macro

The advantage  of using the Sony a7R111 with a 35mm Leica M lens and a Novoflex adaptor on the  poodlewalks is that I can photograph handheld in low light situations. The high ISO capability is something that I needed not all the tech  features as I use the camera in manual mode, as if it were a film camera.  It was still photography not video that I was interested in,  since video requires  expensive editing  software and it is a whole other world.  

The disadvantage of the Sony with a Lecia M lens is that I cannot do closeups of the objects that I see when walking along the beach or amongst the granite rocks.  I find this  frustrating as a lot of what I find  interesting along the littoral zone these walks  is in the detail. Photographing the detail   requires using a macro lens, which I do not have.  Up to now I use an old compact digital camera (the  Olympus XZ-1),  but I find the small sensor (10 megapixels) too limiting in terms of dynamic range,  tonality and  for post processing. 

So I have decided to use my old Sony NEX 7 camera that is sitting in a cupboard with a Voigtlander VM/E Close Focus Adapter, which   allows me to use  my Leica M lenses on both full frame & APS-C  Sony E Mount Cameras. I have just ordered the adaptor  from Mainline Photographics in Sydney.  It's a basic digital camera but this  combination provides me with the capability to do some handheld macro photography in soft light using a Leica M lens.

digital b+w

This is another in my low key and sporadic  experiments in  converting a digital colour file  made with a digital camera into a black and white image: 

The image of these granite rocks at Kings Head in Waitpinga  is soft and gentle,  but  it still has some tonality. What surprises me is that it is not  the usual muddy grey that normally  happens  when I have made  these kind of conversions from the digital  file produced by  my  older digital camera --a Sony NEX-7. 

I have found that the recently acquired Sony a7R111 is  much better in terms of producing a richer black and white tonality.  

scanning 5x7 colour negatives

I have an old 5x7 Cambo monorail view camera which I love using because of  its format, its lightness and mobility.     Unfortunately, I rarely  use it these last couple of years.  I did, however,  use it to expose  the last of the 5x7 Kodak Portra 160ASA sheet film that had sitting in the  fridge. This  happened was when I was in Swan Hill for the Mallee Routes exhibition at the Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery in 2018.   

This is the location photo of the early morning photo session at Pental Island. 

The reason for the infrequent use of the 5x7 monorail  is due to scanning problems, not the camera, and they arise because   I don't  have any  5x7 film holders to scan the colour negatives with. This is  due to the  Epson V700 flatbed scanner coming  with film holders  only up to 5x4. There are no  5x7 or 10x8 film holders.  Soup to now  I have been placing the colour negatives directly on the scanner's glass bottom and then scanning the negatives using the Epson area guide.   

The  scanning problems I encountered are  Newton rings and intense cyan images. The results are terrible,  and they are difficult, if not impossible to fix in Lightroom, for  many of the images. I have spent hours on the computer trying to produce a decent digital file. 

road locations found

After walking down a number of back country roads and scoping them over the past week in Waitpinga in the southern Fleurieu Peninsula, I have found a couple of locations  for a large format photo black and white session. 

One  is the junction of Tugwell and Wilson Hills Rd in Waitpinga with its little bridge across a little bit of a creek. This is the  location that I have in mind:  

This  is a late afternoon photoshoot since  the sun is directly behind us. I now have to wait for a calm day; or a late afternoon  with  minimal wind. 

photographing country roads

My frustration from the rushed Talem Bend photo session has mounted,  due to  the very gusty  northerly and south-westerly winds and continual rain  over the last 4 days. The frustration comes from these weather condition  making it impractical to make a  return trip to Talem Bend at the base of the Mallee Highway. It's 90 minutes drive time each way. 

Suzanne  suggested that  I make things a bit easier  for myself in using the 8x10 Cambo by starting to photograph around my local area.  I took her advice and I was lucky to squeeze a photo session of roadside vegetation in Waitpinga in one morning after a   poodlewalk with Kayla. This  just before  it started to rain. 

I realized afterwards that concentrating on  pictures of roadside vegetation was far  too limited,  and that  really  I needed to broaden my local  image making  to include the roads I travelled along by making them  more central to the photography.   Here was a good model.    

I decided to start this exploration off  by beginning with the roads that I usually  walk down whilst on the  poodlewalks. I needed to start with what I was familiar with.  The connection between walking and still photography  is crucial,  as it is on these walks that  I  see the possible subject matter. 

Road trip with 8x10 + poodles

I drove up to Talem Bend -the base of the Mallee Highway -- yesterday with the poodles --to continue working on the low-key  silo project  with the Cambo 8x10 monorail. The negatives from the previous photoshoot had been damaged. Hence the re-photography.  However, things didn't work out for me.

