografiranje v naravni barvi in ​​v črno-beli barvi.

Komercialna uvedba računalniških elektronskih digitalnih fotoaparatov v devetdesetih letih je kmalu revolucionirala fotografijo. V prvem desetletju 21. stoletja so bile tradicionalne filmsko zasnovane fotokemične metode vse bolj marginalizirane, saj so se praktične prednosti nove tehnologije uveljavile in kakovost slike zmernih digitalnih fotoaparatov nenehno izboljševala. Še posebej, ker so kamere postale standardna funkcija pametnih telefonov, je fotografiranje (in takojšnje objavljanje na spletu) postalo vseprisotna vsakodnevna praksa po vsem svetu.


Presenetljive jukstapozicije

Na vse to spominja nedavna konvergenca razstav v Los Angelesu. Dve dopolnilni raziskavi Gettyjevega fundusa sta preučevali vztrajne konvencije uporabe stavbe kot motiva in metafore - najprej v nekaterih osupljivih postavitvah dela od prvih dni arhitekturne fotografije do danes, nato pa v pogledu na 180 let pogovora med okno in leča.

V muzeju Hammer je karierna retrospektiva Jamesa Wellinga pokazala pot do nepričakovanega, mističnega - in pogosto v veliki meri neprepoznavnega - opazovanja optične fizike na našem okolju, ki se je začelo z opazovanjem zapuščenih mlinov v Novi Angliji in z rustificiranimi kamnitimi zgradbami Richardsona. Tam je Welling poročil mračno fotografsko paleto in poenotil perspektive ustvarjanja arhitekturnih podob v času stavb do navideznih kompozicijskih nesreč, v katerih se zdi, da se ležerna podrobnost ali epizoda pojavi zgolj zato, ker jo je leča tako uokvirila ali mimoidoče tekstura materiala je pritegnila pozornost.

Medtem je Inštitut Julius Shulman z univerze Woodbury, namenjen razmisleku o odnosih med arhitektom in fotografom, predstavil zanimivo razstavo in publikacijo o spreminjajočem se značaju arhitekturne naloge, ki je skozi delo 10 sedanjih arhitekturnih fotografov odkrila značilne občutke vsakega, ki prevzame njihovo delo "On the Assignment".

Zasenčenje vseh teh "Daguerrian ekskurzij" je enciklopedična predstavitev velikega kalifornijskega fotografa Johna Divole na več prizoriščih, ki je, kar smo zdaj malo presenečeni, spoznali, da je tiho ustvarjal eno serijo pripovednih mojstrovin za drugim, od začetka Wellinga njegov izlet z zapuščenimi opečnatimi mlini, ki so deindustrializirali Novo Anglijo - s pravljicami o pretresljivi čustveni moči, ki jih pripovedujejo upodobitve trenutkov v postopnem opuščanju in oskrunjenju zapuščenih stavb. Divoline zamazane stene in razbite steklene ljudi na vsakem mestu s človeško prisotnostjo, ki ga ni mogoče videti - duhovite figure družbenega razseljevanja in stiske.

Fotografija Undine Pröhl na prizidku Kenga Kume do hiše Johna Black Leeja v Connecticutu

Timothy Hursley je študijo Philipa Johnsona prežel z nekoliko zlobno prisotnostjo: ali se bo v tej sobi zgodila seansa?

človeške figure animirajo ta podatkovni center podjetja Sheehan Partners, na fotografiji Bilyana Dimitrova

Nekaj ​​istega občutka le odsotne osebe - prostora, ki je nekako naseljen, ko ni videti nobene figure - je med senčnimi in svetlobnimi učinki v pogledu Timothyja Hursleyja na študijo Philipa Johnsona in na fotografiji Chiaroscuro Undine Pröhl hiše Kenga Kume v Connecticutu. Drugi prispevki k predstavi Woodbury - vključno z briljantnim opazovanjem podatkovnega centra njene kustosinje Bilyane Dimitrove s strani Sheehan Partners - kršijo vse neizrečene principe komercialne fotografije tako, da na sceno prikrivajo dejanske človeške incidente in se osredotočajo na stvari, kot je svetloba, ki prihaja od znotraj kot osvetlitev oblike, ki jo vidimo od zunaj.

Na enak način pogled Paul Warchol navzgor na krivulje kontaktnih mrež v muzeju Kiasma Stevena Holla uporablja drobne in nejasne človeške oblike ne le kot osebje za vzpostavitev obsega in perspektive, temveč tudi za namigovanje na svetlobo in senco na lupini mrežastih krivulj - čista fenomenološka čarovnija, ki jo zaznamo v izkušnjah gledalcev.

Te strategije lahko delujejo - tako kot pri Dimitrovi skoraj digitalni povezavi osvetlitve ali Hursleyjevem predlogu Johnsona samega kot senco - do skoraj močnega metaforičnega učinka. Vendar pa vsak zdravnik jasno govori svoj jezik. Z natančno omejitvijo vseh slik v predstavi v en sam srednje velik format Beyond the Assignment: Defining Photographs of Architecture and Design služi kot esej pri karakterizaciji, medtem ko je tehnika naslavljanja istega vprašanja na vsako temo v katalogu okrepila idejo da je vsak protagonist prinesel edinstveno identiteto pogleda v proces svojega dela.

Paul Warchol posname statične in gibljive ljudi na svoji fotografiji muzeja Kiasma Stevena Holla, ki izzove empatično domišljijo o sebi v prikazanem prostoru

Podoba Steklene hiše Philipa Johnsona Jamesa Wellinga spreminja sodobno ikono v motiv

To je en vidik nepričakovanega - da izhaja iz podajanja zelo osebnega načina gledanja ali izbire med tem, kar je videla kamera. Wellingov zajem neverjetnega pogleda predstavlja še en vidik te teze in s tem zanimivo vprašanje. Obstaja očitna simpatija med njegovim pogledom na Richardsona in načinom na katerega je Richardson gledal na svoja dela. Toda nič nas ne more odpeljati dlje od redukcionistične različice miesovske logike in jasnosti, ki je vplivala na načrte Philipa Johnsona, kot obskuristični dvojni pogled na njegovo stekleno hišo, ki ga vidimo v Wellingovi interpretaciji steklene hiše.

"Desetletja smo ostali živeti z lepo uokvirjenimi pogledi nenaseljenih stavb komercialnega fotografa, postavljenih pod modrim nebom, brez prehodnega prometa, ki jih v notranjosti osvetljujejo neizprosne poplave umetne svetlobe in ljudje, če sploh, kot modeli Julija Shulmana v Koenigovi študiji primera 22: v živo dopolnjujoči se obleki in drži «

Tako kot v progastih obvoznicah nemškega dela Miesa ali Chiaroscurovih popačenjih Hiroshija Sugimota na severnoameriških znamenitostih Miesa se zdi, da se velika in manjša dela sodobne arhitekture vračajo v status motivov. Kljub temu je nesmiselno, da so te preiskave načrtov arhitekta šokantne, saj so se dela, ko so se vdrla v našo skupno miselno pokrajino kraja ali kulture, zagotovo prislužila pravico postati - kot meglen pogled na Eifflov stolp ali sončni vzhod v Taj Mahalu - karkoli si umetnik ali turist izbere. Zakaj bi morali biti slavni vrhunci modernizma kot kulture, ki se ga spominjamo, bolj izvzeti iz interpretacije kot spomeniki Pariza v Belle Époqueu ali Indije Shah Abbas?

In zakaj ne bi - kot predlagajo fotografi v Woodburyju - premaknili 'Beyond the Assignment' in se nehali pretvarjati, da nam fotografija z upoštevanjem znanih konvencij dejansko pove, kako izgleda zgradba, ko nam v resnici pove, kako nam en fotograf predlaga, da si ogledamo: včasih, v najboljšem primeru, na njihovo lastno presenečenje.


Recenzije fotoknjig

Fotografija: dokončna vizualna zgodovina je pravi praznik največjih fotografij in fotografov z vsega sveta. To je bogato ilustrirana vizualna zgodovina fotografije (od njenega začetka v 1820-ih do danes), ki jo je napisal in kuriral svetovno znani fotograf, pisatelj in televizijski prodajalec Tom Ang.

