tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Encounter Studio's photoblog 2019-06-17T13:55:45Z Gary Sauer-Thompson tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1420866 2019-06-17T01:21:04Z 2019-06-17T13:55:45Z at Claypans in the Murray Mallee

I recently made a small roadtrip  in the early winter to the Murray Mallee of South Australia to make some photos for the Mallee Routes project.  The blurry  plan was to follow up on  what I had briefly scoped with a digital camera on a previous trip.  

In the late afternoon on  the first day I  used the 5x4  Sinar f1 (with a  Schneider-Kreuznach 75mm Super Angulon)  to photograph an old, run down   caravan standing  amidst the  ruins  of a limestone  cottage in  Copeville. After the  photosession   I set up an overnight  camp in a nearby limestone quarry, as my plan was  to photograph a church at Claypans the following  morning.  

I  then discovered that I'd forgotten to pack my sleeping bag  to put inside my  swag. How in the hell could I forget to pack my sleeping bag? It was winter and the temperatures drop in the Mallee at night-- down to 2 degrees centigrade.  Despite the red wine  it was a dam cold night sleeping in  my clothes inside the swag.  Never again. Suzanne, my  better half, who is an experienced  bushwalker, says that I need to make a list of what I need to pack,  rather than throwing things together at the last minute,  as is my custom.    

As can be seen from this  early am photo  of the landscape at Copeville  from the top of the limestone quarry, the next morning  dawned with some extensive  cloud cover, so things were looking promising for the Claypan photo session.  late119th/ I wandered around the quarry photographing (6x6 film and digital),  had breakfast in the sun, packed up the camp,  then set off for Claypans in the Subaru Outback.  

I wanted to photograph the church at Claypans in  b+w in the open shadow and  in flat light for  the absent history section of the upcoming 2019 Mallee Routes exhibition in December  at the Murray Bridge Regional Gallery. My plan was  to use the 8x10 Cambo   to make  the image  look like a late 19th/early 20th century views photos,  and to use  the Sinar f1 to situate the church  firmly within the Mallee's agricultural  landscape.    

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1415876 2019-06-03T02:22:40Z 2019-06-03T11:51:46Z photographing in the winter

Now that the  5x4 Sinar is finally  up and running I have started to think about  doing some  black and white photography in the winter.  Given the long exposures required in low light,  it  would be  tripod based work  that can only be realistically  done in specific conditions--basically no rain or showers  and with little coastal wind.  

This black and white version  of some coastal granite formation in the early morning light  is one possibility.   I  had scoped these rocks  with the Sony a7 R111 digital camera, just before the first winter storm hit the coast of the southern Fleurieu Peninsula.  It was a very pleasant late autumn morning. 

This granite formation  in the winter light would be suitable  for  the Sinar f1 and the Schneider-Kreuznach 75m Super Angulon lens (multicoated). I could easily carry the camera gear and the  carbon fibre tripod  over my shoulder to this location, which  is just  west of Deps Beach.   I could walk there before sunrise with Kayla  on a poodlewalk, set up the camera,  and  then wait for the winter sun  to rise over Rosetta Head and  lighten up the granite. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1414331 2019-05-29T05:27:08Z 2019-05-31T22:42:03Z Sinar: 5x4 gear

After several years  I have finally managed to put together a Sinar 5x4 system through buying various second hand gear  in bits and pieces as they became available at Photon Photography's eBay store and when I had some spare cash.   It is possible  to do this  because Sinar's  standardized components were carefully designed to form a highly versatile,  modular camera system. 

I had started off acquiring a  5x4 Sinar f1  several years ago from Alex Garde in Tasmania, who was moving up to 11x14 for his wet plate photography, as I  wanted  do some black and white photography.  The f1 came with  a standard bellows,  two lenses (150mm normal and 75mm wide-angle), a rail clamp,  a standard rail,  and  a Sinar tripod head. In order to use the  Schneider-Kreuznach  Super-Angulon 75mm f5.6  I had to acquire a wide angle bellows, a lens hood and a yellow filter.   I then  bought  a Sirui R 4123X carbon fibre tripod. All I  need now is a case to transport  it to a location in the field. One is on hold  for me at a Hindmarsh  disposal store in Adelaide.

