Posts from the ‘Black n’ White’ Category
Last week there was a discussion with Ray where I talked about my approach to a subject. Taking multiple images, looking for different ways to get to the ‘truth’ or at least a useable truth about the subject as I see it. All the while I was writing that response, I was thinking about this shoot, the one shown on the contact sheet above, where I walked around this tower near my house armed with my F100, a roll of Delta 100 and a ZF.2 50mm Zeiss lens.
Each frame has a number with year_month_date_ roll_frame (murphy’s law is in effect here, normally I number as I just described but this roll was missing the roll number, sigh). I every case where there are multiple exposures of a subject, I am normally playing with either focus or exposure.
So, Ray asked me to change the color of the comments text. Fair enough, because I had actually never seen the color of the comments text, and when I looked at it, I was aghast at how hard it was to read.
So, I went into my theme settings, and discovered that the color of the comments text specifically wasn’t set-able. Then, I remembered that when I had set up this theme, I had a student of mine (ahem, yes, a student helped me set this theme up) had hand-altered some of the theme’s settings because the calendar at the right didn’t have the right color for the days in that month when I had posted. What probably happened was that when he altered the days I had posted, he inadvertently altered the color of the comments.
So I started poking around and proceeded to f**k the child theme altogether (don’t know why) so I had to go to this light version of the theme. Which is not bad, mine you, and at least the comments are now READABLE (again, 1,000 apologies) but, as you can see in the calendar, those days I posted are now Un-readable (white against a white background) which pretty much confirms that that student hacked the theme and hard-coded those days to read the way they do now.
I do have a recent backup of the site but also need someone to help me fix the alterations to fix the comments font color only.
Anyone out there up for giving me a hand?
To keep myself occupied over the Christmas vacation, I rented an E-M1 for a week. This is a quick holiday snap with Clarity at -100 just for that dreamy look.
Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays / Love to all!
I’ve been in Ireland the last few days and one thing that immediately strikes me is the quality of light. This far north the angle of the sun in the sky is very low, and with the cloud cover it has an interesting light-box like effect. In this image I’m looking right into the sun about 2:30 in the afternoon or so.
There’s a preset in Silver Efex I use quite a bit of the time. I’d say that the majority of my shots posted here make use of that preset to a greater or lesser extent. I wonder what that says about me.
From a technical film development perspective, I tried Xtol diluted 1+2 on this roll, and, at least in the scans, it accentuated the grain in an ugly way (to my eye). I had to use negative clarity on this image to get the clouds to even look sort of ‘ok.’ Not gonna do that any more.
I rented a camera to experiment with, and it arrives tomorrow. We shall see what I learn about myself this week. Nexty week, there’s a trip planned to London and Dublin. That will be interesting, too!
Howth, Ireland, October 2013.
Last post I briefly mentioned a new camera; this image is NOT from that camera. I’ll talk about that beastie in a future post, but first I wanted to elaborate a little on this idea of ‘fun.’
- I do not need to make my living from photography. That means the decisions I make about equipment and such are outside the incessant internet debates about equipment, digital, ‘best,’ ‘worst,’ etc. The worst thing that could happen to me if I make a mistake in any fashion is that I lose a little time or cash. No biggie. I don’t lose a client, for instance.
- If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d become like Lloyd Chambers or Michael Reichmann, someone who cashed out doing something else and gets to play all the time with toys they love.
- That does not mean I don’t care about becoming a better photographer. On the contrary, when I’m not working, I spend the majority of free time thinking about, reading about, getting better as a photographer.
- Taking photos gives me great joy.
- Taking photos brings the memory of the dad into my mind; not every time I snap the shutter, but often. That alone makes the adventure joyful. I grew up in a home where there was a medium format camera in the fridge along with rolls of un-shot film. My dad was also a painter, and he and his sister would sit on the phone talking about their passion, which was making art. And cooking.
- I love the challenge of trying to capture ‘something.’ Some ‘thing’ that makes an image more than a snapshot. That thing is often difficult to describe (whoa, wait a minute, impossible to describe) accurately, but I Keep trying to get there.
- But, all that said, photography is just really, really, really fun to me. I do it because it brings me joy. I fool around with cameras because they bring me joy. I shoot mainly film because it’s just a tidly-bit more fun than digital.
There ya go. Lots coming. Today a rented a camera for a few days next week to ‘try ‘er out.’ We’ll what happens then, eh?
This was one of the first frames taken with a new 35mm film camera I recently bought from the ‘bay. I just thought I’d share it before I go into a great deal of depth about the camera and how I landed with that decision.