Fotografiranje sledi poti od prvih zamegljenih slik preteklosti do spretno ustvarjenih digitalnih podob današnjega časa. Knjiga sledi razvoju fotografije, obdobje za obdobjem, ki zajema vse zvrsti, od portretov do panoram, zgodovinskih predstav, potovalne fotografije, fotoreporterstva, ulične fotografije in digitalnega slikanja. Ponuja več kot le ikonične podobe, ki predstavljajo prelomnice v razvoju tega umetniška oblika, ima tudi nepričakovane najdbe-kot so ročno obarvani odtisi z Japonske v devetnajstem stoletju, zgodnji portret afriške princese, barvna fotografija letalke, posneta med prvo svetovno vojno.

Vsako poglavje vključuje tudi funkcije »V fokusu«, ki analizirajo ključne fotografije (na primer Langejeve Migrantkaali Bill Brandt Belgravia, London, 1951) opozarja na različne elemente sloga in tehnike, zaradi katerih so te podobe tako edinstvene, in razkriva pogosto presenetljive zgodbe, ki stojijo za njihovim ustvarjanjem.

Fotografiranje vsebuje poglobljene profile več kot 50 fotografov, med drugim Eugène Atget, Ansel Adams, Shomei Tomatsu in Cindy Sherman, ter razkriva, kaj jih je motiviralo in kako se je njihova fotografija razvila. Knjiga odraža tudi delo nekaterih manj znanih fotografov (katerih delo v življenju ni bilo priznano) in vključuje posnetke nadarjenih ljubiteljskih fotografov. Ta knjiga sledi razvoju fotoaparatov, preučuje leče, razsvetljavo, film in tehnologijo, ki je omogočila fotografiranje. Ilustrirani referenčni imenik ponuja biografije več kot 250 največjih fotografov na svetu.

Fotografija: Dokončna vizualna zgodovina Tom Ang DK 50 USD (ISBN: 9781465422880)


Druge alternative

Vreče velikosti 30-40 litrov so kot nalašč za večino fotografov na prostem, saj vam dajejo dovolj prostora, da s seboj vzamete opremo za fotoaparate, pa tudi zapakirate nekaj hrane, oblačil in zunanjih dodatkov. Ker je MindShift blagovna znamka, ki se osredotoča na fotografski sektor na prostem, ne bi smelo biti presenečenje, da imajo v tem velikostnem razponu kar nekaj različnih možnosti. Vse sem jih uporabil in pregledal, veliko jih je bilo slučajno v moji pisarni, ko sem fotografiral BackLight 36L, zato sem izkoristil priložnost in priložil nekaj primerjalnih fotografij.

FirstLight 30 in 40

Paketi FirstLight imajo namesto zadnje plošče odprtino na sprednji plošči. Rezultat je predal za fotoaparat, iz katerega je lažje delati, vendar na račun umazane zadnje plošče in podpornega sistema, če ga postavite na tla. V sprednjem žepu paketov FirstLight je tudi veliko manj prostora za vso ostalo nefotografsko opremo. Zdi se mi, da so paketi FirstLight odlične torbe za delo v vozilu pri uporabi dolgih leč, kjer lahko resnično uporabite velik slog odpiranja. Po udobju so enaki vrečkam BackLight 26 in 36, vendar imajo bonus funkcijo nastavljive dolžine trupa, ki bi lahko pomagala izjemno visokim fotografom. Če med fotografiranjem ne potrebujete veliko več kot oprema fotoaparata in ne potrebujete rokava za prenosni računalnik, je morda FirstLight dobra alternativa. 40 -litrska različica je tam zgoraj z največjimi vrečkami, ki jih izdeluje MindShift, in vsekakor vsebuje precej več opreme za kamero kot BackLight 36L. FirstLight 30L vsebuje približno enako količino opreme za kamero kot BackLight 36L.

UltraLight Dual 36L

Ta paket ima zelo drugačen dizajn od večine paketov MindShift. Zgornja 2/3 torbe je velik odprt del za oblačila in drugo zunanjo opremo, vključno s hrano in vodo. Na dnu torbe je stranski odprtina za fotoaparat, ki bo držala ohišje fotoaparata profesionalne velikosti in 2-3 objektiva, odvisno od njihove dolžine. Kot že ime pove, je ta paket zelo lahek v primerjavi z drugimi torbami v njihovi ponudbi. Ima veliko manj oblazinjenja na zadnji plošči in podpornih trakovih, zato daje prednost lažjim obremenitvam. Ali je to primerna alternativa BackLight 36L, je v celoti odvisno od tega, ali imate več opreme, kot jo bo spodaj. Če nameravate ohraniti majhno obremenitev, mi je zelo všeč vsestranskost UtraLight Dual 36L. Lahko celo razbijete ločnico med zgornjim in spodnjim delom, odstranite spodnji predel za kamero in celotno stvar uporabite kot običajen 36L nahrbtnik.

Zadnja luč 26L

Ta torba je po lastnostih enaka svojemu starejšemu bratu, vendar bo glavni dejavnik pri vaši izbiri, ali želite v svoji torbi uporabiti ohišje fotoaparata velike velikosti (ali eno z baterijskim ročajem). BackLight 36L je globlji in čeprav lahko v 26L stisnete večje kamere, sem prepričan, da boste z njimi v večji torbi srečnejši#8217m.

MP-3 V2

Še en edinstven dizajn v liniji MindShift je serija paketov Moose Peterson. MP-3 V2 je moja izbira, ker je MP-1 MASIVEN in ni primeren za letenje, MP-7 pa je nekoliko majhen z nekaj čudno postavljenimi (po mojem mnenju) stranskimi žepi na njem. Všeč mi je MP-3 V2 in pride pri oznaki 35L, ko delate glasnost. Serija MP ni zelo udobna za pohod, zato s tem ne bi radi hodili zelo daleč, vendar je odlična torba v avtu ali na letalu z nahrbtnikom, ki ga lahko položite trakovi in ​​kubična oblika. V tem lahko resnično dobite veliko opreme, vendar je zasnovana za opremo fotoaparata in ne za dodatno opremo na prostem. To bi bila moja izbira za torbo za safari, kjer morate zaščititi opremo v vozilu, vendar je na splošno nikoli ne nosite na hrbtu.

Rotacija 180 Horizon

Kar zadeva opremo, ki jo lahko nosite, je to zelo podobno UltraLight Dual 36L, pri čemer je spodnji del torbe namenjen opremi za kamero, zgornji pa za vso vašo drugo opremo. Majhna razlika je v tem, da predel za fotoaparat na R180 Horizon ni tako globok kot na UltraLightu, tako da, čeprav lahko namestite 2-3 objektiva, eden od njih ne more biti dolg najdaljšemu, ki ustreza UltraLight. . Resnično, vi izberite tega za BackLight 36L, če želite edinstven sistem R180, vendar ne ustreza številni opremi za kamero, ker je spodnji predel precej majhen in podporni sistem ni podložen in udobno kot na vrečah BackLight.

R180 Pro

Ta velika zver vreče je lahko še ena možnost, ki pa vas bo zaradi vrhunskih materialov, ki se uporabljajo pri izdelavi, stala veliko več denarja. Je najbolj udobna torba za fotoaparat, ki sem jo kdaj uporabljal za pohodništvo, z dodatnim predelkom za fotoaparat v zgornjem delu torbe pa drži približno enako količino opreme pri BackLight 36L. Glavna razlika je v tem, da lahko drži le 300 mm f/2,8 ali 400 mm f/4 DO, ko gre za super telefoto objektive. To je seveda posledica razcepa v vreči, ki ga zahteva mehanizem Rotation 180. Resnično izjemna torba za fotoaparat, a zanjo vsekakor plačate!

Seveda obstajajo tudi druge foto torbe na prostem drugih proizvajalcev. Vseh jih ni mogoče preizkusiti, vendar lahko razmislite o LowePro Whistler 450 AW. Pregledal sem ta paket in ima veliko všeč na njem, vendar zaradi svoje velike velikosti ne nosi velike količine opreme za fotoaparate. Največja pomanjkljivost tega je, da je predal za fotoaparat v nekaterih dimenzijah nenavadno majhen, zato, če upoštevate to torbo v primerjavi z BackLight 36L, vam lahko takoj povem, da lahko v BackLight 36L udobno namestite veliko več opreme do Whistlerja 450, čeprav so zunanje mere nekoliko podobne.


