Tag Archives: monochrome

Film is not dead (1)

In February, fairly big photographic festival, called Exposure Photo Festival is held every year in Calgary, Canmore and Banff. That is the time, I drive around and walk around, and visit photographic exhibitions as many as possible. One thing I noticed about Exposure Festival is so many photographers still use film and exhibit their very unique images. Especially this year, I guess about 70% of the exhibitions were photos from conventional film. It is amazingly high percentage.

The other news related to film is Fujifilm received Academy Award in 2012. The development of archival film, ETERNA-RDS by Fuji Film was recognized as significant contribution to movie industry for preservation of valuable motion pictures.  I thought this technology is basically for classic movies; however, the fact is recent movies digitally filmed, too, have been converted to this technology for long lasting preservation. I always thought digital is the ultimate method to preserve images, but it does not seem true. What a paradox!

So I and some of my friends, Craig Taylor, Heather Simonds, and Samantha Chrysanthou had a little film development session  in January.  While I was brushing up my knowledge of film processing, I found many techniques I have not tried. Then I saw the photos processed by different techniques in the Exposure photo festival. They made me think what being creative means to me. Images by film usually stimulate me more for sure.

Sam is checking the film she has just developped.

Heather’s first attempet to load medium format film to a development tank in a darkbag. It took 15min. Not bad for the first time-:) Mamiya 645pro, Ilford FP4 B&W film. Scanned by a flatbed scanner, which reraly impress me.

Next time, I will share some of Heather’s and Craig’s photos.

Need your help (3) – Color or B&W – Bow Lake

Eventually, I have decided to put my images to Flickr and 500px. So I can share “okay” images which are not good enough to put in my web-site. So I need your kind help now! Please let me hear your opinion about which you like better between the 2 images below. I cannot select one for the portfolio in my website. Top one is color obviously; the unique part of this shot technically is shutter speed is fairly long, about 3 min achieved by Lee Big Stopper filter. The other one is Infrared B&W, one of my  photography styles. Please click the images for the larger views.

 

A melancholic snail 1

Melancholic – Bow lake – color

A melancholic snail 2

Melancholic – Bow lake – B&W

I will talk about the LEE big stopper filter some time.

A Socky Sock – Worth it!

Spring has come and I revisited my favorite location in Kananaskis, Alberta on the Easter weekend. The lake was still covered with snow, and it was too early to take picture of the icy lake. One morning after shooting sunrise, I found a little pool, which was covered by ice and snow. But nice blue colored water already appeared on the center of the pool. I tried some different compositions. And eventually I found very interesting composition.

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21mm lens. HDR processed with Photomatix. But still natural feel, I think.

But I knew the mountains turned orange around sun rise time. So question is…if the mountain in this image is orange sunrise one…it must be really cool shot. I grabbed my 4×5 field view camera and rehearse setting up for the shooting next morning. By the way, for who are not familiar with view camera, setting up a view camera takes usually over 20min since it allows many different adjustments by bellows technique. (Imagine the vertical and horizontal perspective control in Photoshop, plus depth of field, you can control these things with a view camera. Don’t you think it is cool?) It worth checking set up before big shooting. I left tripod mark like male dogs do; now go back to my car, have breakfast, call to youth hostel to extend stay, and take a morning nap.

Next day, I was so excited while driving in dawn; I was, however, so shocked when I arrived at the pool. It was supposed to go down to -5C at night-time so I thought it was fine in the morning. But ice was melted over night and the pool became much bigger. No way I could achieve the composition I wanted. Anyway, I set up my tripod and 4×5 in the pool as far as I could manipulate the camera. I was struggling with the situation; the sky was getting brighter. Then suddenly, I noticed my foot was in sherbet water. Actually, Ice could not hold my weight and cracked. I could save my camera from being dropped in the pool, but I had to run to my car and got to look for a sock and spare shoes. While I was changing, I saw the mountain reflecting beautiful orange sun light. No time to tie shoelaces; just ran back to my camera quickly. I got to set up the camera again. Somehow, I could manage one image from my 4X5 view camera but missed the fun bellows technique part. Damn!

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Woodman 4×5, Fuji 90mm, Velvia 100F scanned with Epson 750v scanner.  BTW I miss Kodak E100VS.

Well, I could not get the perfect image I expected. Is it really that bad? It may be true that Goddess did not smile at my shooting but I could feel that spring was truly coming. I had just witnessed small changes the mother of nature creates every day. That is why I go back to mountains. It is a real pleasure of the nature photography, isn’t it? Also, I got a good excuse to go back to this place next year, my favorite and secret place.

If you want to know about field view camera, here is another blog post by Samantha Chrysanthou. This is fun to read.

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Autumn color – Lake O’hara

My hiking outfits for photography

Roll over the rule of thirds!

Eaug(9)(11), this truly unusual chord is the one that a famous British rock group used in one of their songs. I wrote about consideration of Rhythm and Light in my previous post. This time let me take the occasion to talk about composition since there was a discussion about composition in one of my photos.

As you may know, the Rule of Thirds is considered to be rule of thumb for composition in photography. I do not have to explain what the rule of thirds here since I think readers already know what it is. About one and half years ago, I traveled to Jasper and was taking pictures at Patricia lake. The water was very quiet and smooth. It was perfect condition to shoot reflection images of Mt. Pyramid. And below is the image I got in the morning. Typical landscape photo based on the rule of third composition.

