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Another Neat Thompson Pic


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#1 Hawkeye_Joe

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 01:57 PM

82nd AB Glider Rider....... looks like 1st Lt. and is wearing HBT coveralls.....

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#2 Z3BigDaddy

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 02:02 PM

Cool knife anyone know what it is?
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#3 Ron Mills

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 04:59 PM

Check out the hole at the end of the comp. Could this be the ultra-rare .380 Thompson? wink.gif
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#4 Eagle3

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 05:00 PM

Great picture,

Why does the comp look so flat on the end? Also the hole looks more 9mm than .45. Lighting perhaps?
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#5 1921A

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 06:11 PM

It's a "Hollywood" blank adapter.
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#6 21 smoker

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 07:04 PM

Bummer!!... huh.gif
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#7 gijive

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 08:37 PM

QUOTE (1921A @ Jan 20 2006, 06:11 PM)
It's a "Hollywood" blank adapter.

I don't believe it is a "Hollywood" blank adapter. If there are any photographers in the group, they will recognize that the picture was taken with available light and a very shallow "depth of field."

Depending on the film speed (light sensitivity) and the focal length of the lens on the camera, the photographer adjusted the aperture (adjusts the amount of light through the lens) to a wide open position to allow the most available light, without using another light source, i.e. flash, etc.

A large aperture creates a very shallow "depth of field", meaning what areas of the picture are in focus. Look directly behind the soldier and you will see that the foliage is slightly out of focus. Notice that the muzzle end of the Thompson and part way down the front grip is also slightly out of focus, even the drum is in soft focus.

The only part of the subject matter that is in sharp focus is the soldier's face, which means the photographer adjusted the focus on his manual camera right on the soldier's face. He did that to avoid a shadow on the face under the helmet rim which would have looked completely black if he had used a higher aperture setting, allowing less light to expose the film. Old time photographers knew how to size up the composition of their subject between light and dark areas to arrive on a setting that would result in the best photo. The remainder of the uniform and area around the soldier looks slightly "washed out" because he had to allow enough light in the lens to capture the soldier's blackened face. If the rest of the photo was in perfect contrast, the soldier's face would have been too dark to see any detail.

The depth of field in this picture is only about a foot or so (the area in relatively sharp focus) meaning he used a "slow" film (less light sensitive) and a large aperture opening.

This phenomenom caused the muzzle end of the Thompson to be severely out of focus making the opening look smaller than it really is. Couple this with the light reflecting off the worn area of the compensator and it creates an unnatural looking muzzle opening.

It's a real picture and a real Thompson. If you don't believe me, do a Google search on aperature settings, shutter speed and film speed's effect on "depth of field."
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#8 TSMG28

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 05:10 PM

gijive,

I agree with you photographic information (being a shutterbug for some 40 years), but I still respectfully question the authenticity of this photo. The end of the comp is a bright ring with an opening that is simply too small. Even if you chalk up the bright ring to reflection or over exposure, the radiused edges of a standard comp should not produce that distinctive and consistent a ring for the full diameter of the comp. I can also not figure a way the opening would appear so much smaller but still be a perfect circle. Light can certainly do strange things in photos, but this one just doesn't feel right to me.

Add to that the presence of the drum magazine being used by someone who is purported to be Airborne, and it just doesn't add up. I am certainly not an expert on the equipment that was used in WWII, including the changes that occurred during the war, but I would be surprised to find someone from the 82nd Airborne toting around an L-drum in combat.

FWIW....
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#9 Hawkeye_Joe

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 05:51 PM

I said he was a Glider troop. And this was a posed training photo showing the use of Camo. It might be that the Thompson is blank adapted.

"Camoflagetraining.jpg"

And Airborne had L Drums early in the war just like everyone else.

82nd Airborne 505th PIR inspection display in North Africa

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#10 dalbert

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 09:32 PM

gijive,

I have examined that picture for many minutes, and I agree with you. Your photographic description is accurate. I believe there may be just a tiny bit of motion at the very end of the muzzle, and it is overexposed. Look at the end of the comp by itself, and it appears like a slightly oval "life saver."

Even though I still have a few months left under 40, I would consider myself an "old school" photographer compared to just about everyone else these days. While I never ran around with a Speed Graphic, I bought my first 35mm manual camera in Panama in 1976, and have been hooked ever since. (I just bought a Canon 20D last month.) I had a black and white darkroom for several years, and currently have some color darkroom equipment that is available for sale. If anyone is still interested in color darkroom photography, let me know. I will make you a great deal on a bunch of stuff.

Anyway, the picture is intriguing. If it's not a regular compensator, then maybe we just discovered an ultra-rare Thompson grenade firing device. blink.gif

If you take a look at the second picture posted by Hawkeye Joe, the comp in the picture also appears more square than normal. Contrast and exposure in black and white photography can be tricky to the eye.