Arhiv NASA. 60 let v vesolju

1. oktobra 1958 je prva civilna vesoljska agencija na svetu začela delovati kot nujni odziv na lansiranje Sputnika Sovjetske zveze leto prej. V desetletju se je Nacionalna uprava za letalstvo in vesolje, splošno znana kot NASA, razvila iz skromnih raziskovalnih skupin, ki so eksperimentirale z majhnimi pretvorjenimi raketami v eno največjih tehnoloških in vodstvenih podjetij doslej, ki lahko pošilja ljudi na Luno na krovu ogromnih raket in pošilja raziskovalce robotov na Venero, Mars in svetove daleč onkraj. Kljub občasnim, tragičnim zastojem v zgodovini NASA, projekt pristajanja na luno Apollo ostaja beseda za ameriško iznajdljivost krilati vesoljski čolni so vodili Mednarodno vesoljsko postajo in bleščečo paleto astronomskih satelitov in robotskih pristankov, programi za opazovanje Zemlje pa so spremenilo naše razumevanje vesolja in krhkega mesta našega domačega sveta v njem.

V 60-letni zgodovini NASA so imele slike osrednjo vlogo. Kdo danes ne pozna Hubblov vesoljski teleskopOčarljivi pogledi na vesolje ali ostre panorame Marsa iz površinskih roverjev NASA? In kdo bi lahko pozabil fotografije prvih mož, ki so hodili po Luni?

Raziskovali v sodelovanju z NASA, ta zbirka zbira več kot 400 zgodovinskih fotografij in redki upodobitve konceptov, skenirano in preurejeno z najnovejšo tehnologijo ter reproducirano v zelo velikih velikostih. Besedila znanstvenega in tehnološkega novinarja Piers Bizony, nekdanji glavni zgodovinar NASA Roger Launiusin najbolje prodajani zgodovinar Apolla Andrew Chaikin- in obsežen kontrolni seznam misij, ki dokumentira ključne človeške in robotske misije - to zaokrožuje celovito raziskovanje Nase, od njegovih prvih dni do danes sedanji razvoj novih vesoljskih sistemov za prihodnost.

Arhiv NASA je več kot le fascinantna slikovna zgodovina vesoljskega programa ZDA. Je tudi globoka meditacija o tem, zakaj se odločimo za raziskovanje vesolja in kako bomo v naslednjih letih nadaljevali to največjo avanturo.

Urednik in avtor

Piers Bizony je pisatelj znanosti in tehnologije. Njegove objave vključujejo Atom, Človek, ki je tekel na Luni, Starman, in Izdelava Stanleyja Kubricka 2001: vesoljska odiseja.

Avtorji prispevkov

Andrew Chaikin je avtor najbolje prodajane knjige Človek na Luni, podroben opis luninih misij Apollo na podlagi pričevanja iz prve roke. To delo je bilo osnova za trojno nagrajeno Emmyjevo serijo HBO Od Zemlje do Lune.

Dr. Roger Launius od leta 1990 do leta 2002 je bil glavni zgodovinar pri NASI, nato pa je bil imenovan za višjega kustosa v oddelku za vesoljsko zgodovino Nacionalnega muzeja letalstva in vesolja v Washingtonu. Leta 2003 je bil tudi član odbora za preiskovanje nesreč Columbia.

Arhiv NASA. 60 let v vesolju

Večjezične izdaje so opremljene z angleško knjigo in a knjižica s prevodi v francoščino ali nemščino.


Klasične kamere: na terenu z mogočnim Nikonom F.

Črka "F." To je ena najmočnejših črk v celotni fotografiji. V avtomobilskem svetu ima BMW skoraj v lasti "M." V tehnološkem svetu je Apple osvojil "i". Leta 1959, ko je Nikon predstavil svoj prvi refleksni fotoaparat z enim objektivom (SLR), je podjetje prevzelo "F" in je od takrat v svetu fotografije simbolično.

Fotografije © Todd Vorenkamp

Nikonovi vodilni fotoaparati SLR imajo vse oznako F, ​​ki ji sledi številka. Legendarni fotoaparat, ki je začel Nikonovo profesionalno linijo, se je preprosto imenoval "Nikon F."

Zgodovina

Tako kot mnogi proizvajalci fotoaparatov je bil tudi v desetletjih pred uvedbo Nikona F. Nikon zaposlen s proizvodnjo 35-milimetrskih filmskih kamer za daljinomer. Po Nikonovih besedah ​​je bil prvi 35-milimetrski SLR fotoaparat Kine-Exakta, ki so ga izdelali Ihagee Kamerawerk, Steenbergen & amp Co. , v Nemčiji, leta 1936. Svetloba vstopi v objektiv fotoaparata in se nato odseva v odsevu ali refleksu ogledala SLR fotoaparata in v iskalo - pogosto skozi prizmo na vrhu kamere. Zgodnje SLR kamere niso imele ogledala, ki bi se po fotografiranju vrnilo v odsevni položaj. Prav tako fotoaparati in leče niso imeli samodejnega upravljanja z membrano, ki je mehansko odprlo zaslonko objektiva do največje vrednosti, ko je pritrjeno na ohišje fotoaparata. Zaradi teh dveh stvari je bil SLR naravnost okoren v primerjavi s sorazmerno atletskimi tekmovalci.

Ena prednost, ki jo daljinomer ni imel, je bila sposobnost dobrega delovanja z objektivi z goriščno razdaljo večjo od 135 mm. Za dolgoročno fotografiranje s telefoto objektivi bi bil SLR fotoaparat izbrani.

Ravnanje z Nikonom F je podobno rokovanju s skoraj vsemi SLR fotoaparati. Fotografija © John Harris

Nikon, čeprav zadovoljen z zmogljivostmi in prodajo svojih daljinomernih fotoaparatov, se je odpravil na pot, da bi ustvaril uporabniku prijazen SLR fotoaparat profesionalne kakovosti in navedel štiri oblikovalske ideje, ki si jih lahko ogledate tukaj.

Da bi znižali stroške, je moral fotoaparat v veliki meri temeljiti na mehaniki Nikonovih daljinomerov. V prvotnem prototipu fotoaparatov Nikon F so bili le ogledalo, pentaprizma in zdaj že legendarni bajonetni nosilci Nikon F zasnovani posebej za F. Preostanek fotoaparata je bil skoraj identičen merilniku razdalj SP/S3.

Črka "F" je bila izbrana za nov model, saj se "R" (za refleks) sliši neprijetno za mnoge fotografe, ki ne govorijo angleško. "F" je refleksno prišlo iz F.

Novi Nikon F je odpravil nekatere pomanjkljivosti zgodnjih zrcalno-refleksnih fotoaparatov z avtomatskim vračanjem zrcala, samodejno diafragmo za odpiranje odprtine pritrjene leče in zagotavljanjem najsvetlejše slike v iskalu, gumbom za predogled globinske ostrine, ki objektiv ustavi navzdol in funkcijo zaklepanja ogledal za zmanjšanje vibracij.

Nikon F je bil svetovnemu tisku predstavljen marca 1959, v Ameriko pa so ga predstavili maja istega leta na razstavi Photo Marketing Association v Philadelphiji v Pensilvaniji. Ne samo, da je bil uveden fotoaparat, temveč ga je spremljala tudi cela linija objektivov in dodatkov - celovit profesionalni sistem tik pred vrati. Z adapterji za objektive, ki niso nameščeni na F, je kombinacija novih objektivov SLR in drugega stekla Nikon dala Nikonu F goriščno razdaljo od 21 mm do 1000 mm prvi dan, ko je bila izdana. Nobena druga kombinacija fotoaparata in objektiva ni imela na voljo nič podobnega območju goriščne razdalje.