The f1 is a monorail that is designed to  be used  for  film photography outside the studio. The f stands for field.  It  is a  basic,   lo fi,   light weight 5x4 system--its really a light-tight box--- that  can be easily carried in the field.  My f1 is  without either a  light-metering back or the digital lenses. I  have no need as I do the metering  with a hand held meter,  and I manually adjust the aperture and the length of exposure.  It is the latter  f3 Sinar that  is a digital/analog model,  which  supports a variety of Sinar digital lenses and digital backs.

 I have no interest in using a digital back on a view camera in the field. Mine is a hybrid workflow,  meaning  that everything from the camera to the developing of negatives is  analog, whilst  the final processing, including the print is within the digital workflow. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1410676 2019-05-20T01:30:11Z 2019-05-22T04:35:03Z quartz and granite

I have been planning to photograph  this low level rock formation  for some time now.  I envisioned pictures  in both in colour made with a medium format film camera  (Rolleiflex SL66) and in black and white  made with a 5x4 Sinar monorail. Though the  granite/quartz rock formation  is  just past the western edge of Deps Beach,   and though it is quite accessible,  I keep on putting the photo session off.

I'm not sure why the procrastination,   as I pass this  location on one of my normal  early  morning poodlewalks with Kayla.   Making the photo  does require  me to use a  tripod with spreadable legs  so that it can  lie flat on the ground,  and that does mean carrying a heavy and bulky  Linhof tripod. That's a hassle. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1407327 2019-05-09T23:12:58Z 2019-05-10T00:34:36Z mix and match

This image of quartz and seaweed is in the littoral zone  of  the southern coast of  the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia. This is where I now live,  and the coast is a part of my dally walks in all kinds of weather.  I always take a camera  with me on these walks.

 The image  is a  handheld macro photo made whilst I was on an early morning poodlewalk with Kayla. The picture  was made just before I went on the Wentworth photocamp for the Mallee Routes project, and it was  before the autumn rains came and the weather turned cold.  

Most of the subject matter along this  coast is  in the detail rather  the broad or panoramic landscape or seascape  views. From what I can see the latter is  what most of the  photographers  visiting the coast tend to concentrate on.  I had been  frustrated in the past because  I  didn't have equipment  to  do this kind of close-up work whilst on the daily walks. I had  a tripod and a medium format film camera and  it  was cumbersome  to carry,  and difficult to use.  So  much of the detail is situated in difficult spots that make the use of a tripod impractical. So I used the iPhone. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1394326 2019-04-06T03:58:30Z 2019-05-11T00:53:33Z A critical climate aesthetics

Over the last decade, scientists and humanists have renamed our current geological era the “Anthropocene” in recognition of the profound impact that human activities have had upon the earth’s crust and atmosphere. The move would equate humanity with geological forces like glaciers, volcanoes, and meteors and it suggests that a sharp division between nature and culture or technology is no longer tenable.We are looking what the French historian Ferdinand Braudel  called the  longue duree.

Dr. Joelle Gergis' The Sunburnt Country: The History and Future of Climate Change in Australia' argues that the scientific evidence shows that Australia is now starting to move out of the realm of natural variability that we've  seen in the recent geologic past. The Australasian region is warming and our fingerprints are all over that signal. All of our weather and climate is now occurring on the background of a warming planet. The challenge is to transform our society into a sustainable one  on the planet,  rather than a destructive one that is making our planet quite unsafe. 

The lower Darling River in 2019:

The growing sense of urgency surrounding climate change  has generated a dialogue among artists, critics and theorisers  reading the role of art in this contemporary crisis.The Cape Farewell project and the Canary Project are  well known examples.  The Art + Climate Change festival  is an Australian example.  