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#11 gijive

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 09:43 PM

QUOTE (Hawkeye_Joe @ Jan 23 2006, 05:51 PM)
I said he was a Glider troop.  And this was a posed training photo showing the use of Camo.  It might be that the Thompson is blank adapted. 


TSMG28 and Hawkeye Joe,

I refer you to the picture just posted by Board Member Motocar on January 21, 2006 showing his reworked 1927A1 Thompson.

Look closely at the picture he took showing the compensator and look particularly at the .45 rounds in the drums in the background. It is the exact same effect that happens in the WWII photo of the front end of the compensator. The shallow depth of field coupled with the light reflecting at the right angle off the bullet noses causes them to appear as small round circles. They are completely distorted by the combination of effects of lens, focus and lighting.

The picture has all the earmarks of a genuine period WWII photo of a real Trooper. Whether the picture was posed or not is irrelevent. The light sensitivity of the large format sheet film used during that period, the manual aperture settings and available light reflecting off the compensator are what is causing the distortion. Why would the U.S. Army have made a phony compensator for blanks for a picture posing? Besides, the restrictor has to be tuned (the size of the restricted hole) to the power of the blanks being used and the restrictor is normally threaded into the front of the barrel. It wouldn't do much good to have the front of the compensator reduced to increase gas pressure, while leaving the slotted openings on the top of the compensator for all the gas to escape. It wouldn't build up enough presssure to operate the gun.

It's a real photo, posed or not, that is distorted by the effects of reflected light.

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#12 gijive

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 09:50 PM

QUOTE (dalbert @ Jan 23 2006, 09:32 PM)
I have examined that picture for many minutes, and I agree with you.  Your photographic description is accurate.  I believe there may be just a tiny bit of motion at the very end of the muzzle, and it is overexposed.  Look at  the end of the comp by itself, and it appears like a slightly oval "life saver." 

Hi Dave,

You're right on. The muzzle may have also moved slightly while the picture was being exposed, which would increase the effects of the distortion.

I did a lot of black and white photography and dark room development during my early days with the police department. They were great sharp focus cameras, but the old black and white photography could be deceiving depending on the point of focus, large aperture opening and light source.

The large format black and white films make for great pictures with a real "period" feel.
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#13 Zamm

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 02:56 PM

My opinion, for what it's worth.
The photo has been retouched.
Not an unusual thing to do at the time.
If the photo was going to be printed in a magazine, then "dot etching" would have been employed,
the pre-press adjusting by hand of halftone films for litho plates.
Even if it was a large format negative that was going to be printed as a B+W photo, negative
retouching was common.
With depth of field distortion, I believe the hole in the barrel would have been larger and more out of focus if anything. And the burnout, or "specular highlight" of the comp. end is way too even. You can see the original curve of the compensator end abruptly between the 1:00 and 3:00 position on the right side/front.
Just looks like a bit of darkroom magic to my eye. Nothing wrong with it, been done for years, now we do it with computers smile.gif
But only one way to tell = look at the oringinal.
Best, Z

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#14 gijive

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 03:37 PM

QUOTE (Zamm @ Jan 24 2006, 02:56 PM)
Even if it was a large format negative that was going to be printed as a B+W photo, negative
retouching was common.
With depth of field distortion, I believe the hole in the barrel would have been larger and more out of focus if anything. And the burnout, or "specular highlight" of the comp. end is way too even. You can see the original curve of the compensator end abruptly between the 1:00 and 3:00 position on the right side/front.
Just looks like a bit of darkroom magic to my eye. Nothing wrong with it, been done for years, now we do it with computers smile.gif

Zamm,

Interesting theory and also quite possible. My point was that the photograph was of a real soldier and gun, posed or not, and that it was very unlikely that the military would go to the trouble of pinning a blank-adapted compensator to the barrel of a servicable weapon.

I agree that the highlight on the front of the compensator does look too even, but the photo example I posted of the highlights of the bullet noses also look pretty symmetrical. Anyway, you are quite correct in that many large format negatives were touched up during that period. Maybe the glare from the compensator was so distorted on the original negative that some darkroom technician decided to make the distortion more like the muzzle end of a gun.

Good call and good eye for detail.
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#15 Zamm

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 04:40 PM

gijive,

Oh yeah, I agree with you also, that sure does not look like a blank adaptor ( take a look at Vic Morrow's Cutts, man it looks like a 12 gauge bore! smile.gif

Take care, Z
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#16 Ron Mills

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 10:00 AM

Vic's gun with that big comp, yeah. I remember seeing that gun in other places too, like on "Rat Patrol", and I think the old "Untouchables" movie from the 60's. I've seen pics of the big, ugly square blank adaptor too, as we all have. Now THOSE looked weird.
It is interesting how "focus" can really change an image. I'm siding with GI Jive.
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#17 Zamm

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 12:43 PM

Phil,
And here we are, 50 years later, re-touching the retouched photo biggrin.gif
Best, Z

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