Skupnostni bazen v parku Marcus Garvey

Nippon Kogaku K. K., Japonska (zdaj Nikon Corporation) je izdeloval F v letih 1959-1974. Proizvedenih je bilo 862.000. Začetna cena (z objektivom NIKKOR 50 mm f/2 S) je bila 329,50 USD.

F je začel dolgo linijo vrhunskih Nikonovih filmskih SLR fotoaparatov, ki so vključevali legendarne F2 (1971-1980), F3 (1980-2001), F4 (1988-1997), F5 (1996-2004) , in zdaj ukinjeni F6 (2004-2020).

Vpliv

Leta 1959 je bil merilnik razdalje nemške proizvodnje profesionalni fotoaparat po izbiri. Japonski daljinomeri so bili zelo dobri, vendar so fotografi kljub višjim cenam težili k legendarni nemški kakovosti in optici.

Še ena prednost »Caesure« Jessice Feldman. Skulptura predvaja zvonce, rogove in zvočne posnetke iz govorov Marcusa Garveyja.

Nato je prišel Nikon F in ves fotografski svet je hitro doživel spremembo paradigme, ki se nadaljuje še danes - skoraj 60 let kasneje. Z Nikon F je Japonska postala vodilna v industriji na področju fotografije, SLR, natančneje japonski SLR, pa so postali izbira fotografov po vsem svetu.

Tako kot je daljinomer Leica začel svet 35 -milimetrske ročne fotografije, je Nikon F predstavil premoč profesionalnega SLR fotoaparata.

Praktično

Če ste uporabljali ali imeli v lasti starejši fotoaparat Nikon SLR, se bo F v vaših rokah počutil takoj znano. Imam FM3a, ki je po velikosti, teži in gostoti skoraj enak. Namestitev krmiljenja je znana, vendar je bila v naslednjih generacijah fotoaparatov F izboljšana. Če ste nekoč snemali F3 ali digitalni Df, prvič, ko poberete F., ne boste imeli vsega palca.

Prizori iz parka Marcus Garvey park prekinejo 5. avenijo, ko se odpravite proti severu skozi Manhattan.

Če ste fotograf, navajen snemati sodobne digitalne zrcalno -refleksne fotoaparate ali celo filmske fotoaparate, izdelane v zadnjih treh desetletjih, boste ugotovili, da je v iskalu pentaprizma F prikazano, da ste zagotovo naredili korak v preteklost. Iskalo je ogromno. Svetlo je. In popolnoma brez ničesar v zvezi z iglami osvetlitve, pikami za potrditev ostrenja, žarečimi digitalnimi stvarmi itd. Nič ne zamegljuje vašega pogleda, razen osrednje razcepljene prizme in njenega okoliškega kroga. Ne vem, ali je starost fotoaparata kriva, vendar je prišlo do nostalgične analogne meglenosti slike v iskalu na mojem posojenem F-ju, ki daje občutek gledanja sveta skozi majhno različico stekla velikega formata fotoaparata.

Torej v iskalu ni igel za osvetlitev. Pravzaprav ni igel za izpostavljenost, ki bi se ujemale kjerkoli na F, ki sem jih dobil. Kasnejše različice F, kot sta F Photomic in Photomic FTn, so bile opremljene s svetlobnimi merilniki, vendar ta starejša različica nima ničesar za merjenje svetlobe. Pozabite kolesariti med točkovnim, matričnim in sredinsko uteženim merjenjem ali videti nekaj (karkoli) v iskalu, ki označuje osvetlitev. Tisti dnevi še niso prišli, ko je bil izdelan ta F.

Hiša ob bazenu, šahovnice in vrste sedežev v amfiteatru Richarda Rodgersa

Prav tako nič v iskalu ne prikazuje vaše zaslonke in hitrosti zaklopa. Hitrost zaklopa se odčita na številčnici, zaslonka pa na objektivu.

Za informacije o izpostavljenosti sem na izletih nosil svoj merilnik svetlobe Sekonic L-358.

Fotografske zobe sem res odrezal s filmom, vendar še nikoli nisem snemal brez vgrajenega števca na fotoaparatu, tako da je bila to popolnoma nova izkušnja. "Sončno pravilo f/16!" je rekel moj oče iz stare šole fotograf. Martine Franck, žena Henrija Cartier-Bressona, je v intervjuju za New Yorker, da ni uporabljala merilnika svetlobe. "Mislim, da že poznam svojo luč," je dejala.







Velika drevesa na vrhu parka blizu mesta, kjer je nekoč stal gasilski stolp "Caesura", stojalo za kolesa in stopnice

No, ko sem odraščal z berglo merilnika svetlobe v fotoaparatu, sem spoznal, da sem zelo malo razmišljal o svoji svetlobi-še posebej podnevi. Očitno ne poznam svoje luči. Veliko bolje ugibam o izpostavljenosti ponoči, saj je pri nočni fotografiji izpostavljenost veliko bolj v moji zavestni misli.

Drug opazen korak v retro svet je bila nenadna nezmožnost širokega odpiranja pri dnevni svetlobi. Odpiranje mojih 50 mm vse do f/1,8 s filmom Porta 400 bi neobstoječo iglo analogne hitrosti zaklopa pritrdilo na oznako 1/1000 sekunde. To je najhitrejša hitrost zaklopa, ki jo omogoča Nikon F. Brezzrcalna kamera, ki sem jo pozno posnel, preklopi na elektronski zaklop, ki utripa slikovne pike za hitrost zaklopa 1/32000 sekunde, kar vam omogoča fotografiranje na široko dnevna svetloba na zelo širokih postajališčih F. Oh, kako hitro se prilagajamo sodobni tehnologiji!

Nič od tega ne pomeni, da je Nikon F brez "tehnologije". Poleg zaklepanja zrcala ima fotoaparat predogled globinske ostrine, samosprožilec in priročen gumb za opomnike ISO na dnu. Torej, kamera z luknjami ni.

Ker je fotoaparat zrcalno -refleksni fotoaparat, vas fotografiranje s F popelje le tako daleč. Še vedno imate "sodobne" ugodnosti 35 -milimetrskega filma, optičnega iskala, mehanskega zaklopa in drugih lepot. Na sprednjo stran F. lahko obesite tudi skoraj vsak sodoben ali klasičen objektiv Nikon s F-nosilcem. Posnel sem nekaj objektov Nikon 50 mm, Nikon AF DC-NIKKOR 105 mm F/2D, Nikon AF Zoom-NIKKOR 80-200 mm f/2.8D ED in objektiv Zeiss Distagon T* 21 mm f/2,8 ZF.2.

Nostalgija po Nikonu F vas zadene, ko pogledate skozi prazno iskalo in vidite, da je črka "F" ponosno vgravirana v iskalo pentaprism in spoznate, da se je tukaj vse začelo.

Fotografije

Park Marcus Garvey, ki se nahaja v Harlemu na poti 5. avenije med 120. in 124. ulico, pokriva nekaj več kot 20 hektarjev zemlje na otoku Manhattan. Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr. was a Jamaican immigrant and political leader who founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL), as well as the Black Star Line, a merchant shipping company that helped return diaspora of Africa back to their native lands. Originally the Mount Morris Park, the site was re-named for Marcus Garvey in 1973.

The Marcus Garvey Park features a community pool, amphitheater, playgrounds, a baseball field, ball courts, and more.


Editorial A Brief history of Landscape Photography

In the earliest days of landscape photography, technical restraints meant that photographers were bound to working with static subjects, due to long exposure times which rendered any movement blurry. This made landscapes and cityscapes prime material for their exposures.


It was in 1826 that the first photograph is widely regarded to have been taken, by French-born Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. His first exposure took a humble eight hours!

It was over a decade later that Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre invented the Daguerreotype and first photographed a human being, by mere accident. Boulevard du Temple , Daguerre’s long-range shot of a Parisian street exemplified the early constraints of the medium.


Depicting a man having his shoes shined, the single image took ten minutes to make and just happened to capture the individual, who stood statically, one leg perched on a stool. The shoe shiner working on Paris’ Boulevard du Temple that day had no idea he would make his­tory.

As the technical side of photography developed and cameras became more affordable, almost anyone could become a photographer. Whilst democratizing and diversifying the craft, this also gave form to some form of elitism, as certain artists began to distance themselves from the status quo by creating their own visual movements.


