large format photography

I've been thinking about some subject matter for 8 x10 black and white work using the Cambo SC  monorail. These are difficult to use outside the studio, as they are bulky and heavy. Mine  has a large monorail that does not collapse,  and this  makes it difficult to carry in the field.   It is just not possible to carry this camera and the  heavy duty LInhof tripod very far.

Many large format photographers  address this problem by buying an 8x10 field camera that can be folded up in a back pack. I cannot afford a new one  of these,  and there are few second hand ones in Australia. I've chosen the  easy access by car option---that is, keep the monorail, drive to a spot,  unload the camera and then set it up. 

I did this picture of a Xanthorrhoea  (a yakka bush) as  part of a roadside scoping study that I was doing  with a 6x6 camera just before I left for the Tasmanian phototrip in March. The picture  works. Finally, I have something that I can work with and, being roadside vegetation,  it is accessible  by car. 

reconnecting

I've just returned to Encounter Studio in Victor Harbor, South Australia today after a month's phototrip in Tasmania. Suzanne is in Paris,  I'm looking after Ari, and the digitial suite has a new modem. The old one died during an electrical storm whilst we were in Tasmania.

I've linked up with an Adelaide-based  Art Photographers Facebook group that is quite lively and free wheeling and I've ordered a new digital camera to replace the old Sony  that was stolen in Melbourne last November. 

I've been  trying to reconnect with the  work that I was doing in Victor Harbor before the Tasmanian phototrip. To my dismay I've lost any sense of what I was working on or trying to do.  So I looked at the negatives that I had scanned just before I left for Tasmania:

I have to face it. I'm not sure that I had a particular project with the Victor Harbor book.  What was I trying to do with it I asked myself? I didn't have an answer. So what was I doing then? There has been a workflow but I've just been been taking snaps around several themes.

So where do I go from here?

Port Elliot

This part of Port Elliot is a much desired location. Big expensive architecturally designed housing is being built right on tops of the sandstone cliffs.  The houses have a commanding view of Encounter Bay. That's the way people like it. 

The sea around the rocks  is a  favourite spot for surfers and photographers. 

I'm more interested in the housing meets the coastline theme. I've had several goes at this, none of them satisfactory. It can only be done when the tide is very low. The sand is slowly going from the beach, exposing the rocks. 

coastal landscape

An earlier attempt shooting  black and white film, having  the negatives developed by Atkins Techniclour,  creating a digital file by  scanning the negative with an Epson V 700 scanner, then post-processing in Silver Efex Pro and Lightroom.  That's the standard workflow of Encounter Studios. It's a digital world.

I'm reluctant to do this kind of coastal landscape with film because I don't have any black and white filters  for the Rolleiflex SL66. It's a heritage camera--- circa 1980s--and I  really do need some  yellow filters  to highlight the clouds if I am to do this kind of landscape as distinct from rock abstracts.  The glass filters, however,  are really hard to come by.

I've been scanning most of the morning at Encounter Studio  and the results for the black and white negatives are not good. I  do not seem to be able to use the Silver Efex Pro software to recreate the effects of  the missing yellow filter in front of the lens.   So I am  left with very bland skies---just like the nineteenth century photographers. So I create a nineteenth century looking photo.

I appreciate that the Silver Efex Pro software is primnarily  for converting digital colour files into black and white.So  I'm going to have to do some research about post-processing software  for digital black and  white photography.

I know--its Photoshop---but I cannot afford  to buy it for both my Mac Pro computer in Adelaide and the iMac  in Victor Harbor. 

black and white

I've slowly returned to working in black and white and, in doing so, moving away from rock abstractions  to the scrub.  

It is easy to do when I'm using the  Rolleiflex SL66.  I can shoot in colour the scene in then switch to black and white  by  just changing the film back. It's slow black and white film--Ilford   PanF Plus 50 ---- that I use, as this camera is always used on a tripod.

The exposures are around generally 1-5 seconds as I take pictures in the early morning or just before  dusk  in the summer months. I was lucky this day as it stayed overcast for a couple of hours. So I raced back to the studio  and returned with the 8x10 Cambo monorail.  

I've always struggled with taking pictures of the Australian woodland, scrub or the bush. It is so messy and chaotic.  Then I saw Lee Friedlander's  pictures  of trees   from his flowers and trees series and saw how it could be done.

Here is an early attempt done just before  Xmas when I was down at Victor Harbor with Lariane  Foneseca,   a friend of Suzanne's who is a wonderful photographer. The melaleucas were on Rosetta Head, or The Bluff as the locals call it.

I   exposed a couple of  8x10 picture of these trees but I've yet to send the negatives to Blanco Negro  in Sydney to be processed. I'm inclined to return and do some pictures that are  closer up. 

roadside vegetation

I've started reading Jane Hylton's The Painted Coast: Views of the Fleurieu Peninsula in order to gain a sense of the visual history of this part of South Australia from the 1840s to the present.  The original native vegetation, which can be seen in the early water colours of G.F. Angas and H.P. Gill,  has long gone.

The region is now mostly farmland. The remnants  of the  native vegetation outside of the conservation parks can be found along the road side. This is now pretty thin.

I find the lack  of native vegetation and biodiversity rather depressing.

studio: yellow rose

The heat wave continues in Adelaide. 

 I'm doing more work in the studio--at the moment it is black and white shots of a clove of Russsian garlic. I'm decided to use up the expired Ilford FP4 125 ASA  film, which  came with the Rolleiflex 6006  system that  I acquired a year ago.

This is a rose from the garden at Solway Cresent. It was taken in 2011 with  Fujichrome Provia 100F using a Cambo studio stand.

I spent yesteday scanning 5x7 colour negatives on the flatbed Epson V700 scanner without much success.  The negatives were scanned without a film holder, as no film 5x7 film holders came with the scanner.   I used the film area guide  and they have a strong blue cast. I couldn't  restore the colour with the Epson software. It did not work at all.

Unfortunately for me there are  no 5x7 film holders  made for  the scanner. They only go  up to 5x4. I am converting some of the scanned negatives to black and white but I will have to invest in a flexible  5x7 film holder from betterscanning.

I can see why people make the shift to digital.

in the studio

During the high summer in South Australia it is difficult to take photographs.It is very hot and without the the cloud cover there is a very limited time at dawn and dusk to take photographs.

I don't fancy walking across rocks in the dark carrying large format equipment to have it all set up before dawn. Usually I have a location in mind and I  wait for some cloud cover to soften the very bright sunlight.

In the meantime  I make use of the studio. It's a simple set up: tabletop,  window light, closeup rings on a Rolleiflex 6006 , exposures of around 2-4 seconds, a 120 roll of  Fujichrome  Provia 100F and some fruit and  vegetables, such as this avocado.

erosion

It has been a couple of  months since I posted on the Encounter Studio's blog. Even though I'd been working on the Victor  Harbor book over the Xmas break I'd more or less forgotten about this blog. I only remembered it when I was  setting up the book's  gallery this morning.  

This is an picture  taken last year and it depicts erosion along the side of the Ring Road. I made a number of studies of this subject as I was attracted by both the shapes and the  colours.  

rockface: abstract 1

This is pretty much how I see the rockface in the coastal landscape just west of  Victor Harbor and around Kings Head.

It is  the constantly changing play of light on the rock forms along the coastline that caught my eye and intrigued me. I tend to see the rockface in terms of abstractions---organic abstractions, as it were. Abstract modernism in this  form makes sense to me as a photogrpaher. 

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