an outtake

I made a number of 5x4 negatives for the 2015 Magpie Springs Photography competition.  This is one image that failed to make the cut,  and as it didn't work in colour,   I converted this underexposed negative  to a black and white image using Silver Efex Pro 2 software.  

Though it looks better in black and white,  and I've overcoming the over sharpening problem caused by the Epson software,  I still have the  other  problem of  blown highlights  caused by scanning the negative. However,  looking at this image of straight photograhy makes me uneasy and this unease  is over and above these technical flaws. 

I cant help but feel that straight photography, exemplified by this image,  appears as a rather archaic discipline—even in its digital form, let alone the chemical one. There is still the attitude in the art institution that  contemporary visual artist's   love  for the photographic medium is because it is so “simple,” so “non-artsy,” so “direct.” Photography, in this sense,  has always been an important counterpart to modern art, The corollary of this is that straight  photography has gradually acquired a strange status of something not completely artistic and yet highly artistic. 

along the Heysen Trail

I  came across a  fallen log whilst walking along the Hesyen Trail near Jagger Rd, Victor Harbor  yesterday.  This is part of the Cape Jervis to Kuitpo Forest section of the trail  and it is standing to Encounter Studio. 

I was looking for some subject matter to finish off some old film that had been sitting in the 6x7 and 6x9 film backs of my Linhof Technika 70. This is the digital scoping picture that  I  made in the late afternoon whilst on a poodle walk  with Ari and Kayla. 
Though I used to use this  camera  a lot, it has has been sitting in a wooden box in a  cupboard unused for several years. I have been using the Rolleiflex 6x6 instead. These  are  much quicker and easier to use as the  baby Linhof  functions like a view camera. You line  the image up through  the  ground glass, take off the viewing plate,  put the  roll film  back on, expose the film, take the  roll film back off, then put the  viewing plate back on  to line up the next image.  It is a slow work process--- very similar to large format photography. 

 I  had pulled the Linhof  out of the box a couple of days ago as I'd  wanted  to finishing exposing the  old 120 rolls Kodak Portra 160 VC film  in the  two film backs  so that the 2 rolls  could be taken  to Atkins on Monday along  with some 5x4 sheet film to be developed. This scoped image suited the 6x9 format. 

I scanned the film last night and I noticed the expired film is flat compared to the new film.  It was  made just before the showers crossed across the landscape. So the light is flat.   This image was converted from colour using Silver Efex Pro-2. 
I actually enjoyed using the baby Linhof. Since it offers alternatives to the square format  the camera  and the two lenses have been taken in to be  serviced in Adelaide.  I also ordered a second hand Super Rollex 6x9 film back from England to use instead of  the  very old one that has wooden rollers and is lacks an automatic counter resetting.




at Hall Creek Rd

The recent shift to Victor Harbor Life is making it difficult to do large format  photography. It has gound to a halt as we sort out all the stuff from the Sturt  St townhouse in Adelaide. 

I did come across a  suitable  subject  for a 5x4 colour shoot  on a recent poodle walk before Kayla arrived,  but I cannot get to it for the  early morning light at the moment as I am walking Kayla along the Encounter Bay beach at dawn.Nor can I take her  yet  on a photoshoot as she is only 6 weeks old.      

So photography is  on hold. 

Fleurieu Four Seasons Prize

I've started  scoping for work for the  Fleurieu Four Seasons Prize for landscape photography. It's a competition and I don't  have much success in them. 

The Prize  is for a suite of four photos that are taken in the western part of the Fleurieu Peninsula over the four seasons.  I don't know this area very well  photographically so I've started exploring it on my away to and from Victor Harbour.  

On the way down this trip I  was looking for a late afternoon coastal location that would be suitable  for  5x4 film work, and which  had fairly easy access. This location looked a possibility. The picture was made at midday and so the light is terrible.  I will scope  it out in the late  afternoon  on my way back to Adelaide to see what  the light looks like then. 

Leica snaps

The iMac at Encounter Studio is  now up and running, though it is still disconnected from the network. That connection requires tech support.

I scanned some recent black and negatives (6x6 and 35m)  last night  with the  flatbed Epson V700 scanner. The pictures  were made just before, and on the holiday at America River on Kangaroo Island.

The photo above was made with my  Leica M-4P, a Summicron 50mm lens, Ilford 50 ASA  black and white film. It only has minimal post processing Lightroom 4.

I had bought the 35m film by mistake --I was after 120 for the Rolleiflex---so I was trying it out to use up.  It is 20 years since I've made pictures with 35m black and white film. I'm pretty pleased with the  result--there is a nice tonal range.

bark abstract

This is an abstract of the trunk of a river gum in the reserve across the road from the studio  in Encounter Bay,  Victor Harbor

The tree  that had been bought down from Arkaroola by Suzanne's mother as a seedling back  in 1982 . It was planted in the reserve and it is now a solid tree.  

I am fascinated by the river gum's bark.  It is quite different from the local river gums in terms of  both texture and colour. 

I've taken a number of photos over  the Xmas break with a digital camera--a  Sony NEX-7--- mostly as a study  for a large format shoot. I am thinking about  using the 5x4 Linhof  in an early morning shoot.

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.

on back country roads

When I was down at Victor Harbor on the weekend with Suzanne and Barbara Heath I drove around some of the back roads looking for material for my conceptual photography book. I spent several hours in the car driving on dusty roads and, to  my dismay,  there was little roadside vegetation that was suitable. 

The main problem I encounted was that most of the roadside vegetation has been so cleared by the dairy farmers, that  there is so little in the way of pink gums and Xanthorrhoea on the raodside  for me to work with.

I'm begining  to think that there may not be enough material for me to be able  finish the Blurb book. 

sea abstract #2

The weather has been stormy along the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula these last few days. So I have sat on the rocks on the edge of the boat ramp at Encounter Bay, Victor Harbor with a digital camera making abstract photos of the water.

I've done this before and I wanted to experiment with no sunlight and the early morning sunlight. Looking at the uploaded  images on the computer screen afterwards I can see that sunlight works  best.  The lack of sunlight makes the image very drab and flat.

I've started   a little series  of sea abstractions in the form of a DIY book.

roadside grasses

 I've been laid low with a torn ligament in my lower back and that ends the planned 8x10 photography for this weekend. So  I've been going through some of the roadside pictures on the computer that I took  last year during the summer.

One area   that I started in the roadside series was the summer grasses:

I'd just seen some of James Cant's  sunny and dry South Australian landscapes, and more specificially, his close-up images of local grasses and brush. These were highly textured, almost calligraphic, paintings. 

I had a quick look at my summer grasses  photography before, just after I'd scanned them,  but I didn't like the series  at all. I thought the idea was misguided. So I forgot about  them.

It's winter  now and everything looks different. So I can see the pictures I took then  at more of a distance.