This saw the rise of Pictorialism, a trend in which photos were manipulated through long exposure or movement to emulate impressionistic paintings. The idea was to suggest that artistic expression rose above the mechanical process.

However successful Pictorialism was, it remained a niche means of expression. Meanwhile, photographers such as Charles Fontayne and William S. Porter were creating panoramic Daguerrotypes of waterfronts with extremely high-levels of visual information. These recently restored 6.5”x8.5” photos reveal incredible amounts of detail.


As the 20th century rolled in, the art of Landscape photography was led by American photographers who had a vast and varied landscape to play with. Their influence may also have been due to the growing influence of American cultural production and the frontier myths of manifest destiny.

Perhaps the most famous of all Landscape photographers is the legendary Ansel Adams, a dedicated environmentalist whose love of the natural world was meant to encourage people to respect and care for their planet. His stark black and white images of rivers and canyons set the precedents for landscape photographers thereafter.


Yet, the legitimacy of landscape photography as an art has always been defined alongside its relationship to painting. As a result of its existence being challenged in the context of fine art, its trajectory has also been influenced.

Edward Weston’s use of depth of field can be seen to reflect abstract painting but in a modern and objective way.


“My true program is summed up in one word: life. I expect to photograph anything suggested by that word which appeals to me.”
– Edward Weston

As time went on, the birth of the American auto industry gave photographers the ability to explore their native landscapes in a unique and unencumbered way. Legends such as Robert Frank helped define an entire nation, whilst mavericks like Lee Friedlander discovered themselves on the open road.


Hitting the highway in their station wagons, Stephen Shore and Joel Sternfeld each approached the wide-open plains of their native country with a unique eye and inspired generations of photographers after them. Accepting the challenge of confronting the enormity of the world through a limited viewfinder, sometimes shooting from a dashboard or rearview mirror, the masters of landscape photography saw the world as a playground to frame.


ART REVIEW A History of Photography From the Eyes of Women

AT the Princeton University Art Museum, '⟊mera Women'' is a concise survey of photographs taken by women from photography's inception through the present day. Everything about the show is brief and to the point, including the catalog, which has only three short essays. But viewers will linger over some of these images.

The show inevitably addresses the issue of whether there are differences between pictures taken by men and by women. A catalog essay by Carol Armstrong, a professor of women's studies and art and archeology at Princeton, suggests that women photographers have always ventured into the same territory as their male counterparts, but that with women, a pronounced empathy between artist and subject is a common trait.

The Victorian-era photographer Eva Watson-Schütze, in ''The Misses B.'' (1903), presents two women with long flowing hair, who are almost dreamlike Gertrude Käsebier shows a sense of humor in ''The Gargoyle'' (1901). The beast in the picture is a woman whose head and back stick out from a building and look out over the street below she's an imposing character.

The period from the 1920's to the 1970's is characterized as the era of modernism, and it finds women photographers essaying every type of subject. Berenice Abbott's ''New York at Night'' (1933), is regarded as a classic because it uses just the basics to convey a sense of power, showing the grid of Manhattan skyscrapers blazing with electric light.

In contrast, Imogen Cunningham, with a flower in '⟊lla'' (1929), and Florence Henri, with a wicker chair in 'ɼhair and Drapery'' (1931), explore the abstract idea of sinuousness.

An untitled photograph from 1935 by Dora Maar, who was a mistress of Pablo Picasso, is a reminder that Surrealism flourished in the 1930's. The image is of a woman's face in profile with a cluster of three light-filled circles at the top of her head.

No show about women in photography would be complete without Lisette Model's 'ɼoney Island Standing'' (1942). The image, which almost fills the frame, is of a very large woman in a black bathing suit. Her hands are on her knees, her back is to the ocean and her face beams. In the catalog, Ms. Armstrong calls her 'ɺn icon of a joyful grotesque.''

Many male and female photographers in the contemporary era make use of what the catalog calls ''strategies,'' or actions not always involving the camera that become the photograph's content. The strongest example of this in the exhibition is '➯ter Walker Evans'' (1981) by Sherrie Levine. Ms. Levine rephotographed a photograph, Walker Evans's straightforward portrait of a Depression-era woman, using aquatint and photogravure techniques that make her print different from Evans's and allow her to sign her name to the work.

Early in her career Cindy Sherman began using herself in various guises as the subject of her work. In two untitled pictures from 1977, she assumed the personas of women in B-movies who live on the edge.

In contrast, Kathy Grove's strategy in ''The Other Series: After Man Ray'' (1992) was to excise the human figure from a borrowed photograph, in her case, one by Man Ray, to prove that absence can really denote a strong presence.

In her untitled 1981 picture in the show, Eileen Cowin stages a little dramas, the terms of which are just hinted. She shows a ménage à trois two women seem to be talking, while a third, deliberately androgynous figure, is asleep in bed. All three have curly, auburn hair. The photograph contains psychological nuances. It is perhaps evidence of the quality of empathy with their subjects that the catalog claims for women photographers.

'⟊mera Women'' remains at the Art Museum at Princeton University, (609) 258-3788, through Jan. 6.


B-36: Bomber at the Crossroads

In 1947 the United States Air Force became an independent service, carved from the Army and placed under the control of the newly created National Military Establishment. The new service faced daunting challenges. There was the threat from a new adversary, the Soviet Union. But there were challenges at home as well: from the Navy, which viewed those in the new uniforms as rivals for diminishing defense funds and from within, as the Air Force struggled to introduce jet-powered aircraft into operational service.

In the spring of 1949, the country got a new secretary of defense: Louis Johnson, a wealthy lawyer, aspiring politician, and former official with the Convair Corporation, which was a longtime supplier of U.S. military aircraft. That last connection, which today would seem a scandal worthy of a special prosecutor, was common at the time. Who knew more about weapons than the men who built them?

When President Harry Truman ordered Johnson to economize, he obliged in April by canceling the 65,000-ton super-carrier United States, the keel of which had been laid only a week before. But the carrier was the linchpin of the Navy's plan to equip itself for the strategic nuclear mission. Carrying aircraft able to deliver atomic bombs to a target 1,000 miles away, the United States would have projected naval air power across the world's oceans, just the mission the Air Force wanted for its land-based bombers. Johnson's order, though only two sentences long, set off an interservice squabble the likes of which the nation had rarely seen.

Relations between the Army and Navy had first soured in the 1920s over which service should defend the U.S. coast, and World War II had only sharpened their rivalry. Now the Navy viewed the postwar creation of the Air Force and the Department of Defense as twin political threats to its primacy as the defender of U.S. shores. The spat that followed cancellation of the United States became known as "the revolt of the admirals," and it pitted the Navy's aircraft carrier against the Air Force's strategic bombing force--more specifically, Convair's monster six-engine bomber, the B-36, which had entered service in the summer of 1948.

Now it was a year later, and matters were coming to a head. The first shot in the battle was fired by Cedric Worth, a civilian assistant to Navy Undersecretary Dan Kimball for "special study and research," as he later described his duties under oath. It came in the form of a nine-page memo for the Navy's internal use (though he admitted giving copies to three members of Congress and to aircraft manufacturer Glenn Martin). The document condemned the B-36 as "an obsolete and unsuccessful aircraft" and charged that the Air Force had acquired it only after Convair had contributed $6.5 million to various Democratic politicians.

The theme was picked up by the Navy League, which spent $500,000 trashing the mega-bomber. (That amount, at least, was the estimate of the rival Air Force Association. If these sums don't seem exciting, consider that in 1949, the minimum wage in the aircraft industry was 50 cents an hour.) The B-36 was described as a "lumbering cow" and a "billion-dollar blunder," and the Navy claimed it had at least three jet fighters that could leave the monster behind at 40,000 feet. The admirals wanted a matchup, but they would never get one.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff told Johnson the test was a bad idea. And the Air Force said it had already demonstrated that fighters couldn't maneuver at that altitude. Simulated B-36 attacks on bases in Florida and California were met by three front-line fighters: a North American F-86A Sabre, a Lockheed F-80C Shooting Star, and a Republic F-84 Thunderjet. Radar picked up the intruder 30 minutes out the fighters took 26 minutes to climb to 40,000 feet and another two minutes to find the B-36. The fighters were faster than the big bomber, but their wing loading (the ratio of aircraft weight to area of the wings) was so high that they couldn't turn with the bomber without stalling in the thin air. Even if a B-36 were detected and Soviet fighters caught it, the pilot could evade them by making S-turns, said the Air Force.