Then I had a little conversation with a lady who was a professional photographer from Sweden. She showed to me her images which had just taken at the same location with her Nikon D3x. Her image taken by her fisheye lens had Mt. Pyramid on very bottom of the frame and majority of the frame were occupied by interesting shapes of clouds lighten by beautiful morning light. I would say it is rule of tenths composition. It was eye-opening for me. I had not thought about such a way to compose images.

Unfortunately, the moment was gone at the location so I wrapped up the morning shoot. But while I was driving after breakfast, I saw an interesting cloud pattern on the lake. I picked up the widest angle lens, 21mm, and attached polarizer to the lens. This is the photo.

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I used layering technique to control contrast, which is the same technique  used for multigrade paper in darkroom.

So what was the discussion about this photo? Some people think the clouds were too dominant in the image, on the other hand other people think it was fine since
the clouds pattern was main subject in this photo. What do you think? Do you think bottom image is more interesting, or do you prefer top one?

My point is the rule of thirds does not make an image interesting. It may be safer to get ribbons at contests, though. I personally do not think about the rule of thirds; I tend think about leading lines and combinations of the shapes in a frame. For a power point, I use golden ratio rather than the rule of thirds. Darwin Wiggett wrote an very useful article “Break the rules” in Outdoor Photography Canada issue 12 Winter 2010.

By the way, which rock group used the wired chord Eaug(9)(11)? It is The Beatles. The song is “All I’ve got to do” in Album “With the Beatles”. Beatles music is full of unusualness and surprises. Roll over the rule of thirds!

Infrared Photography

Infrared photography has become one of the significant artistic expressions for me. Modern digital cameras are equipped with UV/IR cut filter inside of the camera body. Contrarily, older generation of digital cameras or my camera do not have the UV/IR cut filter. The IR is actually an enemy since it causes wired color cast. So I have to attach IR cut filter in front of the lenses.  However, by switching the UV/IR cut filter to an IR FILTER, my camera turns to an infrared camera. Some other ways to achieve  infrared photography are:

  • Modifying DSLR to remove the UV/IR cut filter from the camera. 
  • Some of Pentax DSLR achieve the IR images electronically.
  • Using IR films, Freestyle Photographic Supplies carry the IR films.

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This is the shot I took in Kananaskis, Alberta. You see very black sky and white clouds. Most characteristically, the forests on the lake shore turns white. It would be dark with regular B&W.

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Nature Photography – Luck and patient(2)

Here is the continuation of the last posting, and will talk about the image I received 2nd position in the monochrome competition.

I had a weekend trip to Kananaskis country in Alberta in early June this year. In the afternoon, it became cloudy and eventually I got shower. When I was driving in the rain, I found a lake over woods on my left side. I retuned my car to the parking lot and decided to wait until it stopped the rain. Finally, the shower was over but the sky was covered by thick clouds. Anyway, I started walk around the lake shore, then I found the stump. Somehow, it attracted me so much. I felt “I may be able to do something with my flash even though I can’t good light”, so I went back to my car; picked up whole my equipment including my 4×5 camera.

I was trying some different lenses, composition and technique, but I had to wait until the sun came out from the gap in the clouds. What was even worse, it was pretty windy so I could not get good reflection on the surface of the water.

This is okay shot, but see…messy clouds and waves on the water.

I had taken about 40 images of the stomp and the lake. It took about 1hr. The sun came out again; the water was calm; clouds were more formed. And good surprise! A piece of ice was flowed next to the stump. Then I got this infrared image.

Mud Lake

To capture one image, I think, I had stayed at the same location for over 2 hrs since I parked my car. Is this unusual? I would say “No”. It may be depends on shooting style of a photographer, but I heard many episodes of nature photographers to wait for hours or even days until the right moment comes. Got to be patient! How many times I see the moment after I put away my tripod…. Seriously!

Nature photography – Luck and patient (1)

Surprisingly, I achieved one-two finish in the foothills camera club monochrome competition. Although it is the competition by a local camera club, it makes me feel good.     

The B&W image is the last shot on my lake O’hara trip at the end of September. After 3 days of rainy days, eventually, I got a blue sky… it was a beautiful blue sky….boring blue sky…I need some cloud patterns! I guess photographers are kinds of species who are never blessed. Anyway, while I was hiking up to the Opabin circuit, I found this location. But the sun was already up high. I took some pictures but they are not even close to “okay”.

You know I mean…the blue sky is boring. This is a  HDR image  and I used LEE Big Stopper filter to calm the wavy water. But I failed to bring punch in the image.

I took whole day in the Opabin circuit until the sun disappeared. It was around 05:20 pm. The last bus to a parking lot is 06:30 pm. I rushed to the camping site because I left my tent and I had to pack it up. When came back to the location where I found in the morning, It was breath-taking…nice side light, mirror-clear surface of the water, now some cloud in the sky. I spoke to myself “which photographer misses this shot”. I quickly set up my tripod and camera, and took 5 color images, then took other 2 shots with infrared set up.

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I think I was lucky…only 7 shots for about 10 min from setting up to leaving the location, and I got this gorgeous image. What I learned from this experience? …COME BACK LATER…light is more ideal in evenings, and usually you can expect some clouds near the horizon. I will talk about the patient part next time.