Fleurieuscapes: out take #1

This image is an outtake from the 15 images that have been selected for my  forthcoming Fleuriescapes exhibition  at  the Magpie Springs Gallery in 2016.  Apart from me nobody thought much of  this particular  image:

The  digital files (ie., scanned 5x4 and medium format negatives)  for the exhibition are with  Atkins Pro Lab  and I will check the small test prints  when I return from  my  New Zealand in the second week of December.  The exhibition, which  will be  in January/February  2016,  is from a  body of work that has been made  over the several years that we have been coming to Victor Harbor as  weekenders, and then more recently,  from when we started to live on the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula early in 2015.

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. 

finding my feet

We are slowly adjusting to  the shift to Victor Harbor and sorting through---chipping away at --- the mess of reducing two households into one. Most of the boxes have been emptied and the records,  books, furniture  and clothes given way. 

Setting up Encounter Studio is on hold until the inducted air-conditioning  is put in, hopefully  next week. Until then,  I am working on  the Edgelands book amongst a heap of photographic stuff and books piled up  around me. 

The large format  photography hasn't  happened yet, which frustrates me, because I have been walking a young poodle pup.  But I've started scoping  some coastal landscape work around Victor Harbor  now that we are in autumn:

This  picture in the early morning light was scoped for a 5x4 colour picture last week when I was on a poodlewalk with Ari and  Kayla. The next small step is to load up the sheet film holders so that I am ready for action.

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. 

8x10 at Hindmarsh River estuary

I've been exploring the Hindmarsh River estuary at Victor Harbor, South Australia. I'd initially scoped  the malaleucas with a digital camera--the Sony NEX-7, handheld:

It's  a low light camera on a tripod situation. 

I returned  for a more considered photo with a medium format camera--Rolleiflex SL66--- using black and white film  and a wide angle lens.  

Now I'm trying to make a 8x10 photo   using the Cambo monorail and black and white film.  I've been waiting for the mouth of the river to open in winter, then for the winter rains to ease so that the swamp-land dries out. It's been  been very wet this winter. I was wanting an overcast day with little wind. 

That was today. I started  the photoshoot with the Cambo around lunchtime,  but the rains returned before I'd really got started.  So I have to wait for the rains to ease, the ground to dry out, and an overcast day.  

8x10 colour

I finally managed to use the  old Cambo SC monorail to make some 8x10 colour pictures of  the bark of the redgum in the reserve.   

I mucked up one exposure---the first one--- as I'd forgotten to take off the yellow filter on the Schneider Symmar 210 mm lens that I'd been using for my black and white exposures. 

The next step  is  take the  sheet film to Atkins Technicolour to have them  to process the  negatives. That service will not be cheap-- probably around $16.50 for one sheet of film. The next step is to  scan the negatives  myself with  the Epson V700 scanner. 

I did  two abstractions of the  peeling bark in  the open shade:

I'm not sure that 8x10 colour is an economic  proposition or that it is worth the expense.  I had the sheet film in the fridge and I needed to use it before it expired.  

reconnecting

I've started back working on my sea abstracts and pink gum and Xanthorrhoea  projects  which  have been constructed in terms of DIY books in progress.  It has been several months since I worked on them. I've  been waiting  for Posthaven to get their publishing platform up and running after migrating the work from Posterous.  

I've  also been scoping for subjects for an 8x10 colour shoot. The  new Toyo double  sided film holders are loaded with film--Kodak Ecktar 100ASA.  I've returned to a number of locations that I had in mind, but winter has changed things dramatically.  The winter grasses have returned and its a green world now as opposed to the dry landscape of a few months ago. 

 It's been frustrating as possible location after location has been rejected. I'm going to have to start with a couple of abstracts of the redgum trunks in the reserve across the road from the studio.  

finally

I have finally had  the  batteries for the Rolleiflex 6006 system repacked by a battery outfit in  Thebarton.  The previous attempt to repack them in Adelaide was a failure, as the person doing it didn’t know what they were doing. The batteries, though new, would not recharge, and, if I couldn’t find anyone else in Adelaide to repack them,  I was faced with sending things back to Rollei  in Germany.   

The 6006 is  a bulky 1990s system, but a good one that I use regularly. However, the battery pack is an old fashioned one, and over time it holds less and less charge.  Without the batteries the electronic cameras become expensive doorstops. This system had been out of action for six months because I couldn't  find anyone to repack the batteries properly.

I'm happy that things up and running as it means that I can do more table top pictures in the studio. 

8 x 10 work

I have decided to shoot some 8x10 colour  film that I bought from B+H about nine months ago. It has been sitting in the fridge at Encounter Studio until I acquired a couple of  new Toyo double darkslides . They arrived last week. 

I used a poodlewalk yesterday to go  scouting for likely locations for large format photography.  Here is one possibility: 

The  location has to be roadside or pretty close to it,  as the   Cambo SC monorail and  the Linhof tripod are too heavy  to  carry  very far from the car. This location looks to be a goer--it needs good cloud formation through.