Of course, the Russians wouldn't have been flying USAF jets, as British engineer Harold Saxon argued in an edition of Aviation Week that appeared in mid-summer. While the Americans valued speed and therefore reduced the span and area of their jets' wings, the British built fighters that could maneuver at stratospheric heights, beginning with the de Havilland Vampire, which had been designed for the first British turbojet engine, and which by 1949 had done "a lot of development flying since 1947 between 50,000 and 60,000 feet," according to Saxon.

By early June, the battle had moved into the halls of Congress when James Van Zandt, a Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania and captain in the Navy reserve, took up the charges leaked by Worth's memo. On the House floor, Van Zandt demanded an investigation of the "ugly, disturbing reports" that the bomber project would have been canceled a year ago if not for wheeling and dealing by Louis Johnson, other Convair officials, and Stuart Symington, the civilian head of the Air Force.

Symington, in a speech at Brookline, Massachusetts, had summed up the final judgment on the B-36: The bomber could "take off from bases on this continent, penetrate enemy defenses, destroy any major urban industrial area in the world, and return non-stop to the point of take-off." Symington's claim was preposterous, but it was widely believed. So Congress did what it does best: It scheduled hearings. But they were delayed until August, infuriating Van Zandt, and also broadened into a debate about the strategic roles of the Air Force and Navy. During the dramatic proceedings, a browbeaten Cedric Worth was unmasked as the author of the memo that had incited the ruckus and forced to recant everything. "I think I was wrong," he told the committee.

"You made a grave error, did you not?" he was asked.

U.S. bombers had been getting steadily bigger, so the enormity of the B-36 may have seemed part of an American pattern, but the bomber actually owed its immense bulk to a succession of hostile dictators, starting with Adolf Hitler. In the spring of 1941, German troops held most of western Europe and seemed likely to conquer Britain next. The U.S. Army asked airframe builders for an airplane that could take off from American soil, bomb Germany, and fly home.

The most promising design came from Consolidated Aircraft in San Diego, builder of the B-24 Liberator, which was just entering service with U.S. and British air forces. Consolidated proposed a quantum leap over the B-17 and B-24 heavy bombers as well as Boeing's next-generation "very heavy" B-29 Superfortress. The B-36 was to be a mega-bomber, spanning 230 feet from wingtip to wingtip. It would cross the Atlantic, enter German airspace at 300 mph, and drop 10,000 pounds of bombs from 40,000 feet, too high for flak or fighters to trouble it. Impressed, the Army ordered a pair of prototypes on November 15, 1941.

Three weeks later, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and the U.S. suddenly found itself fighting a two-ocean war. The B-36 went on the back burner while Consolidated turned out thousands of its proven Liberators. The B-36 suffered another setback when its facilities were moved to Texas, and yet another when the designers were asked to build a transport based on the bomber.

While Europe was pounded from bases in England, Japan was to be targeted by the Boeing Superfortress flying from China. The Japanese set out to capture the Chinese airfields--and thereby moved the B-36 back to the front burner. From Hawaii, it could bomb Tokyo as it had once been expected to bomb Berlin. In June 1943 the Army asked for 100 copies of the mega-bomber, with the first to arrive in the summer of 1945.

The U.S. Marine Corps moved faster than Convair (Consolidated merged with Vultee in 1943, and the new name was coined then). Shortly after Guam, Saipan, and Tinian were in U.S. hands, the Superforts began their terrible punishment of the Japanese home islands. The Pacific war ended six months earlier than expected--and six days before the rollout of the first B-36, its nose jacked up to lower its tail, which was too tall for the hangar door. It debuted as the Peacemaker, but the name never took, and even today it is better remembered simply as the B-36.

In a country celebrating peace, the prototype would have been the last of the line, but the Soviet Union turned out to be as land-hungry as Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Nonetheless, the U.S. military packed for home in a stand-down so thorough that it was "not a demobilization," as General Leon Johnson noted in a 1954 interview, "it was a rout." The spring of 1946 became a replay of 1941, with a hostile dictator swallowing pieces of Europe and the Americans unable to do anything about it. The "strategic" card--the threat of wholesale destruction by nuclear weapons--seemed the only one that a demobilized, budget-cutting United States could play. But which of the services would play it?

When Congress had created the independent air force in 1947, the new service had been organized around two combat arms: a Tactical Air Command (TAC) to support the ground troops and a Strategic Air Command (SAC) to take the war to the enemy. The Air Force would have a fleet twice the size of the Navy's--24,000 aircraft to 11,500--and only the Air Force would have heavy bombers.

Following the U.S. withdrawal to the continental United States and the emergence of Joseph Stalin's ambitions, SAC's strategic mission was in the ascendant and there was no longer any question who the "enemy" was. By happenstance, the long-distance payload of the B-36 equalled the weight of one atomic bomb--roughly 10,000 pounds--and its combat radius equalled the great-circle route from Maine to Leningrad. Pending the arrival of its new $5.7-million-dollar baby, SAC made do with 160 veteran B-29 Superforts, and it was these aircraft that answered the call to deploy to European bases when the Russians shut off ground access to Berlin in the summer of 1948.

It was a colossal bluff. In all of SAC, only 27 Superforts had the "Silver Plate" modifications needed to carry an atomic bomb, and these were all assigned to the 509th Bomb Group, which stayed home. As for bombs, the U.S. "stockpile" contained exactly 13, controlled by the Atomic Energy Commission, and President Harry Truman refused to say if he'd ever release them to the military. Even if he had given the order to launch an attack, the 509th would have needed five days to pack up, fly to an AEC depot, load the nukes, and move overseas.

Perhaps the reality of the situation didn't matter to the Soviets. As they demonstrated again and again during the cold war, their pattern was to push until they met a determined response, then back off and wait for the next opportunity. They could easily have prevented an airlift by jamming U.S. radio beacons, but they didn't. And when General Curtis LeMay, to everyone's astonishment, fed and heated Berlin by air, the Russians quietly reopened land routes in the spring of 1949. The blockade succeeded only in burnishing LeMay's reputation, heightening American fear of Russia, and confirming the belief that the B-36 was America's best hope to contain Communism.

In June 1948, Convair delivered the first operational B-36A to SAC's 7th Bomb Group at Carswell Air Force Base, across the runway from its Fort Worth plant. Big as the B-29 Superfort was, it could nearly fit beneath one wing of a B-36. Despite the difference in size, the two airplanes had similar vertical tails, and they had slim fuselages, like cigarettes, round in cross-section, with two pressurized crew cabins separated by two bomb bays and connected by a tunnel.

But the wings were different. The Superfort's were thin, straight, and glider-like, while the B-36's wings were more than seven feet thick at the root, enough for a crewman to crawl in and reach the engines or the landing gear in flight. The wings were tapered, with the leading edges swept back, and the effect of that, combined with the wings' location so far back on the fuselage, made the airplane appear out of balance. Strangest of all, the B-36's six Pratt & Whitney Wasp Major engines were faired into the trailing edges, with the propellers located aft in the pusher configuration. Although it was supposed to reduce the propeller swirl's turbulence over the wing, the pusher design was rarely used on U.S. aircraft. Apparently it worked, though, because the B-36 had very low drag. The main drawback was that air for cooling the engines was ducted from intakes in the leading edge of the wing, and there was never enough of it, especially at high altitude.

The propellers were 19 feet in diameter, and to keep the tips from going supersonic they were geared to turn less than half as fast as the engines. The engines and propellers produced an unforgettable throbbing sound when the B-36 flew overhead. A friend of mine remembers the sound from his boyhood as a "captivating drone. The noise went down to your heels, it was so resonant. It just stopped you in your tracks. You looked up into the sky to try to find this thing, and it was just a tiny cross, it was so high." Others remember that it rattled windows on the ground from 40,000 feet.