Since the light wasn't right at the silo around lunch time I decided to scoot up to Geranium to scope the silo  there, as I recalled it presented difficulties in photographing because of  the surrounding trees and bushes. It took me longer to return to Talem Bend than I'd allow for, so I was running out of time for the photo session. 

The conditions were what I wanted: overcast, soft light, no wind.  I  had limited time before dusk started  to fall, and  it just doesn't pay to rush  the process of setting up the camera when using an 8x10 monorail.  

more low light situations

One afternoon  in mid-July I was late going on a poodlewalk with Maleko.    As a result, I ended  up making my way back to the car  at the Petrel Cove carpark after dusk had fallen. It was another of those  low light situations   in photography,  and so I decided to test the low light capabilities of my  newly acquired Sony a7R111 as the  seascape at dusk looked quite luminous. 

This is a hand held  photo made whilst I was walking along  Depledge Beach towards Petrel Cove.  It was  after 5.30 pm  in  mid-winter, the sun had disappeared behind the hills,  and  the light was subdued.   

No noise reduction has been used on this image when I was  lightly post processing the digital file in Lightroom on the iMac.   There is no need,  as there was no noise.  

5x7 on location in Melbourne

This  photo is of my  old Cambo 5x7, and it was taken by Stuart Murdoch.   We were on location in North Melbourne in the late afternoon in May 2018.  I had briefly wandered over to the other side of the railway bridge  to scope the old  bridge and the city  with my digital camera from a different angle.  

We were in the process of making photos for the forthcoming  exhibition  at the Atkins Photo Lab for the 2018  SALA  festival and  I was using up the last  of my 5x7 sheets of Kodak Portra 160 ASA, which  I had purchased from B+H  several years ago.  

I  had started to  use the Cambo 5x7 monorail with colour sheet film again as I had finally stumbled on a way to buy 5x7  Kodak Portra film.    I'd  had discovered that  5x7 Kodak Portra 160 ASA is no long being sold as a consumer product,  even in stores such as B+H in New York, which is where I usually buy my film.   

As a result I  was facing an unplayable option: either  switching  to black and white film (I was already using black and white for 5x4 and 8x10),   or giving up 5x7 altogether.  Neither option appealed to me. So I  had stopped using the 5x7 monorail.  

Then I discovered that Kodak's 5x7 Portra sheet films are  available through  a special  order.  Canham Cameras offered such a service. So I ordered a box of 50 sheets and it will arrive towards the end of July. 

 Now to address the problem of scanning th5x7 colour sheet film,.. The only realistic option to avoid Newton Rings,  washed out coloured green hues,  is to have some 5x7 film holders custom made for the Epson V700 scanner. 

a training walk for the camel trek

Upon returning from the industrial photo session in Melbourne I went on a training walk  for the upcoming camel trek in the North Flinders  Ranges from Arkaroola to Mount Hopeless starting on June 19th. This is part of the extension of the Heysen Trail  and it is primarily walked by  wilderness walkers. 

My first  training walk was from Waitpinga Beach to Rosetta Head along the coastal and clifftop walking trail then the short distance to  home in Encounter Bay.  It took me about 5 hours, but this  included an hour of  photography on a rocky outcrop west of Kings Head. 

 I was trialing carrying a digital camera around my neck and   Suzanne's large Osprey pack that she used on her Walls of Jerusalem walk in Tasmania. I was also seeing how my feet stood up on the different terrain  of the coastal path. Neither the pack nor the digital camera around my neck worked, and my feet took a bit of a battering. So another training walk with  a new day pack with  the camera attached to the sternum strap on the front of the pack  is planned. 

returning to the Edgelands project

When I was  on a photo camp at Lake Boga, near Swan Hill in Victoria,  I was able to do  a bit of 5x7 large format photography. I haven't used this Cambo monorail  for some time, primarily because of  the difficulties I'd experienced scanning the negatives on my  Epson  V700 flatbed scanner. I found it easier to use the 5x4.  

This  was an early morning photo session on  Pental Island along  the banks of  the Little Murray River.  I'd scoped the location  on a previous visit.   

It was a return to the Edgelands project, which has been on the back burner for a couple of years.  I haven't known what to do with the body of work in this  project after the initial exhibition at Manning Clark House in Canberra in 2014, apart from  continuing to make the odd large format photo. I kept thinking about to continue with this project. 

One possibility that came to mind was to expand the project into a photobook I thought whilst I was on location at Pental Island     One possibility would be to produce a  second edition of the initial exhibition catalogue,  which was a picturebook with a mixture of word and image, by making it more open ended.  

The idea behind the second edition would be to make a photobook in which there is a tension between word and image,  the pictures rather than the text are the dominant  element,  and to emphasise  the meanings being achieved through the reader continuously moving back and forth between the text and image. What I would  try to avoid is having a single narrative or story so as to make it a more open  to a variety of interpretations.