at Wallaroo

I spent several days camping at Wallaroo on the Yorke Peninsula with Gilbert Roe, a fellow photographer based in Adelaide. We spent the time  exploring the region with our cameras:  Gilbert was using his pinhole camera and I was working with  my  large format cameras. I concentrated on the silos.

 This is one image that I made in the late afternoon with both the  Cambo 8x10 (using black and white film) and the  Cambo 5x7 (using colour film):  

It  was a trial run for me in terms of  camping whilst  being on the road with  the large format equipment. Renting a house,  staying in a cheap motel, or a cabin in a caravan park,  is too expensive these days. Camping was a  trial run because our camping gear is very old and basic,  and I haven't been camping for 20 years or more. So I needed  to see whether this mode of accommodation would work for me as a way of doing the photography road trips. 

on location in Waitpinga

Now that summer has passed  into autumn I've started using my  old 8x10  Cambo monorail. This morning was the first time I 'd used the camera since late spring. I was a bit rusty and  things didn't go very smoothly.  I made a number of mistakes on the shoot.

It was a local  photoshoot that I'd previously scoped,  and I'd  been  waiting for  the right conditions for the photoshoot:

Over the summer I'd  changed the lens  on the Cambo from a Schneider-Kreuznach  Symmar 210mm to a  Schneider-Kreuznach  Symmar  300mm in preparation for  photographing the silos along the Mallee Highway in the next month or so.  The  former lens  didn't cover  the camera's rise and fall  movements very well, especially with the front standard, which  needed  to be raised quite high to get  the  top of silos in the frame.  

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.   

Victor Harbor: on location

The three days at Victor Harbor have been frustrating in terms of photography.  I've been painting the lounge room  of  the   weekender whilst waiting for the conditions to be okay for a couple  large format  black and white pictures of roadside vegetation. One  was an early morning shoot, whilst the other  was  a late afternoon one.

It has been frustrating because when the southerly wind wasn't blowing  it has been raining early in the morning and late afternoon and then quite sunny during the day. Finally things fell into place late this afternoon after I finished painting a seciton of the wall-----there was little wind and it was overcast and fine. Ideal for the afternoon shoot that I'd lined up. 

I'd forgotten just how meditative 8x10  photography is. It takes a while to set the gear up  for the shoot,  and that means you really are in the moment.

I could feel the light changing as I tried to figure out how to use the new Pronto Professional  3 shutter for the Schneider 24mm lens that had recently been serviced. The  Prontor has no T position to hold the lens wide open  so you cancompose a representation of the objects in front of the camera. 

I finally figured out that I had to use a locked cable  release to do the same function as the T positon of holding the lens open using the  B position. The light was fading fast whilst I sorted things out.