The airplane's most eye-catching feature was the Plexiglas canopy that enclosed a flight deck, which, while ample for a crew of four, seemed small on such a whale of a plane. A dome below the nose housed a radar antenna, and two transparent blisters allowed the crew to aim the guns and observe any mechanical breakdowns. The effect was a face like a prairie dog's peering from a burrow, with the flight deck for eyes, the scanning blisters for ears, and the radome for tucked-up paws.

The ailerons, flaps, rudder, and elevators had a combined total surface area greater than both wings of a B-24. The pilot's control input moved a trim tab in the opposite direction, forcing the control surface in the desired direction. Two flight engineers monitored the six 4,360-cubic-inch engines, each with four rows of seven cylinders, a configuration that earned the nickname "corncob." The bombardier, navigator, radioman, and gunners brought the population of the forward cabin to 10.

You could visit the aft cabin by lying supine on a wheeled cart and pulling yourself along an overhead rope through a tunnel 85 feet long and two feet in diameter. The cart also served as a dumbwaiter, sending hot entrees from the galley to the forward cabin. The aft compartment accommodated five men and was equipped with bunks, an electric range, and the world's smallest urinal, which had to be voided to the outside at intervals. B-36 veterans like to tell the story of the new captain who came aft to relieve himself but didn't ask for instructions and, as a result, peed on his boots.

Later models had larger crews, up to 22 in reconnaissance versions. And everyone had a job to do--two jobs, in the case of the gunners. It took the ground crew six hours to prepare the bomber for a mission, and the flight crew needed another hour for a preflight check involving 600 steps, beginning with climbing the landing gear and removing the clamps that kept the gear from folding accidentally.

The B-36A couldn't fight--the electrically operated cannon were so trouble-prone they were simply eliminated--much less scramble to retaliate, and it ended up becoming little more than a crew trainer. Twenty-two were delivered, each virtually handmade, and "so flimsily built," says Jim Little, who served on one after it was converted to an RB-36E, "that the upper wing skin would actually pull loose from the wing ribs." Sometimes, Little recalls in the book RB-36 Days at Rapid City, "you would meet [the plane] with a crew of 30 or 40 sheet metal men."

The propellers were reversible for braking on landing, but sometimes they reversed in flight or while the airplane was straining to take off--at least once with fatal consequences. The stainless steel firewalls enclosing the engines cracked. The cylinders overheated. Lead in the gasoline fouled the spark plugs at cruising speed. Each airplane had 336 spark plugs, and after a flight lasting a day and a half, a mechanic would have to haul a bucket of replacement plugs to the airplane to service all six engines. The engines leaked oil, and sometimes a flight engineer had to shut one down because it had exhausted its allotment of 150 gallons.

Then there was the "wet wing." The outboard fuel tanks were formed by the wing panels and sealed at the junctions, and after the wing flexed for a few hundred hours the sealant was apt to fail. Jim Little recalls that one airplane leaked so badly "the ground underneath was just purple [from the dye in the high-octane gasoline]--it was raining fuel under that airplane."

Pilot opinion of the B-36 tended to run to the extremes, but most crew members loved it--"this big, wonderful old bird," Jim Edmundson calls it. As a colonel in the early 1950s, Edmundson commanded a B-36 group at Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane, Washington. But even he admitted that the airplane could be a chore for its pilot--"like sitting on your front porch and flying your house around."

Of course most of the pilots were young and eager, and the older men had flown worse contraptions during the war. "It was a noisy airplane it was big," former radioman/gunner Raleigh Watson recalled at a B-36 reunion at the Castle Air Museum in Atwater, California last September, "but it was comfortable, and I think we felt it was a safe airplane, a very well-built airplane." Moxie Shirley, a pilot with more than a thousand hours in the B-36, loved the airplane, declaring that it "kept the Russians off our backs." But he went on to add, "Every crew that ever flew that airplane had stories that would make your hair stand on end."

Ed Griemsmann expressed another view in Thundering Peacemaker: "A horrible, lazy beast to fly," he told the book's author. Griemsmann survived a fiery crash in 1956. Most B-36 crashes were fiery because of the magnesium used in its construction. Rather than fly another, he said, he'd join the infantry.

If the B-36A was ineffective, the Strategic Air Command was little better. Its first commander, General George Kenney, didn't believe in the B-36, arguing in 1947 that the bomber was too slow to survive over enemy territory, with engines and an airframe that couldn't withstand an 8,000-mile flight. Kenney urged the Air Force to put its money into bombers that could fly at the speed of sound, even if that meant depending on overseas bases.

Kenney was right, of course. But at the time, his advice seemed disloyal, and he compounded the offense by letting his deputy run SAC while he himself campaigned for the top job in the Air Force. Not long after the first B-36A arrived, Kenney was fired. SAC's new commander was General Curtis LeMay, the pudgy, ferocious, cigar-smoking general famed for his B-29 tactics in the Pacific and for the more recent and successful Berlin airlift.

"We didn't have one crew, not one crew, in the entire command who could do a professional job," LeMay wrote of the SAC he inherited. He challenged his crews to stage a practice bomb raid on Dayton, Ohio, from 30,000 feet, using photographs taken in 1941--the best they'd have for the Soviet Union. (All SAC had were captured photographs the Germans had taken during the occupation of western Russia. Of the country beyond Moscow, there were no photographs available at all.) After the fiasco that ensued, LeMay whipped the crews into shape. He moved the best people from other groups to make the nuclear-capable 509th combat-ready, then did the same for the next most promising group.

By the fall of 1948 an improved B-36B had arrived, armed with pairs of 20-millimeter guns in the nose and tail, and six turrets that opened out like flowers in a slow-motion film the gunners aimed from remote blisters. On December 7, the seventh anniversary of the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor, Lieutenant Colonel John Bartlett took off in a B-36 from Carswell Air Force Base in Texas, flew to Hawaii, dropped a 10,000-pound dummy bomb, and returned without being spotted on the island's radar. LeMay must have bitten through his cigar when he got the news. If he could reach Hawaii from Texas, he could hit the Soviet Union from Maine. And if he could figure out how to operate the B-36 in the cold of Alaska, all of Siberia would fall under its shadow.

The B model also had the "Grand Slam" modifications needed for carrying a hydrogen bomb, which was 30 feet long and weighed 43,000 pounds and had been created in such secrecy that Convair didn't have the dimensions in time for the A models.

The B-36B was the last true reciprocating-engine bomber in the U.S. strategic bomber force. In hindsight, it seems obvious that the mega-bomber should have been jet-powered from the start. But the turbojet had been developed during World War II for fast-climbing, high-flying interceptors, and they gulped fuel at a prodigious rate. Nobody dreamed they could cross an ocean. Two developments changed everything: a new generation of twin-spool turbojets with markedly improved fuel consumption and, more significantly, the advent of inflight refueling. By 1949, Boeing's B-47 Stratojet was entering production, and the B-52 Stratofortress, an intercontinental giant, was making progress on paper.

Even before the uproar started in Congress in the summer of '49, the Air Force was apparently worried about the vulnerability of the B-36, and as an interim measure asked Convair to hang a pair of jet pods near the B-36's wingtips. By March, a B-36B had flown with four Allison J35s installed. On the production versions that emerged in July, each pod housed two General Electric J-47-GE-19s modified to run on gasoline--tiny compared to the Wasp Majors, but effectively doubling the airplane's installed horsepower. The jets were employed for takeoff, climbing to extreme altitudes, and dashing across hostile territory. With "six turning and four burning," as the saying went, a B-36 could finally top 400 mph. But fighter jockeys were flirting with the sound barrier in their North American F-86 Sabre jets, and whatever the Americans deployed--nukes, missiles, supersonic jets--the Russians matched, beginning with copies and sometimes ending with improved weapons.

For the benefit of Congress, the Air Force then released what Aviation Week described as "sensational new performance figures" on the jet-assisted B-36D: 435-mph top speed, 50,000-foot ceiling, range of up to 12,000 miles. LeMay added his personal pledge: "I believe we can get the B-36 over a target and not have the enemy know it is there until the bombs hit."

