Showing posts with label column. Show all posts
Showing posts with label column. Show all posts


Monday Column which is Not a Column, It's about the Schedule

Many many times in a lifetime things just get complicated and/or overcrowded. Looks like that the very same situation happened to the blog's authors as well (albeit to each one due to different circumstances, but personal issues anyway). It thus became to us (Matjaž and me) a bit difficult to keep the blog running in the same manner as we have been for a few months so far. No, we are not shutting down the blog, only the posts will be updated somewhat less regularly as they have been so far. We hope you understand. But we also want to thank all of you who have participated so far-it was really a refreshing experience!
Oh, about the new scanner I got more than a week ago: yesterday I finally unboxed the whole thing...and tested a few mounted slides, but without playing aruound with the adjustments (in the scanner software). Below, there is a scan from a Kodak Elite slide (not Extra Color) made at 3000 dpi, slightly sharpened with unsharp mask (and reduced red saturation) in Gimp. Clearly, there is a lot of room for improvement in the scanning approach with this Plustek. Reportedly, the scanner does its best when scanning at the maximum 7200 dpi, then resizing down to 3200-3600 dpi. Trouble is, if you own a 5-year old computer like mine, it's just too slow to do the job done in a reasonable amount of time. So for now, I am just bound to use that scanner at some low to mid point of its performance- until I get a new PC.....yes, this IS consumerism!


Monday Column: Is Analogue Photographer not Hooked by Consumerism?

We all live in consumer capitalism, where big (and small) corporation by ads make our needs. As photographers we are targeted by the corporation which produces all sorts of photographic equipment. The pace of new products is higher and higher every year, but in the photographic markets with digitalisation is this trend even higher. Corporations make our needs of photographic equipment, by minor tweaks of existing stuff and advertising them as revolutionary change that you must have and that it would change our picture making from amateur to professional. When we fell for it (and we all in some sort of another do), then we are hooked by self propelling chain of consumer hell. Did your pictures, with your brand new revolutionary camera, look the same as they did with your old camera? Then you need the super new lens(es). Still not happy? Maybe you can improve them with new tripod, or some other accessory! Wait, your computer can not process the huge amount the new huge raw files of your brand new camera? Maybe is there an answer on the computer market for this (think fruit), you can get also a new version of your favorite software for editing your picture. And then you need the new printer to print bigger prints. Are still not happy with your pictures? Maybe the next year new revolutionary camera with missing features will improve your work! You get the point.

So, we get stockpiling “old” unused still capable equipment on our shelves, worthless for the used market in the case of the “old” used digital cameras. But what about analogue photographers? There are no new revolutionary products every year. The old cameras are those who are more interesting. We don’t leave them to collect dust; we repair them, lubricate and take them on photographic trips time to time. Just the right thing to get off the hook of modern consumer world... But if you need the new revolutionary scanner, you are on again!



Monday column: Photographic Subject of an Analogue Photographer

Photographic subjects are very personal thing and differ from a photographer to photographer. But are they different from, let say, a digital photographer subjects? Yes and no, I would say. Let’s say. Now days you will not shoot sports with analogue camera. Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t see much sense in it. Specific for shooting sports is high “frame rate” so you can get (catch) the perfect moment, so waste of film. This is why they invented digital in the first place. No, an analogue photography is all opposite than sports photography. It’s not about taking as much shots as you can get and hoping that you get the right moment. It’s workflow is slow and deliberate. You must have pre-visualised scene, and then you wait (if you have to) for the right moment.

But analogue photography is not about analogue vs. digital technique or convenience, it’s all about aesthetics. Aesthetics evoke emotions, so we can conclude that analogue photography is photography of and about emotions. What are most common photographs which include emotion? First thought is about portraits but we can add nature and landscape photography. Human portrait is all about emotions of another human being and landscape or nature is all about our emotions that we project outwards and then take a picture of it. But, you will say, that this could be done with digital camera also. My answer is that analogue photography has its specific look that it can be simulated by digital workflow but it’s only that, a simulation. Every film has its own signature, which it can be used to emphasize the emotion that we want to catch or message to say.

But this is only my vision of (analogue) photography. You may have (you have!) your own. Let’s take some photographs, catch some emotions and tell a story.



Monday Column: Photographic and Not so Photographic Trips

Have you ever planned a trip and, as all of us, who think about ourselves as a photographers, take with you a photographic camera of some sort? Of course you did. But on what kind of trip or voyage did you go. A family trip, business one, tourist voyage... Did you take with you almost most of your gear you own (camera, backup, several lenses, tripod, flashes, etc.) and then didn’t used more than one camera with one lens? Have you been ever found in a situation, when in company you were always last of the group and always waited, because the ordinary tourist view and snapshot didn’t meet your photographic standards?