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1389736 2019-03-25T06:11:06Z 2019-03-25T10:02:49Z processing 8x10 b+ w

With autumn arriving in South Australia  I have  started  to pick up my large format black and white view camera photography, especially the 8x10 Cambo monorail.  

The conditions are right: overcast skies, little wind and softer  light. Well, these conditions  lasted for a few days before  a cold, gusty  south westerly wind swept across  the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula.  

This kind of  large format view camera photography  has been in the background as I do not have a darkroom at the studio;  nor do I have access to one in Adelaide now that the Analogue Lab has closed.  My last session of processing sheet film was done in Melbourne in 2018,  using Stuart Murdoch's darkroom! 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1372041 2019-02-08T23:32:45Z 2019-02-11T01:00:37Z black and white

I have struggled post-processing  this tree or scrub  on the Heysen Trail in Waitpinga. It had lots of promise  for a black and white image when I came across it whilst walking the poodles   late one  afternoon.  That was over a year ago now,  and it was when Suzanne was walking the last stages of the Heysen Trail. 

I recall  that  it was on  this occasion  when I was crouched amongst the pink gums  setting up the camera that I began to realise that what is called  the scrub or bush in Australia is actually a number of  very different bioregions;  and that we really do need to move beyond an undifferentiated, colonial sense of “the bush” as an amorphous sameness.

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1369405 2019-02-01T23:20:18Z 2019-02-01T23:50:07Z still life: seaweed

This is an image that came about from playing around in the early morning light on Dep's Beach. This  beach is between Petrel Cove and Kings Beach.  I was on a poodlewalk with Kayla at the time:

It's another macro image building on this beginning.  

Unfortunately for me the photo session ended abruptly as Kayla grabbed the seaweed  when I wasn't looking,  ran off with it and  then tore  it to pieces. 


 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1363112 2019-01-14T04:39:29Z 2019-01-14T23:46:36Z 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.

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1359238 2019-01-01T18:35:40Z 2019-01-12T22:44:01Z 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.

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1352961 2018-12-13T08:45:53Z 2018-12-16T05:25:34Z 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.  

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1346016 2018-11-21T04:43:58Z 2018-12-13T08:30:48Z 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.

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1340750 2018-11-06T11:44:34Z 2018-11-14T02:45:29Z 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.  

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1328724 2018-10-04T05:34:59Z 2018-10-05T01:48:51Z 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. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1324656 2018-09-23T06:05:54Z 2018-09-23T10:49:00Z 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. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1317726 2018-09-03T01:29:04Z 2018-09-03T02:12:12Z 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. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1313797 2018-08-21T09:27:27Z 2018-09-23T12:21:54Z 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.  

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1308583 2018-08-02T08:21:55Z 2018-08-06T03:00:59Z 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.  

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1302660 2018-07-13T01:12:10Z 2018-07-13T03:00:27Z 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. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1292197 2018-06-09T01:28:44Z 2018-06-09T08:10:24Z 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. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1285087 2018-05-19T00:49:51Z 2018-05-20T01:24:07Z 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. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1272041 2018-04-13T01:11:23Z 2018-04-13T04:46:07Z 5x4 photo session

The weather conditions were good this morning  for a 5x4 large format photo session along the coast early this morning.  There was some solid cloud cover, low tide and  little wind.  The weather forecast was for strong westerly winds and rain along the coast  today,  so I took a chance. 

I had  about  an hour on site with approximately 30 minutes carrying the gear to and from the site. I was able to make  2 photos  of different subjects out of the 3 with the Linhof Technika that I had planned, before  the conditions became  unsuitable around 8am.  This is a behind the camera photo of the second session:  

This is the only 5x4 photoshoot that I have done along the coast  since this  one  early in January:-- 3 months ago,  before I  had acquired the Sony A7r111. Basically I have struggled to find suitable subject matter for the large format photography, and  when I have find something, the weather conditions have not been suitable.   

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1269384 2018-04-06T00:02:54Z 2018-04-08T00:56:24Z low light situations

I have settled in using the Sony A7r111 after working with it extensively on the recent New Zealand  trip.  

