Thursday, January 22, 2009


Kodak introduced a new color negative film recently, Ektar 100.  It is finer grained and more saturated than Portra 160.  These images are from the first roll I shot, walking around town on an overcast day with my xPan.  When we get those heavy grey days I tend to think B&W or a subtle color film, like Portra NC.  This Ektar seems to have done quite well.  There is more than enough saturation.  The film also converts well to B&W.  I tend to prefer B&W film over color film converted to B&W but I am really liking the way this film converts.  

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Nothing unusual here.  These are snapshots.  My youngest son at one of his college hockey games, his sisters, mother and the old guy he calls dad.  He recently finished up his enlistment, 6 years, special ops.  Now he's quite close to graduating from college with a degree in Geology.  A scientist, wow!

On camera flash, Aperture priority.  I failed to let it focus properly for one picture.  Pretty simple stuff.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I shoot a lot of B&W film.  I keep a Contax TVS on my belt usually loaded with a fast T Grain film like T Max 400 (pushed to 800) or T Max 3200 or Ilford Delta 3200.  I often have a slower emulsion film loaded into the xPan and have been known to waste a few sheets of 4x5 as well.  It only makes sense then to try the DP1 for B&W.  Bottom line is that I like it for B&W, I like it a lot.

When I bought a digital camera I went from shooting 2 rolls of film a month to shooting twice that many images a day.  The expectations I have are that I will spend about as much time per image as I did in the darkroom.  How foolish am I.  Instead I have all of these images processed just enough to see they have potential and then no further.  "I'll get back to them later."

The slowness "Problem" with the DP1 is conditioning me to once again think more and shoot less.  This thinking more is absolutely crucial for B&W.  It's years of looking at tones, shapes, lines etc and trying to determine how the B&W film will see the colors.  Suddenly with digital it's all about color.  Others such as my friend Dan Sniffin have advised me that I need to slow down.   They're right of course but hey...individual images are free after all aren't they?

These images were all shot in RAW, in color of course, processed in SPP.  The process I have been using is to de saturate the image in SPP and boost the contrast a little.  I try manipulating the Fill Light slider a bit but usually don't love the results.  I save the file as TIFF and have a look at it in Aperture.  Once again it seems that few of the Aperture adjustments (or CS3 adjustments) are really needed.  I'm at the start of the learning curve.  I'm thinking there are some really good B&W's in this camera.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

negative fill light

I was wandering in the rain tonight and came across a tavern that advertised "Aerialists tonight." It was early so I had a chance to look around the place, mid sized tavern with a very high ceiling.  Built into the rafters were some ropes, drapes and a small trapeze.  I found a spot in front of a 6 foot high jukebox which offered me a flat stable surface and a bit of protection from the folks who crowded in just before showtime.  

So many people squeezed in that I'm sure we were way over the fire marshal's limit and more kept coming in.  Once I put my arms up to situate the camera it was almost impossible to put them down again.  A pickpocket would easily have robbed anyone near but probably not have been able to get away.  

It's funny I suppose but a guy kinda bumped into me a couple of times and then looks at me and says, quite demanding "I'm trying to get through, EXCUSE ME!!!"  WTF?  "You'd better be able to fly then ass hole."

Oh well.  Couple of shots here.  It was very dark.  I was shooting full open, ISO800 and -2 or even -3 EV so either 3200 ISO or 6400 ISO.  None of my images are very good, the aerialists moved quickly and constantly but it is interesting to me how Negative Fill Light works here.  Top image AUTO in SPP, next image has negative fill light applied.  It seems to work the way a spotlight would have worked.  No particular manipulation, I did crop a bit to take nearbye heads out.  The 3rd image is just to kinda show the height of the ceiling.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Couple o fisheyes

Because I am a big fan of wide angle lenses I brought my Nikon with me to Zion, Bryce.  These 2 images are obviously fisheye, Nikons fine 10.5mm.  

In the Bryce image I am really drawn to the 2 trees.  Many folks consider the distorting of vertical lines as in the trees to be a fisheye "Problem."  I just love it and often look for ways to include it in my images...doorways, narrow hallways, whatever.  Oh well,  as they say in the car business,  "There's an ass for every seat." 

The second image always catches my eye when looking at thumbnails.  I've judged it to be a dud many times but still come back to it.  The subject matter is mediocre, the fisheye wasn't held level so there is a "U" horizon.  Unlike the verticals I kinda like my horizontals flat.  The image is poorly exposed,  washed out on the right...detail is sloppy.  Then it dawned on me, it's the red.  The leaves are kinda red, more like a reddish brown but red all the same.  Red does indeed have staying power.  As my friend John Barclay tells me..."If you see red, shoot it!"   Guess he has a point, or pernt dependent upon where you live.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Good Fortune

The later fall is an ideal time to visit many popular places, particularly in the south.  The crowds are gone and the daytime temperatures are not blisteringly hot.  The weather is a lot less predictable, but that adds to the excitement when things fall into place.

Zion NP in November, sunrise at the Towers of the Virgin.  Yesterday it was in the upper 70's and sunny, today it's cloudy, windy and cold (tomorrow it will snow).  As the wind blows the clouds around the sun briefly illuminates a small spot, then it clouds up, then another spot, then clouds up again.  I noticed that in addition to our group there were a dozen or so other photographers (2 with view cameras), all set up,  all hoping for some magic... nobody really expecting it though. 

The first shot above is of The Towers, interesting on a cloudy morning.  The second is the mountains and clouds behind us.  Then the sun shone through, turning the Towers golden for just a few seconds.  It was so sudden and for so brief a time I'm not certain that everyone there that morning was as lucky as I was. This was the only sun I saw all morning, what a great time for it.

I always carried the DP1 and usually the xPan.  This morning I was confused about lens choice so I also carried a Nikon DSLR with a couple of lenses.  I was lucky that I had the DP1 on the tripod.  The 1 shot I took with the Nikon (while the DP1 processed)  just wasn't the same.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The right place. The right time.

How often these words apply.  It seems that planning, preparation & persistence are just the first steps, luck either adds or removes the final piece.  While it's true that we need to be prepared for luck to help us,  we also really need it to help us.

On a photo shoot in Utah this past November, thinking we were on the road to Kodachrome Basin State Park my sister and I were actually driving into Bryce Canyon.  My watch told me that it was officially "O Dark-thirty," it was also about 31 degrees with a freezing rain/sleet mixture falling.   As we were about to make a u-turn we noticed a thin orange flame of a sunrise. Leaving the car on the side of the road, idling as I remember now, we grabbed a camera each and ran across the road, down into and out of the ditch, under tree limbs, over deadfall and reached the edge of the cliff with a few seconds of color left in the sky.  Very few.

As a result, a couple of minor scratches and these images.

Technical info.  ISO 50 -3EV. (f5.6 1/15 sec).  Processed without manipulation in SPP.