If your answers are mostly yes on to those questions you probably have badly planned your trips. The kind of trip that includes all sceneries in one afternoon, it is not a photographic trip at all! The time is essential for the photographic trips. This means only one or maximum two different sceneries of a day. Preferably you visit first scenery in the early morning when the sun rises and other in the late evening when the sun sets. And around the noon is the siesta time for photographers. We all know why. Do we?

But when we go to a non photographic trip (and we all do them) as a responsible photographer we must properly equip. At all we all want some images from our voyages, no matter if it is business or whatever trip it is. At least I when I go to a trip that is not strictly photographic I try to equip properly, this means light. Only one camera and one lens, a rangefinder instead of a SLR, a smaller lighter, non intrusive option. But then once a year you must go on the photographic trip and take with you all gear you might need or think that you do. But this means that this trip is all dedicated to taking photographs, slow without distraction. This means no time limits, places to be seen in limited time, no people that are nervously waiting for you, no family who aspect your presence in the real world.

Last time I was asking about what photographic camera should I take with me on mountain hike. I knew that it must be light, because it would be just high pace mountain hike, not a slow (with a lot of time for taking photo) one. I finally decide to take with me Altissa Altix-n camera. Nice little “guess the distance” all manual rangefinder from former Eastern Germany. Maybe it would be better an SLR with wide angle prime, but it was very foggy and moist, and don’t know how would electronics in SLR I own would works in those conditions. So I’m pleased with my choice but I didn’t really have time or strength to really photographically enjoy this trip. But I was there, on the top, that is all it counts, at least for me.



Monday Column: What is an Analogue Photography?

Simply, it is not a digital one. Right? But at its core a ccd or a cmos is an analogue device, transforming photons into electrical charge and only afterwards its converted in digital file. But we all agree that this kind of photography is so called “digital photography” and not analogue (or analog in American English) photography. But large amount of analogue photographs after all is converted into digital files by scanning negatives. At least for on line presentation.  It’s a little bit complicated.

But leave philosophical matter about analogue vs. digital for another column in the future. Analogue photography it’s whole universe of diversity at itself. But what it is real analogue photography? Some would say that real analogue photography is when it is taken on some light sensitized material and that aperture and time this material is exposed to light is manually controlled. Other would say give me some film and any camera it would take it. Then it will take film to develop and printing to the local Quick lab. This is also an analogue photography. But what would you say about alternative processes? There it’s not already prepared film in advance, but you must prepare your own light sensitive material, you must do developing and also printing (if it’s needed) at your own. Are those processes more analogue than previous one? What do you think about? What’s your way to be analogue?

p.s.: About last column and which camera I took to the hike. I chose Altix. More about this matter in the next column.


Monday Column: The Right Tool for a Hill Walking Hike

This Friday my brother, I and our uncle will go hiking in the beautiful Slovenian Julian Alps. More accurate: We want to get to the highest mountain in Slovenia. This is Mt.  Triglav, 2,864 metres (9,396 ft) high. It’s a two day hike, first day up, sleeping in the Kredarica hut and the next day down. It’s a 2200 meters (7,218.2 ft) rise and then descent.
First mountain hut "Triglav temple" at opening 1871

Now, I’m a photographer. So I want to take a photographic camera with me on the hike. But it’s will not be an photographic excursion, As a contributor to this blog, would be inappropriate to take with me a digital camera (I admit I will be using a small P&S for snapshots... I’m guilty). So my dilemma is which camera to take with me to the hike? Why dilemma? Take your best camera you own or camera that you could give you the best performance, or the camera you prefer the most and enjoy shooting with? Hm... Probably the best camera, none the less of its simplicity, is my Russian large format camera FKD 18x24 cm or 7x9.5 in, with its wooden tripod. It would require a Sherpa to take it to the mountain top, but they are scarce in those mountains (satire alert!). Probably the second best quality would give me (loan from my friend) Kowa 66. This is a medium format 6x6 cm camera. Here is no need for help from Himalayas but it is large and heavy and bulky. Remember the rise? Much lighter and also with enough quality would be my Canon EOS 100 and some lenses. Lightweight would be with 24 2.8 and 50 1.8 lenses. But is also too much bulk, and I already explained in the last column what’s for me analogue shooting. I have only a small backpack and must take with me all necessary for two day trip and this season in mountains has already fell first snow... 

  Secovlje Saltpans shot with Agfa Isola 1
The most lightweight option would be my Agfa Isola 1 and Altix-n. First is a medium format P&S from late fifties and early sixties. It weight’s only 300 g. Problem is that the number of exposures is limited to only 12. And it has only one shutter speed (1/30 s) and only two aperture values: cloudy f11 and sunny f16, and quality of the lens is in the lomographic territory (I like it). The other option is a 35 mm fully manual “guess the distance rangefinder” with nice 50 mm f2.9 lens. But it lacks the mf look and it’s heavier.  

 Secovlje Saltpans shot with Altix-n

I must decide by myself but I want to hear your opinion. What do you think about my options and what would you bring to that kind of hiking from your arsenal?