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Archive for July, 2010

Well I went back again and believe I got it right this time. I’ve been taking pictures of this old barn for weeks now — different time of day, different cameras, different lenses and different films. I went out on my bike this past Monday about an hour an a half before sunset. I took a half a dozen pics…

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This image is the best of the lot. The air was crisp and clear and the lighting was perfect. There’s more contrast here than in my previous evening shots of this subject and the light isn’t as harsh as the high contrast lighting in my late morning shots — a happy medium. The angle of the light picks out the details and I prefer this composition over all my previous efforts. Enlarge the image to get the full effect.

I used my Nikon N8008s with a 35mm AF lens and yellow filter. The film was Fuji Neopan 400 rated at ISO 640 (for development with Diafine). High shutter speeds (up to 1/8000 sec) allow me to use this film in bright light without having to close the lens all the way. I think I used f/8 for this shot.

I’ve been testing ACROS and Neopan 400 because I got a terrific deal on 10 rolls of each film and I’m looking for a replacement for my Ilford FP4+ (too expensive). ACROS is nice stuff but I’m leaning toward the Neopan 400. I enjoy available light photography and ISO 640 is fast enough if I use a fast lens. And I can shoot the same film outdoors in sunlight.

Drop on by The Weekend in Black and White, especially if you are a monochrome maniac. There’s lots links to some great monochrome photography. And some of the monochrome maniacs still use film like I do.

PS — If you look carefully you’ll see two black specks to the left of the silo. They are birds. I noticed them when I was cleaning up a few spots on my digital scans. They’re too far away to ID but they are either hawks or crows.

PPS — Seems Blogger is having more problems with comments coming from WordPress blogs (like this one). I keep getting a strange error bX-ywtyjz. I’m not the only one either. I can’t post comments to your blog using my WordPress ID so I’ll use my unused Blogger ID instead. Blogger’s commenting routines are terrible and now they are worse than ever. I’m glad I dumped Blogger for WordPress. There’s no contest.

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I’ve been carrying my camera with me wherever I go these days. I had one of my Nikons with an orange contrast filter mounted on a 50 mm lens. I had  just climbed into my car for the trek back to my mom’s house. I saw an image so I put the window down and…

To tell the truth, I wasn’t thinking of reflections at all when I took this picture. The clouds were the main attraction (along with the strong lines of the building). I was surprised when I saw the reflections after I developed and scanned my film. I managed to include nature in this photograph of the man-made. Can you imagine this image without the clouds? I can’t.

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Well, I finally finished the roll of film I’ve been working with. Here are two pair of images of the same (as close as I could manage) scenes shot under very different lighting conditions. The first image in each pair was shot in the evening about an hour before sunset, the second image was shot mid to late morning when the sun was much higher in the sky. The direction of the light shifts by over 180 degrees so the shadows tell a much different tale.

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I put this image first because it’s an evening shot of the same scene I posted last week for The Weekend in Black & White. The light is much softer here and the mood shifts 180 degrees along with the shadows. The contrast is lower and the mid tones are more pronounced. The focus shifts from the path and strong shapes of the image below and reveals details that were hidden in the high contrast shot.

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Here’s the image from last week. I liked the portrait orientation for this scene.

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This is another evening image but with a landscape orientation this time. I wonder if this is the better of the two evening scenes? It does help focus attention and shows more of  the barn where the details are revealed in the soft evening light while the rows of corn and the path are partially hidden in shadow.

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Here’s the same scene in the contrasty morning light. I show this image for comparison but I don’t like the way the silo is so close to the upper edge of the frame and I think the portrait version is a better image.

I used a different film (Ilford FP4+) for the evening shots while the morning shots were done with Fuji ACROS — films with much different characteristics.

Morning or evening? Portrait or landscape? The differences are striking and the discoveries an adventure — an adventure that I will continue because it’s so much fun.

Drop on by The Weekend in Black and White, especially if you are a monochrome maniac. There’s lots links to some great monochrome photography. And some of the monochrome maniacs still use film like I do.

PS — All of the images were shot with my Nikon F3HP and an old ai’d Nikor-H 50/2 lens. Nice combo.

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I was rummaging through my color negative archives looking for macro photos when I came across a series of photos I took six or seven years ago (who can remember?) during a snowstorm. The way this summer has been baking us with the heat, I thought this would be a welcome change of pace. And color no less!