I use the camera  manually, as  if it were an old fashioned Leica  rangefinder from the film era. This is crazy,  I know, but I have set camera up so that nothing is automatic.  I am however,  getting to the point of adjusting the basic menu  that was  set up  for me by the camera store when I bought the camera. I  do need  a bit more flexibility in adjusting exposures up or down in specific situations.   

What is really working for me, and what has impressed me,  is  the Sony's low light capability. This allows me, as in the above image,  to photograph hand held in low light,  whilst on the morning or afternoon poodlewalks along the southern Fleurieu Peninsula coastline.  I was scoping for a possible film shoot, given that there is low tide early in the morning at the moment.  

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1243420 2018-02-05T22:56:26Z 2018-04-10T01:32:14Z upgrading the digital camera

I have finally upgraded my digital  camera,  which I use to walk around with on the  poodlewalks and  for scoping  for my large format photography.   It is a  full frame, interchangeable lens  Sony A7r111 mirrorless camera, and it was  dam  expensive.  It cost  just over $A5000 as there were no trade in bonuses or cash backs.  This  is a lot of money for me  (pretty much the limit of what I can afford) and   it will take me the rest of the year to pay it off.  If I lose the Sony A7r111,  the overall  replacement cost with the Leica 35mm lens would be  around $11,000, which is way beyond what I can afford. This kind of expense  puts it out of reach of not just "amateurs" but enthusiasts as well.

We  do pay a premium for  the  incremental improvements in  new technology--eg., a fully loaded  5K iMac.    The new technology--cameras and computers--- is overpriced and there is a relentless upward price of computer and camera gear.   Fortunately,  I was able  to attach  the 35mm f2.0 Leica manual focus lens and the  Novoflex adaptor  that I used to use on the Sony NEX-7. The Sony/Leica combination  worked well for me in the past,  and so far it is even better with the  A7r11.

The Sony NEX-7  will  now  become a back up walk around camera with macro capability,  once I acquire the necessary  Voigtlander close focus adaptor,  and find another Leica M lens to use.   

The NEX-7 which I had used  for over  7 years   does feel like a toy compared to the A7r111.  Sony have come a long way since 2011.  The A7r111 feels like a professional camera: it is much more solid, better built, has a  bigger battery and a lot more tech.  Yet  it  still sits comfortably in the hand, is compact  like a SLR film camera, and it is not all that noticeable when photographing in the street.  

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1230122 2018-01-11T04:50:07Z 2018-01-29T06:12:48Z a granite photo session

The field  type of large format  camera photographed below --an old Linhof 5x4 Technika IV film camera --- is very much the opposite of the automation of the  modern,  medium format digital camera,  with their possibilities of auto image stacking, stitching, automatic perspective correction, and sharp lenses that go in the direction that folks call 'clinical'.   With the Linhof everything is manual.  Nothing is automatic. It is rudimentary equipment albeit (albeit over-engineered) and it's slow  photography.  

The Linhof  does  offer a different kind of photographic experience --a more contemplative one--as well as  a different aesthetic in that  it enables  the extended toe and shoulder of sheet film.

With the advances in  digital technology the world of medium format digital cameras has changed and, with  the   33x44mm cropped medium format 50 megapixels digital cameras --(eg.,  Pentax 645Z,  Fujifilm's GFX and Hasselblad 1XD),  are now within people's financial grasp.  These cameras, especially the Fujifilm GFX and the Hasselblad X1D, are attractive options as they avoid the need for the expensive digital back the Linhof Techno needs, have lightweight bodies, smallish lenses,  rich and full quality files, and are able to be carried  around in the field. They also avoid the pitfalls of second hand digital backs.  

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1227372 2018-01-06T05:40:06Z 2018-01-06T07:32:14Z photography + abstraction: a note

One of the strands  in  my style  of photography in and around poodlewalks  is to shift away from the literal and transparent.  My name for this shift is abstraction--ie.,  finding ways to underscore  the photograph as surface,  as flat; even though there is an optical space within the photograph. This is often filed by photographic educators under  'ways of seeing'  that depend on, and are shaped by  habit and convention.   

