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. 

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.

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.   

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.

hard to find

I went searching for this "rock face" this afternoon and I couldn't find it. I found the area but I could not the rock. It was very different this time because it was heavily overcast, with rain threatening so  and there was no sunlight  on the rocks.

It's a minute section of some rock form on the foreshore. I was probably lying on on the sand to make it. That would make it rather difficult to reshoot with a large format camera, which is what I was considering.

This happens to me a lot. I take some snaps on a poodlewalk and I forget their location. Most are just a detail. I then spend ages trying to relocate the detail.

back on line

Exhaustive checks ended up with the conclusion that the electrical storm  of a week ago had caused   the studio's Fritzbox modem to frizz.   Surge protectors are useless for this kind of electrical interference apparently.   I had to get a new modem from Internode. The studio finally has  internet connectivity and I can now post online.

This is the second time a modem has been fried by an electical storm  this year. This digital storage and equipment  is nerve wracking. 

I've also managed to get my  old Lacie external discs properly formatted for the iMac. 3 years  of digital  files from  the digital cameras have  been backed up. The digital files of my film cameras have also been backed up.

Backup is making a duplicate copy to prevent a problem in the event of something like a computer failure. Archive is safe storage and at least one archive copy of your photos should be stored off-site (away from home).

I  now have two sets of backup at the studio--they have   already been backed up on a Netgear mirroring hard disc. So I  have three separate sets of my digital photos. This  double backup insurance  means that I'm feeling a little  bit more secure about  digital file storage  and hard disc collapse. I also have  the photos  on a Mac Pro  in Adelaide, which is also backed up. 

It's a  long way from the file cabinets, briefcases, safety deposit boxes and  the  fireproof safes of the analogue world.

The above  picture is  one of the ones that I took the day after  the electrical storm when I was walking  along the coast trying to make  more pictures  for  the  sea abstracts book. This project is not going well and  I'm frustrated by the failures.

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. 

finally.....

I had an early morning photographic session this morning with the 8x10 Cambo along the back country roads just west of the city of  Victor Harbor.  I was able to  incorporate this shoot  into a session for the conceptual photography project on the pink gum and Xanthorrhoea combination.

The conditions were ideal--the wind had dropped, there was early morning cloud cover and  sunshine. I had been  been trying to photograph this scene for ages but the conditions had been against me. I had imagined it  with flat light but I decided to go with the early morning sun.

I used black and white film (Ilford HP5) on this shoot,  but I find myself wondering what it would look like in colour. Lush I thought. Probably too lush. I do have some 8x10  Kodak colour film sitting the fridge to try out,  but I am not sure how to scan the colour negative.

sea abstract #1

The stormy weather finally has gone from Victor Harbor.   Today started  with a glorious spring morning--crisp, clear and still.  As there  was no early morning  cloud cover,  so the 8x10 black and white shoot that I had in mind was  a nonstarter.  I needed soft or diffused early morning light for the shoot.

So I took a walk along the boat ramp  near Whalers Inn  Resort at sunrise in order to  photograph the  sea at the edge of breakwater in Encounter Bay.  I had some abstractions in mind,  which I wanted to explore in the early morning light:

The sea is gentle in this part of Encounter Bay,  and so I was able to sit on the rocks at the water's edge without worrying that I'd be swamped  by every  seventh  wave.  I didn't have that much time  before the sunlight became too bright and the highlights on the white caps of the waves blew out. 

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.