I just liked the light on the birch tree.
I am grateful for where I’ve been and where I’m going.
I am grateful for my beautiful wife, the best person I have ever met.
I am grateful for my family.
I am grateful for my home, a place of peace and tranquility.
I am grateful for photography, as it allows me to express myself without the need to satisfy anyone but me.
I am grateful for all my friends in the photographic community, especially my friends in the photo-blogging world, whose work inspires me every day.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
So, given what I wrote in the last detailed post (see what I did there? I used ‘detailed’ instead of ‘wordy’) I wanted to examine my options. On a business trip, I recently found myself browsing the stalls at B&H photo in NYC. I saw the open spot on the shelf for the Nikon DF, tantalizingly empty as I wait for it to be filled on Nov. 26. But, more important to this ongoing discussion, I was able to look at and handle many cameras I had been considering as I began to revitalize my kit.
Just to review, nine months ago this was my kit:
Fuji X-Pro 1 (with various lenses)
Canon FTb (with various lenses) and sometimes a Nikon F100 (with almost no lenses).
Voightlander Bessa R2a (with one lens)
Mamiya 645 (with various lenses)
At that point, I started examining my options, looking for ways to lessen the overall number of cameras I had and maximize the number of options I had to use Zeiss lenses (which I loved). Note that I *could* use Zeiss lenses on my X-Pro 1 (one of the things I really liked about it), but couldn’t on the Canon system. I used the Bessa for the street, the Canon for lots of other things, and the Mamiya almost not at all.
Then, last spring the FTb dropped and the brass body dented beyond a simple repair, and I began this process of figuring out what my long-term strategy was. I was committed to rangefinders (and, in fact, upgraded in that area to the Ikon and am selling off my Bessa).
My fascination with the F100 grew, as I loved the way it handled, and over the summer I played around with Nikon AF lenses (my first real journey into that sea, and the image above was shot with the F100 and the 14-24 zoom). I came away with some conclusions from that experiment, and I’ll get to them soon in a future post.
So, I’m in the middle of this process, and I’m standing in B&H, and I decide to sample what’s in front of me.
I looked at all the following cameras in search of this operational feeling of flow, of disappearance of the camera I described a couple of posts ago. I touched and worked with the Panasonic GX7, the SONY NEX 7, the The Olympus OMD-E5, and the Olympus Pen with viewfinder.
The Worst of this Bunch: OMD-E5
Man, I actively dislike the way this camera feels in my hands. On the day I decided to go with the X-Pro 1, I had first picked up this camera, and I had an aversion to it. Liked the X-pro, disliked the E-M5. Still the same way. Too small, too cumbersome. Maybe the files are beautiful, I don’t know. Maybe the highlights roll off smooth like ‘buttah,’ maybe they do. But this camera is not for me. I wanted to handle the E-M1, but it was off someplace else on the floor.
Middle Ground: NEX-7, GX-7
These two cameras were both surprisingly nice to handle. Partly, I believe, because they were not ‘pretending’ to be an SLR, but were just trying to be who they were. I liked the viewfinders in both cameras very much. I was surprised by this. Additionally, the focused like lightning. Well, not as fast as Nikkor SLR lenses or anything, but much, much faster than the Fuji lenses.
Handling these two cameras made me a little jealous. Now, they WERE small, mind you, and I’m not sure that something that small would be good for me long-term, but they had a pleasurable feeling upon first handling them, which is important to me. That’s the way my F100 felt upon first grasp, and that’s the way the X-Pro 1 felt first time, and those instincts have never let me down before and I’ve learned to trust them. These two cameras were impressive, and of the two, I actually was leaning towards the NEX-7, which totally shocked me. The Panny was no slouch, though.
The winnah: Olympus Pen
The feel of this camera was in the same league as the GX-7 and the NEX 7, but what it delivered hands-down was the viewfinder. Oh my gosh, this was luscious and large and glorious to look through. If I was shopping for a m4/3 camera today, I’d get this in a heartbeat. Focus was fast, it has the same engine/sensor as the E-M5, but it’s all about the viewfinder, baby. I loved this viewfinder the way I love the viewfinder on my Zeiss Ikon. It makes such a difference.
I didn’t expect the PEN to win this discussion, and yet the experience of handling this image-maker really sold me.
But I’m not really interested in this camera as my next digital purchase. If I hadn’t committed to Fuji and the image quality there combined with the adaptors and possible lenses, I’d consider the PEN. It’s that good.
Next time I’ll tell you what is going to be my next digital purchase.