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This shot was taken from the arcade of the building where I used to work in Phila. on the corner of 9th and Sansom looking east down Sansom Street.

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Here’s another shot from the same arcade looking north along 9th Street toward Chestnut Street.

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I took this shot outside the front entrance of the building. Interesting distortions. The buildings are certainly not leaning. There’s not much light so I was probably using my trick of holding the camera strap out tight to get a slow exposure. When I do that, I can’t see through the viewfinder and must rely on a bit of luck.

All of these images were taken with my little Olympus Stylus Epic that I carried with me most of the time back then. It’s a 35mm film camera with good glass (35mm/2.8).

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I dug through the old to find something new. I found a Fuji Reala color negative from a roll of film that I shot way back in the Spring of 2001. This was when I first got back into photography after a long hiatus, but before I began using color transparency film exclusively for my macro shots.

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This is a shot of a single branch from a barberry bush we once had in our side yard. I always liked this image but had forgotten about it until today when I went through my old color negative archives.

I scanned the neg with my Minolta Scan Dual III powered by VueScan software (highly recommended). Then I switched to my editor, Picture Window Pro (PWP).  I cropped the left and right edges of the image from 4 x 6 to a 4 x 5 proportion, boosted the saturation about 10% and applied two rounds of USM sharpening. The first was a local contrast enhancement using a small amount (20%), radius = 40 and zero threshold. The second was 50% with a radius of 2 and zero threshold.

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Just for kicks I decided to do a B&W conversion. I like it. I used the monochrome transformation with a green filter in Picture Window Pro, then I tweaked the contrast using curves and gave the image another sharpening with USM (not too much). The green filter darkened the berries nicely.

Which version is better? I like both.

I took this picture before I got my F3. I used a Nikon FG, probably my 100mm lens (I don’t remember now) and a cheap tripod. The FG is a nice little camera but not suited for serious macro work because you can’t stop down the lens to preview depth of field and the mirror has no lock up either.

The frustrations I went through early on led to my decision to buy a used Nikon F3HP on eBay. I got a good one at a good price not long after I took this picture. I’ve never once regretted the purchase.

I’m going to dig into my old color negatives again over the next few weeks to see what goodies I can find. I shot so much color negative film back then (in the beginning) that I don’t remember what I have. It will be fun.

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This week’s image is from the same roll of film (Fuji ACROS) as the two shots from last week. I rescanned the roll at a higher resolution yesterday and edited the image using Picture Window Pro. I’m much happier with the result.

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I’m attracted to this old barn and silo and keep returning to it time and again. This image was shot with a normal (50mm) lens on my F3HP. I like the viewpoint of the 50mm lens. It renders a scene much the same way our eyes see the scene. This shot was taken a few weeks ago during the morning. As you can see, there’s not a cloud in the sky and the sunlight coming from the left is very strong.

I think I managed to tame the contrast this time. There’s just enough detail in the shadows and the highlights aren’t blown. I’m getting to like this ACROS stuff. I also think the high contrast helps the strong geometry in this picture.

I went out on my bicycle this evening. It’s been much too hot to ride during the day. The evening light was lovely and I stopped to take a few pics of this same scene. The sun was low on the right so the shots will have a much different mood. I’m eager to find out but must wait until I finish the roll of film.

It’s a lot of fun to make many images of the same subject using different lenses under different lighting conditions. No matter how many times you return to a scene, you’ll never get the same picture — and that’s a good thing.

Drop on by The Weekend in Black and White, especially if you are a monochrome maniac. There’s lots links to some great monochrome photography. And some of the monochrome maniacs still use film like I do.

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Have you ever met a toddler who didn’t love their backyard pool? Me neither. Here are a couple of shots featuring our twin granddaughters, Maddy and Livvy that I took a few weeks ago.

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My wife told me that the first word out of Maddy’s mouth each morning when she wakes is ‘pool.’ Here she is (we think it’s Maddy) driving around the big pool in her ‘car.’ This image has the best reflection.

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I took this one earlier in the day when the girls were splashing about in their little blow up pool.

I was using my 35mm lens all day. I didn’t bring any other lenses so I could travel light. I do like this lens for landscapes, but I would have preferred my 50mm or 85mm lens for these shots. Either lens would have softened the backgrounds. A sunny day with high speed film meant that I needed a very high shutter speed (1/8000) and I still had to stop the lens down.

I couldn’t get as close as I liked for the first shot (I cropped instead) and was perilously close to the splashing girls in the second.

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