two studies

I have been struggling with a bursitis shoulder over the Xmas break  and, as a result,  the photography  has been minimal. It has been limited to what I could do on the morning and evening poodlewalks along the coast. I avoided walking in the bush due to the brown snakes. As I could only carry and use light weight  cameras, the  photography has consisted mostly  of macro with  some  scoping for large format photosessions in the future.  

This macro of quartz on the side of a granite outcrop, which  was made  with my  old  Sony NEX-7, an old Lecia Summicron 35mm lens and  a  Voigtlander VM/E Close Focus Adaptor, raises a question:  could I make a 5 x4 version using a telephoto lens?

I am asking this because over the Xmas break I have been looking at some of  the seaweed photos made by Peter Dombrovskis, which are in the  Dombrovskis: Journeys into the Wild, exhibition at  the National Library of Australia (NLA). The kelp photos are stunning. Likewise the granite  the  sandstone and the quartz studies. These are wide angle views,  close ups and low-contrast light.  This collection is  wilderness imagery with a sense of sublime terror with its roots in  the nineteenth century. This body of work is definitely not nostalgic kitsch, an idealising  falsehood, or an eco-porn generating desire for touristic or vicarious consumption.   Nor is it premised on an equivalency between visible and unseen worlds.

place-making

Place-making is usually associated with urban design in the sense of it being a community-driven process for designing public spaces (streets, sidewalks, plazas, squares, campuses, parks, and so on) that are mixed use, host a variety of activities for diverse audiences, and are well-connected to the larger city or town. The overall aim is to strengthen the local community  

Place-making is what the Victor Harbor Council is doing with its upgrade and renovation  to Ocean Street to counter the decline of the local shops along the town's  main street as a result of  shopping  shifting to the Woolworths mall named Victor Central.  This placemaking is making main street more attractive to tourists --building the city brand  through  revitalising the town and increasing  its  liveablity.  

However, place making is also possible through stories, art works,  or photos.    These representations  are what express the importance of the place for the self or help to develop a sense of place. The arts  place us in time, space, and community in ways that encourage us to be fully and imaginatively present in a variety of contexts: the natural world, our homes, our worshiping communities, and society.

macro revisited

In the light of the considerations in  this  previous post   about the limitations of the Sony a7 R111 and the point and shoot Olympus XZ-1  I went ahead and ordered the  Voigtlander VM/E Close Focus Adapter. As mentioned in the earlier post, this adaptor enables me  to use  my Leica M lenses on the  old Sony NEX 7, thereby giving me with the capability to do macro photography  whilst I am on  the  poodlewalks.  

 I  used a Summicron 35m f.2 lens that was on my old Leica M4, and so I was able to put together a macro camera without outlaying too much money.   I had purchased the M4 in Melbourne in  the 1970s, but it  is badly damaged and not functional.  

macro

The advantage  of using the Sony a7 R111 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.