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Tag: photography

The Guide: Artwork by Clement Price-Thomas

Wow – I love this!

A friend’s brother’s just won an art prize and when I initially looked at the video (distracted, sorry), I didn’t really “get” it. Half way through it hit me – great idea, beautifully executed and recorded with restraint. Tip: look at the leaves…

Anyway, Clem won the Celeste Prize in the Video, Installation, Sculpture category. Nice one. Here’s the video…

The Guide from Clement Price – Thomas on Vimeo.

Amsterdam images

Just updated Flickr with some images I took in Amsterdam while at the IADS conference.

I managed to get a couple of hours’ wandering done after the conference and was lucky with some bright, early spring weather: low sun, nice contrast and best of all wonderful wandering weather.

I took a stroll up to the Central Station and then walked along the river/waterfront before cutting back through the station.

I used a combination of my two favourite films atm – Fuji’s 800Z Pro for colour and Neopan 400 for B&W.

The scans were done as ever by the nice folk at Panther Digital but, with the difficulty of getting really solid, contrasty blacks on the 800Z I’m thinking that perhaps it’s time to do a little scanning at home (yes, I know I said I would never do it AND I sold my Nikon scanner ages ago and now wish I hadn’t… Sigh. Moral of the tale – never sell anything!).

More film scans now on Flickr

My travels with a near 30-year-old camera continue: my tired but still lovely Minolta CLE from 1981-ish.

I had a great time in Paris last month with the camera on my first day, but since then I’ve put a few more films through it. The results have been variable and I have some learnings to share…

1) very fast film (high ISO numbers) has been disappointing. The 1600ASA Fuji stock I used in Brighton caused problems in scanning (bit soft) and also in the way that iPhoto displays the jpegs (seem to block and smudge, but when examined at 100% in Photoshop or Aperture, the grain was in focus and clearer, but still not great). The perfect film so far for the grey winter days has been the Fuji 800Z Professional film. I think I’m in love.

Here’s a shot from the Brighton shots to show the grain, colour ‘bloom’ and general lack of punch:

If I’m being kind I can see that the lens is resolving well enough, but straight from the scanner it’s lacking some of the kapow and oomph that the Paris set had.

2) Older Leica lenses aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. The shot above was with an old Leica 28mm Elmarit-M 2.8. Not a bad lens in anyone’s bag, but lacks the contrasty punch of the 40mm f2 Rokkor that comes as standard with the CLE. I really wanted it to be brilliant (especially since I’d swapped an Xpan body for it!) but it just didn’t do it for me. Annoyingly, the amount of Aperture-twiddling I needed to do to in post-production rather spoils the point of dev&scan.

3) The new Leica aspherical is just lovely.

This is from the Regents Park set: Fuji160 film and the 28mm Elmarit-M 2.8 ASPH. It’s a dinky, wee little thing and it’s brought back the ‘punch’ and contrast. Look at this image at the original size and you’ll see that the scanner’s managed to get more of a ‘grip’ on the negatives – you can even see the water marks on the surface of the negative. Resolving power is wonderful and the delicate handling of out-of-focus parts (eg the little boy in the sand) is just beautiful. I’m in love. Motto – always read Ken Rockwell before buying a lens! Interestingly, after the Leica rebate this lens is the same price as a 20 year old second hand inferior one and now a worthy swap for my 10yr-old Xpan.

3) My CLE over-exposes. Routinely, by about a 1/3rd to half a stop. I’m not sure whether it’s an artefact of the metering pattern (I don’t really like averaging systems – I loved the 12% weighting of the Nikon F3, and everything since then is just not quite right). I’ll run a few more films through before I commit to adjusting the ASA dial, but it’s worth knowing.

4) The absence of some features are truly a pain. Why no AE lock? Surely, simple to implement (and existed on other cameras that shared the CLE’s electronics). Also, a nice reminder in the viewfinder of having set exposure compensation would be nice… Still, not annoying enough to warrant the expense of a Leica M7 😉

5) You need to think carefully about the film stock and how you’ll use/process it. I’m taking a lazy approach, aiming for zero intervention: C41 commercial process, machine scanning, import and upload. A bit of tweaking on saturation and the black/shadow level is all I’ll do. Anything else is a) not true to the Cartier-Bresson decisive moment and b) if I’m going to mess around twiddling I might as well do a different approach!

I’m trying to settle on films that have the cool tones of Fuji film, excellent edge contrast (works best on the web) and good tonality. Fuji800Z is wining on the colour front. It may help that the lab, Panther Imaging on Clerkenwell Road, use a Fuji scanner. Then again, it may not.

B&W has been disappointing with HP5, but the Fuji Neopan 1600 was just exemplary. I slightly overexposed to capture highlight detail and then adjusted -1/3 in Aperture and couldn’t be happier. That won’t work for the summer though…

The main reason to obsess about this (apart from it being an obsession, naturally) is that you need to “know” how the image will turn out in advance. Unlike digital (where you can shoot, chimp at the screen, fiddle and reshoot), you have to see the image in your head, plan and expose – knowing the combined effect of exposure, film behaviour and standard scanning effect. That’s why it’s fun 🙂

So, I have a few trips planned in the coming weeks – to Amsterdam and Manchester – where I’ll have a couple of hours to wander the streets and take some more shots. I’ll update my impressions of the CLE and the tiny lenses, and also think I’ll be concentrating on the Fuji 800Z and HP5. Not quite sure what I’ll do once Spring is sprung – faster films will blow out the highlights pretty quickly, so I’m interested in any advice for a ‘summer film’ stock…

CIPA Specifications Guideline for Digital Cameras

DPReview has a link to the new guidelines for the “Specification Guideline for Digital Cameras”. Currently in draft the document carries the collaborative weight of Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Panasonic, Sony and others.

Currently the only topic on digicams is the infernal megapixel level – an annoying and largely irrelevant metric when the camera has high noise, terrible compression algorithms and a shutter lag measured in geological time!

Standards – to ease comparison and make key features visible – are always a good thing and it’s cheering to see an industry body taking the initiative here.

JPG Magazine: Brave New Photography

[via the excellent Publishing 2.0]

My, how I like this business!

So – it’s a photography site where “pro-am” photographers can upload images on the current theme. So, it’s “social” and “web2.0” since other website users get to vote on the images they like best. And it’s multichannel because the “winning” photos are printed into a tasty-looking art-mag which is then for sale. The photographers also get paid if their images are printed: not masses, but hey – we’re ‘pro-ams’ and our mums will finally see us ‘in print’.

The site saith:

JPG Magazine is for people who love imagemaking without attitude. It’s about the kind of photography you get when you love the moment more than the camera. It’s for photographers who, like us, have found themselves online, sharing their work, and would like to see that work in print.

JPG is a magazine. It’s published 6 times a year by 8020 Publishing. Check out the back issues. The photos in the magazine come from you!

JPG is a website. Here any photographer can join and upload photos to their member page. You can also submit your photos to issues and themes for consideration in the magazine.

JPG is a community. JPG exists because of, and exclusively for, photographers like you. Without you, we’re nothing.



I’m going to file this under “ideas I wish I’d had and acted upon”.