Even George Kenney came out of exile from his post as commander of the officer training center, Air University, to praise the airplane. "The B-36 went higher, faster, and farther than anybody thought it would," he said, "and the pilots liked it. It was a lucky freak." However, Kenney guessed that both the U.S. Navy Banshee and the Royal Air Force Vampire could intercept the B-36 in daylight he recommended that it be used only on night raids.

On September 5, Aviation Week reported "Symington and Defense Chiefs Exonerated," as the House Armed Services Committee gave a clean bill of health to Johnson, Symington, the Air Force, and Convair. There wasn't "one iota, not one scintilla, of evidence. that would support charges or insinuations that collusion, fraud, corruption, influence, or favoritism played any part whatsoever in the procurement of the B-36 bomber," the committee concluded. Even Congressman Van Zandt voted for the absolving resolution.

At 4 a.m. local time on June 25, 1950, North Korean troops stormed across the 38th parallel. In November they were joined by Chinese "volunteers." These developments marked the end of President Truman's defense economy drive. First Germany, then Japan, then Russia, and now events in Korea had succeeded in advancing the cause of the B-36. Suddenly plenty of money was available for mega-bombers, and for super-carriers as well.

The Korean war produced another milestone for SAC: Truman released nine atomic bombs to the military. They probably didn't leave the country, but the B-36 did, flying from Texas to airfields in Britain and Morocco in the spring and fall of 1951. Only six airplanes were involved and their visits were short, but the message couldn't have escaped Moscow's attention. However briefly, the capital and most of the territory of the Soviet Union had come within the combat radius of the B-36.

Altogether, 1951 was a good year for mega-bombers. Margaret Bourke-White rhapsodized over the B-36 in a photo-essay for Life magazine, with photographs taken at 41,000 feet, where the sky "was a color such as I've never seen, the darkest blue imaginable, yet luminous like the hottest cobalt, too brilliant for the eyes to bear." She photographed fluffy white contrails streaming from the reciprocating engines, a 55-foot scaffold used to repair the rudder, and (from both ends) the marvelous flying boom that refueled bombers in flight.

An alert reader might have noted some oddities in Bourke-White's essay. The bomber being refueled was a Superfort, not a B-36, none of which was ever equipped for inflight refueling. She rode in a B-47, its raked tail clearly visible in one photograph. And the accompanying map depicted a Soviet Union surrounded by small bombers based in Alaska, Canada, Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Japan: the Peacemaker hunkered at home.

But if Superforts were on the Russian border, and if midair refueling allowed them to fly indefinitely, and with the Stratojet coming on line, why bother with the B-36? The jet pods had added so much weight and gobbled so much fuel that the combat radius had dropped first to 3,525 miles, then to 3,110. What was LeMay planning? From Maine, South Dakota, and Washington, the B-36 could barely scratch the edges of the Soviet empire, and even at those bases it faced hard sledding in the winter. At Rapid City, mechanics had to build a repair dock with sliding doors and cutouts for the fuselage so they could work on the engines while the tail stayed out in the snow. There were SAC bases in Alaska and Greenland, but the climate was so forbidding that LeMay never stationed any B-36s there. The Arctic airfields were used as staging points, with the bombers returning to the south 48 after each mission. Another ploy was the shuttle mission, with a takeoff from Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane, Washington. After bombing Irkutsk, in central Siberia, the bombers would have refueled at Okinawa before returning home.

But to do any real damage, LeMay had to launch it from an overseas base or order a one-way mission. He would have scoffed at this latter-day quarterbacking, of course. "The B-36 was often called an interim bomber," he wrote in his memoir, Mission With LeMay. "For my dough, every bomber which ever has been or ever will be is an interim bomber." He had a point: at the time, SAC even considered the B-52 nothing more than a fill-in for the supersonic B-70.

LeMay may have been loyal to his hardware, but there were signs that General Kenney wasn't alone in his initial doubts about the B-36. One scheme would have equipped it with a pilotless drone to fight off enemy interceptors. Then the Air Force experimented with a manned parasite--the XF-85 Goblin--which would ride to war in a bomb bay. Still later, Republic adapted its F-84 to snuggle into the belly of the beast. By 1953 this last concept had changed from one of defending the B-36 to replacing it: The mother plane would linger offshore while the Thunderjet dashed in to take photographs or drop a bomb.

Finally, in 1955, Convair took a different approach, stripping the mega-bomber to the essentials. Just as LeMay had gambled his B-29s in 1945, sending them low and fast over Tokyo armed only with tail guns, SAC got a "featherweight" B-36 with only two guns, a smaller crew, no stove or other luxuries, and, in the bargain, a longer range. Many of the earlier models were modified to the new standard, especially the reconnaissance versions. Indeed, it's possible that LeMay's fondness for the B-36 may have had less to do with its potential as a bomber than its value as a spyplane. SAC ended up with 369 of the jet-recip hybrids, including modified versions, and more than a third were reconnaissance bombers. The RB-36 could carry an atomic bomb, but its principal weapon was a camera the size of a Geo Metro, set in a photo studio that replaced the forward bomb bay. Loaded with a roll of film 18 inches wide and 1,000 feet long, this great camera once photographed a golf course from 40,000 feet, and in the contact print, on display at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, an actual golf ball can be seen. If an RB-36 could see a golf ball from eight miles up, it could see tanks, airplanes, missiles, and factories. Surely this was the task that LeMay saw for the Peacemaker: With its enormous wings and extra fuel, who knows how high and how far it could fly? B-36 crews speak of 45-hour missions, presumably with fuel cells instead of nukes in the rear bomb bays at cruise speed, a "featherweight" could travel almost 9,000 miles in that period. The official ceiling was 41,300 feet, but again, crews say that they routinely flew higher than 50,000 feet, and one man--John McCoy, quoted in Thundering Peacemaker--boasted of soaring to 58,000 feet. On missions over China, McCoy said, his RB-36 was chased by MiG fighters that couldn't climb anywhere near it. U.S. fighter pilots of that period also recall B-36s cruising comfortably well above their own maximum altitude. Not until the advent of the "century series" fighters--the F-100 and up--would the B-36 be challenged. Whether the RB-36 ever overflew Russia is anyone's guess, but it was the U.S. altitude and distance champ until the Lockheed U-2 came on line toward the end of the decade.

In the end, the B-36 turned out to be a place holder for the B-52 Stratofortress. Convair attempted to stave off Boeing's intercontinental jet bomber with the YB-60, which premiered as the YB-36G, with eight jets, a five-man crew, completely redesigned swept wings, a speed of 508 mph, and a 2,920-mile combat radius--in short, a knock-off that was inferior in every respect to its competitor. Boeing's bombers had the advantage of having been designed for jet power from the start. The Air Force didn't even bother to supply engines for the second YB-60 prototype.

Though obsolescent, the B-36 still had some momentum. Before descending into retirement, it made its first overseas deployment with a USAF unit in 1955, to Britain and Guam. In the same year, it starred in a Hollywood epic, Strategic Air Command--though in Jimmy Stewart's final scene with Frank Lovejoy, who played the LeMay-like general, a model of an early B-52 can be seen on the general's desk. The B-36 remained in the inventory for four more years, while the new Stratofortress was being tweaked to its full potential.

The B-36 was nowhere near as durable as the B-52 would prove to be, but it did the work asked of it. And eventually, the inter-service rivalry that led to the Congressional eruption over the big bomber's strategic mission died down, with the Navy's missile-submarine fleet garnering a permanent place in the strategic "triad" along with bombers and land-based missiles. Perhaps the best thing that can be said about the Peacemaker is that it lived up to its name. The B-36 never went to war, never dropped a bomb in anger, nor (so far as we know) even fired its cannon at an enemy airplane. Created at a time when the atomic bomb redefined strategic air power and the turbojet redefined performance, its career spanned the crossroads that divided two eras.

Avtor Daniel Ford wrote about the last B-29 raid of World War II in the Aug./Sept. 1995 issue.

Originally published in Air & Space/Smithsonian, April/May 1996. Copyright 1996, Smithsonian Institution. Vse pravice pridržane.


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