An example of the photograph as surface: 


On the traditional understanding of photography--representation based on linear perspective that is clear and literal-- the grasses or foliage appear as obstructions to a clear view of the scene. From the perspective of abstraction  the shift is away from  a concern with illusionistic representational space the image  has an equal intensity of pictorial incident across its  whole surface. The emphasis is on the two dimensionality of the photograph.   ]]> Gary Sauer-Thompson tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1215967 2017-12-13T10:49:24Z 2018-01-05T23:22:22Z on Adobe's Lightroom 6 again

Another post on my experiences with the newly installed standalone Adobe's Lightroom 6 on my  Retina 5K 27inch late 2015  iMac.    

As we all know,  Adobe has been marketing  Lightroom as the all-in-one post-processing tool for hobbyists, enthusiasts and professionals, and up to now I have certainly found it to be an "all-in-one” workflow solution for post processing and cataloguing my  photographic images.  I have been happy with this, given that the current choices for post-processing and file management software are limited. 

In the previous post I outlined  my unease  with Adobe’s latest move to discontinue the standalone version of Lightroom, and to  move everyone to the cloud; thereby effectively locking  us in for the future for Adobe to grow their profits.  I was frustrated because dumping the  perpetual license  is something Adobe in the past said that it would not do.  Adobe Lightroom is now purely subscription based and, unfortunately for me,  it is only a matter of time until an OS upgrade from Apple breaks the standalone Lightroom 6 (LR6) completely. 

However, my frustration with the standalone Lightroom 6 on the iMac has to do with other issues. It is not only its  lack of development compared to the subscription version.  It also arises from finding that LR6 has basic stability and performance issues that should not exist in the first place, given that this is professional software.  

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1212946 2017-12-08T00:17:36Z 2017-12-08T01:26:57Z granite formation

The changeable weather conditions of late  has provided a space  for me to explore the coast in the early morning light and  to  I scoping  for suitable subjects for some large format photography. In this instance it basically  5x4 colour using the old Linhof Technika IV or the Cambo 5x7 monorail.       

I haven't really found much to work with, but this  granite formation looking towards King Head and the wilderness lodge is one of the more promising possibilities that I have across.   

I haven't been doing much large format photography along the coast for a while --only hand held medium format lately. Hence the specific scoping.  Most of what I see in the morning ---eg., seaweed  amongst  granite rocks--is ephemeral, as it is usually  gone by the next morning.  It is either washed away by the sea  or blow away by the wind. 

Nor can I take the 5x4  or 5x7 out and hope that I come suitable seaweed to construct  a still-life.  It's only now and again that I find seaweed pods washed up on the shore. 

It is best to use subjects like granite formation and just wait for an overcast  early morning with little wind and soft  morning light. The large format then highlights  the tonality and colour in the granite. 

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Gary Sauer-Thompson
tag:solway.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1210605 2017-12-03T04:06:09Z 2017-12-04T11:12:44Z two versions of foam + granite

More digital black and white photography from stumbling up some foam amongst the coastal granite, just after the wet weather had eased.

This picture is a  straight conversion  from the digital file, as I am currently  unable to  access Silver Efex Pro 2  software on my  iMac, which is  running  the High Sierra Operating system. Unfortunately I have never found any software package that can produce black and white conversions that are as good as those created by Silver Efex Pro 2.

At least I am able to use the standalone Adobe Lightroom 6 that I recently purchased from B+H with my  recent film order on the  iMac.   I reckon it is a case of waiting  for a black and white conversion as there is good news around the corner: DxO has acquired the NiK collection and it's upgraded version will be released in mid-2018. I doubt that the software  will be free. 

DxO is a French company that performs extensive scientific testing on camera image sensors and lenses. The information and knowledge that DxO glean from their tests is used to produce a raw processing software packages called  – DxO Optics Pro.

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Gary Sauer-Thompson