Quiet Moments

At heart I am a bit of a minimalist, and I do love a good photorealistic painting, which is why the late Jeffrey Smart has been one of my favorite painters ever since I first saw his work in Sydney back in 2003.

So it would come as no surprise that I look for similar-style scenes to photograph. It’s the precise positioning of every element in a Jeffrey Smart painting that I find most engaging. Unfortunately, the very mechanical nature of the photographic medium under normal circumstances prohibits such fine placing of the elements at least for someone of my Photoshop skill level.

Photography does have the decisive moment, but that’s more about capturing a fleeting moment, a slice of time as it flashes by. What appeals to me in this picture is its contemplative restfulness. We can see that this isn’t a fleeting instance of action but a period of quiet stillness, made visually enjoyable by what we know as the appeal of vertical lines, disappearing perspectives and frames within frames. But without what Kandinsky explained as the tension within the frame, a tension that’s supplied by the almost perfect positioning of the people, it would be a dull lifeless image.

If it was a painting it would be ­­possible to correct the problems of left leaning, but in a photograph, despite the wonders of PS, when you correct that problem, other dimensions change, so more work is required.

The end result would be different, more constrained image, and not a picture I like.

 

FujifilmX20, f5.6, 1/250sec, ISO200

Why Bother

I was asked the other day why I bother with experiments such as the posts on the 25th and 26th of September. For those who didn’t read the post, I’m trying to emulate old film style grain in camera with a modern digital camera.

But why?

Because for me it has always been about the finished product, not the medium and for my current project(s), that special softer grainy look usually only found in higher speed film is both what I like and especially what I want/need to make the thing work.

If you take the time to compare today’s image with that of the 25th it becomes obvious that getting that “look is not as easy as it would first appear.

Today’s image was post-processed to be high contrast grainy without going over the top, keeping it real you might say. But still, because the picture was correctly exposed there is minimal noise/grain, which when you consider that the picture was shot in bad yellow tungsten light at ISO12800, then it is both amazing and a bit dispiriting, because if, like me, you are after that soft edge and very grainy look that’s the predominant feature of high speed film, then normal exposure rules won’t work.

 

24-70mm, f7.1, 1/125sec, ISO12800

Prime Time

I would consider myself a very practical person, one who doesn’t buy things unless there is a real need and I’ve had this need for a 35mm prime for a few weeks now. I already own a 24-70mm f2.8 zoom, but it is so heavy I dread taking it out. It is a wonderful lens, but all that great glass weighs more than the camera.

I’m doing portraits on location and as a consequence I’ve learnt the joys of shedding excess weight in the kit bag. At the moment I have the kit bag down to 14 kilos, not bad when you consider this includes a camera, three lenses, a tripod, two stands, three speedlights, four light modifiers, plus ancillary triggers, batteries, etc.

My go to lenses are the 50mm and 70-200mm, but sometimes you just need something a little wider and I struggle to be enthusiastic about carrying the 24-70mm for those few times. So it had become incumbent on me to price a light-weight wide. An original Canon 35mm f2 is €560, a lot more than I was prepared to spend on an occasional lens, and then by accident I stumbled on a page advertising Yonugnuo 35mm f2 for €120, which seemed to be too cheap for a lens of anything but meager quality. Reviews on the net seemed to think it was passable for the price so I ordered one (I finally found it for €95).

Sure, it’s like stepping back ten years to the days when lenses didn’t have super quiet sonic auto focus motors, but the build is solid and it’s as sharp as I’ll ever need. I know the Canon lenes has all the latest developments including image stabilizer, but with usable ISO’s of 3500 I’ve never used image stabilizer and in worst-case scenarios (I will be in such a scenario tomorrow) I will usually default to a tripod or monopole.

This picture was taken yesterday in Dresden with the new 35mm, which I spent the day testing. I’m a little bit in love with it at the moment, but these things pass.

 

35mm, f2, 1/1250sec,  ISO100

 

if your interested in portraits my other site is;

https://peerlessportraitcompany.wordpress.com

 

Why Today but not Yesterday

I’ve always been intrigued in the how and why we/I choose images to either develop or exhibit (in any manner). What is the guiding factor and how do different sensibilities make for an interesting or boring set of pictures is a question that greatly interests me. I realize the entire process is very subjective and that a great many things play a part in the decision- making process, but knowing this doesn’t stop me being curious about it all.

When I shot this image last year I was thinking about it in colour. Later, when back in Berlin I processed the picture to exemplify the soft pastels that I saw at the time, and I was content. Today, in my mind I saw a different potential for this image and as a consequence developed it in a radically different manner (bottom picture), which I presume reflects how I’m looking at the world at the moment.

Thinking about this as I write, I realize that now there are more and more questions arising, not just about the way I chose to process the photograph in a specific manner but why was this picture the one chosen today.

 

Fujifilm X20, f4.5, 1/250sec, ISO100. I was asked whether the camera setting I use is Aperture or Time priority. Neither, the camera is always set to Manual.

More Reflections

While still deeply entrenched in the process of reorganizing my image library I never the less occasionally  take time out to think about a few of the problems photographers encounter daily.

So as a continuation from yesterday I offer todays image, which is a great example of shooting though glass without a polaroid filter. In this image it’s almost impossible to see which is a reflection and what is a part of the actual super structure.

In this picture I’m standing outside shooting in through the glass walls and there are reflections, but as of this writing I’m not sure which is which. I guess what I’m trying to say I, if you’re thinking of a buying a polaroid filter for this type of picture, then why bother, save your money.

 

85mm, f5.6, 1/125sec, ISO100

More bad dreams

This library organization thing is driving me crazy,

I feel like I’m drowning in images,

and so many of them are bad.

The rubbish I’ve shot over the years, it’s unbelievable, which is the down side of digital.

So many pictures.

So few worth keeping,

yet the ability to press the delete key, it escapes me.

Thankfully it’s weekend..

Shot in Hamburg straight after leaving the Sarah Moon exhibition.

 

50mm, f2.8, 1/30sec, ISO250