a portrait

I  don't do portraits very often because I am not very good at them.

I also struggle with the lighting. I've been  using natural lighting from a window,  but I find that it  is too harsh and contrasty. I don't really have the studio equipment to do diffuse the lighting; or increase the lighting from above. 

a lucky break

It is over 40 degrees in Victor Harbor,  a hot north wind has been blowing since around 10am, and   the  forecasted cool change is slow in coming. I managed to do some photography early this morning for an hour or so, before the weather changed to the intemperate conditions.  

The pictures  were largely scoping studies for latter film shoots.  Normally I only see this part of the coast in the late afternoon when it is shadow, and I had several ideas that I wanted to explore in the early morning light.

website

I've started constructing a website or a gallery of my  photographic projects whilst I scanned and post-processed  some  8x10 b+w negatives.  It is very basic and minimalist  gallery at the moment.  I'm  slowly edit the images for the projects,  starting from the Bowden project in  1989. 

I eventually got sick of sitting in front of a computer so Ari and I went off on a photoshoot in the afternoon:

I was  reworking this picture. The tide was low so the location was accessible.  The gas cylinder had collapsed since my last visit a  couple of weeks ago.

abstractions

My b+w 8x10 negatives are on the way back to the studio after being processed by Chris Reid at Blanco Negro in Sydney. It seems that most of them are okay in terms of exposures and that only two sheets were fogged.

I've been going through some of my 2011 digital files  to dump the ones that are no good and to look  for ideas for the next 8x10 shoot. I was using a cheap Kodak EasyShare camera then  and most of the work t was playing around with abstractions  of dried saltponds  on the rock floor  at my feet. 

These salt pond abstracts are interesting  visual ideas, but they are in locations that  are too difficult to carry  an 8x10 monorail to.They belong to the sea abstract book. 

There is little work on visual  abstractions  in Australian modernism, even though modernism was meant to be the turn away from  visual figuration to abstraction. 

Abstraction, as it were, was a privileged space of visual modernism (eg., Kandinsky, Mondrian, Malevich). These artists made anti-materialist   claims that actively cultivated particualr forms of subjective transcendence from the practices of everyday life. It was  a retreat into idealism--self, mood, dream and spirituality---that ignored the social experience of abstraction.

A photographic abstrction needs to be premised on  photography's indexical  presence--the index is the name for the inscription of presence that appears to deny the evacuation of the figural in the abstraction.   

scoping for 8x10

Whilst my 8x10 black and white negatives are being developed by Chris Reid at  Blanco Negro in Sydney I've have been  looking out for, and scoping, more subject matter.

This picture is one possibility. The form is okay and it is  reasonably easily accessable  from the car park at Petrel Cove:

I  pre-visioned the picture  in black and white:

It looks okay. The rock face works better in black and white.

The problem  I have is that I don't have many other pictures  lined up  for the 8x10   apart from a  studio picture.

hard to find

I went searching for this "rock face" this afternoon and I couldn't find it. I found the area but I could not the rock. It was very different this time because it was heavily overcast, with rain threatening so  and there was no sunlight  on the rocks.

It's a minute section of some rock form on the foreshore. I was probably lying on on the sand to make it. That would make it rather difficult to reshoot with a large format camera, which is what I was considering.

This happens to me a lot. I take some snaps on a poodlewalk and I forget their location. Most are just a detail. I then spend ages trying to relocate the detail.

back on line

Exhaustive checks ended up with the conclusion that the electrical storm  of a week ago had caused   the studio's Fritzbox modem to frizz.   Surge protectors are useless for this kind of electrical interference apparently.   I had to get a new modem from Internode. The studio finally has  internet connectivity and I can now post online.

This is the second time a modem has been fried by an electical storm  this year. This digital storage and equipment  is nerve wracking. 

I've also managed to get my  old Lacie external discs properly formatted for the iMac. 3 years  of digital  files from  the digital cameras have  been backed up. The digital files of my film cameras have also been backed up.

Backup is making a duplicate copy to prevent a problem in the event of something like a computer failure. Archive is safe storage and at least one archive copy of your photos should be stored off-site (away from home).

I  now have two sets of backup at the studio--they have   already been backed up on a Netgear mirroring hard disc. So I  have three separate sets of my digital photos. This  double backup insurance  means that I'm feeling a little  bit more secure about  digital file storage  and hard disc collapse. I also have  the photos  on a Mac Pro  in Adelaide, which is also backed up. 

It's a  long way from the file cabinets, briefcases, safety deposit boxes and  the  fireproof safes of the analogue world.

The above  picture is  one of the ones that I took the day after  the electrical storm when I was walking  along the coast trying to make  more pictures  for  the  sea abstracts book. This project is not going well and  I'm frustrated by the failures.

cloud studies

An electrical storm swept through Victor Harbor on Monday night and the studio lost all internet and mobile connection. I suspect the electrical storm took out the modern. 

I was lost without the connection---after several days it still hadn't been restored. So I spent my time scanning  negatives from the archive.  

I managed to take some cloud photos  before the rain, thunderstorm  happened. The lightening was happening along the cliffs in the distance.  

There were  lots of people standing on the cliffs looking at the atmospherics,  taking photos of the approaching storm, and watching the pod of  dophins hunt for fish along the coastline. 

white rock abstract

It is  just a quick visit to Victor Harbor for the weekend.

I went  for  a quick walk along the  rocky seashore this afternoon  looking for rock and tidal pools that would be suitable for photographic abstractions. I had little luck. The ones that I took were very disappointing and  I deleted them from the digital camera.

I struggled, gave up,  and then  retreated to my comfort zone--rocks. The light was just  right was my excuse. However,  rocks forms are easier to handle than the movement of the sea. There is very little control with the latter. It's just hit and miss and its only  by chance that a Rothko style abstract would emerge.

I'm beginning to think that  my sea abstract project is going to be a difficult one to pull off.

solway rose

The roses were  in full bloom last weekend when we were down at Solway in Victor Harbor.  I couldn't resist taking a few snaps of the ones in the garden with the Olympus XZ-1 point and shoot:

Early morning light was best, just as the sunlight touched them.

Last year  I used to bring the roses  into the studio to  photograph them. The results weren't  all that great, as I was too slapdash with the composition and the lighting.